At 23, Kunda owns an ICT company providing high technology solutions
When talking about ICT in Rwanda, it is hard to miss the name Esther Kunda. She might be young, but when it comes to gadgets, electronics and provision of ICT solutions, Kunda is a household name. Her love for ICT is one she cannot hide as one can tell from what she narrated to Education Times’ Maria Kaitesi below:
All through my childhood, I wasn’t your typical girl as I was so into gadgets, electronics and anything to do with technology. I knew I wanted to pursue and develop my love for technology through education.
“In my second year at Kigali Institute of Science and Technology (KIST), I and three other classmates started thinking of how to apply our knowledge in technology to solve some of the problems in our society today. In 2011, we came up with the idea of forming a company that we called OSCA CONNECT. I was the company’s CEO.
“Together with my colleagues, we built an application called ‘sarura’ which helps farmers with information through SMS. The application helps farmers to send or request information about farming.
We sold our idea to the Ministry of Agriculture and it was well received as the ministry thought it would be of great use to farmers in Rwanda.
Currently, ‘sarura’ is being tested in different parts of the country and I am hopeful once its effectiveness is proven, it will be rolled out to the whole country and help to improve agriculture.”
Kunda was also one of the 30 finalists who took part in ‘Inspire Africa,’ a reality show that was created to encourage and inspire young business men and women in East Africa to join the competitive world of business.
Kunda dreams big and enthusiastically about Information Technology and has big dreams in developing her passion as she hopes to go global someday.
“Right now am focusing on improving ‘sarura’ and seeing it grow. However, in the near future I want to move from sms and develop mobile applications that serve a large community beyond the confines of Rwanda, I see myself serving Africa through ICT and then go global,” she says.
Most Inspirational Moments
One of her biggest and most memorable moments in life was presenting her ideas in the presence of Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame and her company gaining recognition beyond Rwanda’s boundaries.
“There was a broadband commission for a digital development event where I was among the people selected to present ICT ideas in the presence President Paul Kagame and Carlos Slim Helu, a Mexican billionaire. I felt so humbled that our President could actually find time to listen to our [the youth] ideas,” she said.
Kunda noted that her idea was voted third which gave her more zeal to work harder and see her thoughts and initiatives come to life in the ICT world.
Kunda was also recognised among the most inspiring IT women in Rwanda last year. Since then, her and other women in IT have been visiting several schools and raising awareness in ICT.
“ICT is very crucial in today’s world and solves a lot of day to day problems thus making life easier such as mobile money and mobile banking that Rwanda has also taken on,” says Kunda.
Her biggest role models are the late Steve Jobs and Dr. Ben Carson who both inspired her to think big and utilise her potential to the maximum.
Kunda hopes to develop bigger applications that will impact lives in Rwanda and beyond, providing solutions to day to day problems.
She holds a Bachelors degree in Computer Science and is currently pursuing a Masters in Information Technology at the Carnegie Mellon University.
Contact email: maria.kaitesi[at]newtimes.co.rw