From Where I Stand: I plan to take further classes on coding to create an app that can reach girls and communities at large in the future
Thereza Joseph John, 24, a third-year student at St. John's University of Tanzania, is pursuing a Bachelor of Business Administration in Health Service Management. In 2019, she participated in the African Girls Can Code Initiative (AGCCI) coding camp organized in South Africa by UN Women in partnership with the African Union Commission (AUC) and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) funded by the government of Denmark as part of the first phase of the AGCCI (2018-2021). UN Women launched the second phase of the AGCCI in 2022 funded by the government of Belgium to empower and equip 2,000 African women and girls between 17-25 with digital literacy skills over the course of four years.
"The AGCCI coding camp was my first experience with coding, and it showed me that there are so many possibilities out there. It really changed my life, especially in terms of the perspective on technology. Before the camp, I had never considered a career in technology because in my community, women were often encouraged to pursue careers in teaching or nursing. At the camp, I had the opportunity to create a short animation clip that conveyed a message about preventing early pregnancies. We also received training in public speaking and leadership. I used to have aspirations to become a doctor, but after the camp, I changed my career goal to health service management, and one day I hope to develop a health service app that can reach girls and communities at large. My plan is to take further classes on coding before graduation in order to create digital applications that can reach girls and communities at large in the future. As the eldest of five siblings, I also shared my experiences from the AGCCI coding camp with my family. One of my younger sisters has just graduated from high school and is studying for a Bachelor’s degree in Data Science at the Eastern Africa Statistical Training Centre (EASTC), inspired by my experience. I am proud of her and the choices she has made.”
UN Women, in collaboration with the African Union Commission (AUC) and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) with the support from the government of Belgium, is working to close the gender gap in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) sector through the second phase of AGCCI (2022-2025). The initiative supports two-week coding camps in 11 countries, including Burundi, DRC, Kenya, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda, targeting over 1,000 girls. Tanzania will hold the first national coding camp in Zanzibar from 27 February to10 March 2023.