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Skills for the Future & Code Clubs

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

Photo credit: Theirworld/Olusola Ileoba

The Skills for the Future program aims to empower and unlock opportunity for marginalised girls and young women, providing them with next-generation digital, coding and entrepreneurship skills.

By 2030, more than half of all young people will not have the basic skills necessary for the workforce of the future. Girls and young women will be particularly left behind. Today, women represent only 3 per cent of technology graduates globally.

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 and Java as well as gaining skills for future employment, entrepreneurship and business.

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. They also receive a healthy snack at the club to keep up their energy and improve concentration. Code Clubs:

  • 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.

Code clubs teach girls valuable digital skills

Theirworld is working with existing tech hubs, schools and international non-governmental organisations. Some of our partners so far include the Oando Foundation, Bringing Resources Across Communities (BRAC), and Women in Technology Uganda (WITU), the Muzinda Hub (Econet Wireless’ impact investment initiative) and the Youth For Technology Foundation.

What have we done so far?

With the clubs, girls get the opportunity to develop the skills for the huge growth in STEM industries and entrepreneurship opportunities across Africa and the Middle East, and to break the cycle that keeps women out of education and in poverty. 

The first Code Club initiative was setup by Theirworld in partnership with Kano and Code Academy.  Theirworld launched the first Code Club, sponsored by Facebook, on International Women’s Day 2016. The clubs were launched in Uganda and Kenya in March 2016, followed by Nigeria and Tanzania in October 2016. 

In 2017, Theirworld launched six more Code Clubs in Tanzania in three different regions of the country, and expanded the code clubs to Lebanon, where we work with girls from vulnerable refugee populations, including Syrian and Palestinian. 

In 2018, new clubs were launched in Zimbabwe together with Econet Wireless, integrating a new curriculum and certification alongside an additional entrepreneurship module.

By the end of 2018, over 1200 girls and young women had been trained in coding across Africa and the Middle East. 

Theirworld’s Skills for the Future Clubs for girls 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

What’s next? Skills for the Future

The Theirworld Skills for the Future clubs will now aim to focus on supporting young women aged 14-20 to gain skills in digital literacy, coding and entrepreneurship and receive a certification.  Additionally, through the Global Business Coalition for Education, an initiative of Theirworld, we identify innovation prizes from the business community to support new business ideas and app development and seek apprenticeship and employment pathways for the most promising graduates. 

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