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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.

Photo credit: Theirworld/Olusola Ileoba

Code Clubs are safe spaces where girls can build, learn and create through technology, creativity and coding.

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

The low-cost, sustainable and scaleable Code Club initiative was setup by Theirworld in partnership with Kano and Codeacademy. 

Theirworld’s first Code 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. 

We work with existing tech hubs, schools and non-governmental organisations to set up the clubs, with some of our partners so far including the Oando Foundation, Bringing Resources Across Communities (BRAC) and Women in Technology Uganda. 

By the end of 2017, more than 280 girls in 4 different Sub-Saharan African countries will have successfully completed the Code Club programme.

Kano computer and coding kits

Kano computer and coding kits give children the skills to build their own computer and develop an interest in the digital world. Kano donated hundreds of the award-winning kits to Theirworld. 

Inspired and created by people all over the world, the Kano computer and coding kit is designed to give people a simple, fun way to create with technology and enable a lifelong passion for code, computing and the arts.

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 the Oando Foundation, Bringing Resources Across Communitis (BRAC), and Women in Technology Uganda

The Code Clubs are currently being piloted in Uganda, Nigeria and Tanzania. The courses run in nine 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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