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Code Clubs

Code Clubs - like this one in Lagos, Nigeria - offer girls a safe environment for girls to learn, play and create.

Theirworld/Olusola Ileoba

Code Clubs are spaces where girls can learn about technology and develop their skills, confidence and creativity. The clubs help girls to build skills they need in a technology-driven economy and to be aware how critical thinking and leadership can be applied in their own communities.

About the issue of girls in education

Around 62 million girls are out of primary and lower secondary school, according to UNICEF. Girls continue to be most disadvantaged when it comes to education. Just for being girls they are four times more likely to be out of school than boys from the same background. Even if they are in school, girls are 10 times less likely to complete secondary school than boys.

Thousands of jobs are 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 kept out of the workforce. Yet we know 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 – because girls invest 90% of their income back into their household, compared to men who only reinvest 30% to 40%.

About the Code Clubs project

In the Code Clubs, all the girls learn how to build a computer, make games and artworks, and express themselves with code. The older girls also learn how to build their own websites using HTML, CSS & Java as well as gaining skills for future employment and business.

The Code Club model is innovative and low-cost. It is sustainable and scalable, meaning that the clubs will continue to run and benefit thousands of girls in the local community.

Code Clubs will:

  • Provide a safe environment for girls to learn, play and create
  • Deliver low-cost technology access to aid basic learning and support girls to remain in education
  • Teach girls valuable online coding and digital skills
  • Empower girls through mentoring and role models, critical thinking and leadership in their communities
  • Give girls key skills for future job prospects within an expanding tech sector, promoting self-reliance and employability.

The courses build the girls’ confidence and support their formal education with numeracy and literacy games. They have a mentor to guide and inspire them. And they get a healthy snack at the club to keep up their energy and improve concentration.

Code clubs teach girls valuable digital skills

Theirworld is working with existing tech hubs, schools and non-governmental organisations to set up the clubs. Some of our partners so far include Shining Hope for Communities girls’ school, Oando Foundation, BRAC, and Women in Technology Uganda

The Code Clubs are currently being piloted in Kenya, Uganda and Nigeria and we will seek to expand to other countries in Africa where safe schools and access to technology for out of school and vulnerable girls may be difficult to access. The courses run in six month cycles and each club supports cohorts of 20 girls across three different age groups: 6-10, 11-14 and 15-25 years.

Theirworld launched the first Code Club, sponsored by Facebook, on International Women’s Day 2016.

The first of these clubs use a specially-designed teaching toolkit integrating Kano Computer Kits and Codecademy online platforms. The Kano computer kits are low-cost, easily transportable, can be rebuilt multiple times and are highly applicable in countries where online connectivity is low.

To keep the learning going and make the project self-sustaining, Code Clubs will provide licensed access to the toolkit, including a set of lesson plans, to help mentors to set up new clubs. The older girls will be encouraged to become club mentors within their communities. 

So, following a small start-up seed investment, a club can be created which is then self-sustaining through volunteer support.

Our Code Clubs are part of Theirworld’s efforts to create safe spaces for girls to learn and continue their education. This work is kindly supported by the players of the People’s Postcode Lottery. 

At the Code Club we opened the computers and we saw the machines we are going to use to make a computer and I am happy to fix a computer. I think it’s not right that when girls are denied their chance to go to school because everyone needs to have his or her own knowledge so they can know how to control their lives.

Diana, Kenya
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