October 19, 2017

Girls and young women learn computer skills at new Code Clubs in Tanzania

Theirworld and technology company Voith have teamed up in Africa Code Week to launch Code Clubs that will help girls be prepared for the digital jobs market.

Hundreds of girls and young women are learning vital coding and technology skills that will help them to unlock a better future.

During Africa Code Week, Theirworld and the technology company Voith have teamed up to launch Code Clubs in Tanzania.

The clubs will give 480 girls and young women the chance to learn in a safe space and help them be prepared for the digital labour market.

Despite thousands of jobs being created in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) industries across Africa, gender discrimination and lack of access to education and technology means girls are often kept out of the workforce and unable to break the cycle of poverty. 

On average, women make up less than 30% of the people working in STEM-related jobs.

Theirworld President Sarah Brown said: “We know that investing in a girl has social and economic returns that go beyond her, extending not only to her family and future children but also to her community. 

"Engaging the private sector and mobilising its resources are key to scaling these approaches to as many girls and young women as possible.” 

Hubert Lienhard, President and CEO of Voith Gmbh & Co. KGaA, said: “This innovative initiative for education will help girls and young women to learn technical coding and develop vital communications and leadership skills, which prepare them for entering the expanding technology sector across Africa. We are proud to support this."

Students Joyce Moses, 13, and Zainab Majid, 12, open their computer boxes at Chang'ombe Code Club

In the 150th anniversary year of the company, many of the 19,000 Voith employees around the world participated in sporting events to raise 150,000 Euros (about $175,000) for Theirworld. 

The new Code Clubs in Tanzania will expand and complement Theirworld’s existing Code Clubs in Kenya, Uganda and Nigeria. 

The Tanzania Code Clubs are located in the Temeke district of Dar es Salaam, where many girls have dropped out of school and the risk of teenage pregnancy is high. 

The girls and young women, aged 11 to 25, learn how to build computers and code. 

Students at Chang'ombe Code Club with their teacher Lidya Andrew

The older ones learn how to create their own websites using HTML, CSS and Java, as well as gaining skills for future employment and business opportunities. 

Code Clubs run once a week in nine-month cycles. Girls will be taught a bespoke programme of online coding content by a trained teacher, and given access to numeracy, literacy, art and music to support their formal education. 

The Kano computer kits used in the clubs are low-cost, easily transportable, can be rebuilt multiple times and are highly applicable in countries where connectivity is low.

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