The Mbathi and Mbivilia Smartphone applications have for the last few years revolutionized worship in churches in the Lower Eastern region and Beyond. You now no longer need to carry the physical Kamba Hymn book, Kamba Bible, or the English Bible thanks to the Applications by Brother Nicholas Kimulu from Makueni.
Nicholas Kimulu is the lead software developer at Smartbs Software Solutions. In 2017 March, he designed the Mbathi Sya Kumutaia Ngai Application. He had always wanted to have the app, but no one had done it. One day when seated in his office, a phrase from one of the songs rang in the back of his mind. He realized he didn’t know the next part, so he couldn’t even sing!
From that point, he purposed to develop the application. He had to pay someone to type the songs and he developed the app from scratch in 7 months’ time. The App is now an integral part of worship for many believers who understand the Kamba language.
The idea for the Kamba bible app came to him in 2011 when he saw that many young people were unable to read and write in Kamba, he became concerned that the Kamba bible was gradually being left out to the elderly and abandoned by the young generation threatening its existence.
“I started developing the app in 2011 but abandoned it due to limited resources, hoping someone else would take up the mantle. However, when no one had done so by 2017, I decided to take on the challenge again, determined to make the app a success. I lost my job in 2018 but used my newfound free time to work on the app, completing the first working version in early 2019.” Nicholas in an exclusive interview with Mauvoo News said.
Although the app faced challenges in terms of limited resources and a vulnerable audience that was largely uninformed about technology, he persisted with the project. He realized that there were not many users of the app in 2020 because most people could not read Kikamba.
Nicholas has begun working on an audio version. While he is yet to complete the audio version due to some challenges with preparing and working on audio content, he intends to finish it within the next two to three months.
“Maintaining and developing a system like the Mbivilia app requires a significant amount of time and concentration. As the app is not developed for profit, I have to find a job to support myself and work on the app in my free time. Furthermore, there are always complex demands from users, such as requests to modify or redesign sections or introduce new features, which can be challenging to fulfill with limited resources.” Nicholas added.
Other challenges he faces include lost email addresses and passwords, and complaints from users about charges.
“The latter is due to a lack of understanding of the cost of accessing data stored on the internet, such as audio files or personal notes, which attracts bandwidth charges that increase with the number of active users. I believe that educating the community about cybersecurity is essential to ensure that vulnerable users are protected. Moving forward, I plan to add more powerful features to the Mbivilia app, such as Greek and Hebrew lexicon, commentaries, and a cast-to-TV feature for home Bible study. While the journey has not been without its difficulties, I am committed to making Mbivilia a success and preserving the Kikamba language’s written form for future generations.” He revealed.
Those seeking to support Nicholas or partner can reach him on 0723067679 (Call, SMS, telegram, or Whatsapp) or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.