Ethiopia hosts the first coding camp for African girls

The girls underwent training in gaming, animation, fashion and art, design thinking and robotics , among other themes

Date: Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Darlene Horta, participant from Cape Verde smiles at the camera during a team building session of the first Africa Girls Can Code camp held in Ethiopia. Photo: UN Women/ Faith Bwibo

Darlene Horta, participant from Cape Verde smiles at the camera during a team building session of the first Africa Girls Can Code camp held in Ethiopia. Photo: UN Women/ Faith Bwibo

The world is becoming digital and African Girls Can Code Initiative (AGCCI) seeks to tap into this global trend to create opportunities for employment and entrepreneurship for its youth and particularly girls.

On 20th August 2018, more than 80 girls from across the continent came together in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia for 12 days of training on coding, mentorship and life skills. The project is being implemented by UN Women and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) in collaboration with the African Union Commission (AUC) sponsored by the Danish government.

The girls underwent training in gaming, animation, fashion and art, design thinking and robotics for the first week and, then choose on one specific area in which they would be assigned a project. The purpose of the initiative is to create analytical and critical skills among the girls, who would be able to solve societies problems.

A practical session on robotics during the coding camp held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Photo: UN Women/ Faith Bwibo

A practical session on robotics during the coding camp held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Photo: UN Women/ Faith Bwibo

The African Girls Can Code Initiative is designed to cultivate personal development skills, enable for employment of girls’ and women through bridging the technological divide by providing tangible programs to increase women’s access to modern technology and empower the girls through access to education and employment by proving them with first-rate ICT training. This will prepare them to contribute and participate as professionals in Africa’s industrialization and growth.

Speaking during the opening ceremony of the coding camp, Letty Chiwara, UN Women Ethiopia Country Representative commented that ‘As UN Women, we believe that the future of Africa lies in young girls. You are the future leaders of Africa. You are our future commissioners’ ambassadors, heads of states, and heads of UN Agencies’. She encouraged the participating girls to use the opportunities with the trainers to learn as much as they can; and educate their fellow girls back at home.

Participants pose for a photo after visiting the Ministry of Science and Technology in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Photo: UN Women Africa

Participants pose for a photo after visiting the Ministry of Science and Technology in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Photo: UN Women Africa

In her opening remarks, H.E. Amira Elfadil Mohammed Elfadil, Commissioner for Social Affairs at the AU said ‘We want Africa to lead globally, and we have to bridge the technology gap. Our hope is in you. You are the hope of Africa.’

Andrew Rugege from ITU encouraged the girls to learn as ICT is the solution to Africa’s prosperity.

‘We can do the things that men can do’, commented Aissatou Fofance, a participant from Guinea Conakry.

One of the outcomes of this project is breaking female stereotypes by nurturing young girls to develop an interest in coding at early stages of their career choices and choose careers in ICT and STEAM. Once they acquire the skills these girls will be able to return to their communities as trainers of basic coding and thus empower other young girls to join in the movement that is African Girls Can Code.

  

AGCCI is a four-year program that will train young girls across Africa to become programmers, creators, designers and thought leaders, placing them on track for careers in ICT and CODING