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Information Systems Students Implement Malaria Tracking App in Mozambique

Connect the Dots in Mozambique
Tarika Chawla (left) and Tamanna Chawla (right) on a beach in Mozambique in spring 2015.

June 8, 2015

College of Computing & Informatics (CCI) information systems seniors Tamanna Chawla and Tarika Chawla are committed to helping to solve the global malaria crisis.

After taking first place for their "Connect the Dots" app, which aids in tracking malaria cases, at a Philadelphia hackathon Impactathon in 2014 (with fellow information systems senior Yi Lao), Tamanna and Tarika traveled to Mozambique, with support from CCI, to further develop and implement their app in a real-world environment.

Tamanna and Tarika recently provided some reflections on their travels and experience in Mozambique:

“A mind that is stretched by the new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.”
-Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr
.

                        
Drexel gave us an experience which made a difference in our lives. After winning the Impactathon hosted by Ycenter, we traveled to Mozambique to initiate the implementation of our product, “Connect the Dots,” as part of our winning prize, along with the support from Drexel. The adventure started the day we left Philadelphia. This taught us that the adventure does not begin at a new place; it begins when you start your journey.

We lived in “Center of Hope,” a guest apartment of Chicuque Rural Hospital in Chicuque, Maxixe (Chicuque is a rural village located 15 minutes from Maxixe). We traveled to beaches such as Tofo and Coconut Bay and enjoyed their natural beauty. Some of our best moments include seeing the sunrise at 5:45 in the morning and then gazing at the stars at night. The rest of the time we spent coding, testing and making changes in the software.

This trip proved to be a success as we came to know our project’s actual scope. The most satisfying part of the trip was that the users, for whom this product has been created, realized its importance, understood that this product resolves their problems, and wanted to use the product. This experience provided direction to where we are headed with our project.

The moral of our story is that success does not come when you win a hackathon; it happens after you implement that project and actually make an impact. We are going ahead with this project and implementing it further in other locations to make even more of an impact. We will continue working on this project with our third team member, Yi Lao, in addition to our full-time jobs.


Follow their progress on their blog at: http://ycenter-connect-the-dots.blogspot.com/