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Skills for Their 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 Their Future programme 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

Recognising the crucial role that technology does and will play in shaping the education and jobs of future generations, Theirworld has been delivering the Code Club project from 2016 to 2019. The programme delivered ICT and play-based approach coding lessons for young women and girls aged 6-25 using Raspberry Pi devices in Tanzania, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Kenya and Nigeria and targeted more than 1300 students. 

To do so, Theirworld has worked in partnership with Tech Hubs, International Non-Governmental Organisations and Private Companies. Some of our partners so far include Bringing Resources Across Communities (BRAC), Women in Technology Uganda (WITU), the Muzinda Hub (Econet Wireless’ impact investment initiative) the Youth For Technology Foundation and the Oando Foundation.

In the Code Clubs, all the girls learnt 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.

Code clubs teach girls valuable digital skills

The project's objectives focused on: 

  • Providing a safe environment for girls to learn, play and create
  • Delivering low-cost technology access to aid basic learning and support girls to remain in education
  • Teaching girls valuable online coding and digital skills
  • Empowering girls through mentoring and role models, critical thinking and leadership in their communities

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

Through the Code Club project, we learned that many young people in our targeted geographies lacked the Basic Digital Literacy that would give them the strong starting point to become fully digital aware and better comprehend the opportunities that the ICT and STEM sectors have to offer. With that in mind, in 2019, Theirworld invested in creating a Digital Literacy curriculum that is to  provide marginalised students a comprehensive path to become fully digitally active. The curriculum starts from providing an understanding of how computer functions, to explaining the most used productivity programmes, how to use Social Media channels, Emails whilst being safe online, and what careers opportunity may the sector provide. 

This content will be delivered using the Kolibri Learning platform, which also comes with great, free additional channels on subjects like Math, English, and some coding games.  

The Skills for their Future aims to make the Digital Literacy curriculum available to young people aged 16-20 who are soon to enter the job market with the aim to:

  1. Ensuring all young generations possess the tools, skills and attitude to harness (and to properly navigate) technology.

  2. Narrowing the skills and gender digital divide  - particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa and 

  3. Prepare young people for future careers in the ICT sector and more broadly STEM 

The priorities for the Skills for Their Future Programme in 2020-21 is to test and validate the Digital Literacy curriculum with a diverse  range of partners and beneficiaries and understand what key investments are needed to make the Digital Literacy Education accessible to a wider audience across its targeted geographies and beyond, whilst maintaining cost-effectiveness. 

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