By Staff Reporter
Young girl trainees in coding and technology gathered to celebrate the conclusion of the 6th edition of the Connected African Girls hybrid coding camp. The seven-day long coding camp was organized by the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) in partnership with the host government of The United Republic of Tanzania, UN WOMEN, the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and Omuka Hub (a local NGO).
The workshop hosted hundreds of young girls between the ages 12 to 25 with keen interest in the STEAM fields in Dar es Salaam, while thousands joined virtually from across Africa. Trainees completed their 7 days learning and interaction in four practical workshops on animation, gaming, IoT, robotics, and 3D printing, in addition to classes on Gender-Based Violence, UN SDGs, Agenda 2063 and personal development skills.
This edition was especially commended for its improved accessibility to trainees with special needs, where 15% of its attendees had access to special assistance to ensure inclusive participation. In addressing the young girls during his closing remark, Mr. Jean Paul Adam, Director for the Technology, Climate Change and Natural Resources Division at UNECA said: “ICT infrastructure, assistive tools, experts, technophobia, and a lack of ICT skills training opportunities for persons with disabilities are some of the challenges faced by persons with disabilities. The shift to online learning is likely to increase illiteracy among persons with disabilities.”
H.E Nape Moses Nnauye, Tanzania’s Minister of Information, Communication & Information Technology added “our government supports projects like the Connected African Girls Coding Camp so that more young women and girls can excel in the STEM fields”.
The initiative endeavours to narrow the digital gender gap by empowering young African women and girls with the necessary foundational skills required for achieving long-term success in digital education, employment, and entrepreneurship, while creating a conducive environment for collaborative efforts.
Mr. Adam extended his appreciation for the government mentioning “the fact that Tanzania has a constitution dedicated to gender equality and the participation of women in decision-making is commendable, affirming the nation’s commitment to eliminating discrimination based on gender”.
Like all five previous editions, the 6th Connected African Girls coding camp recognized winning ideas during its closing innovation fair. The innovation fair showcased projects developed by the girls throughout the week, featuring solution-models relevant to their community’s socio-economic challenges.
In total twenty projects were pitched out of which five teams were recognized for their outstanding performances. Tablet computers were awarded to winning teams in the presence of H.E Nape Moses Nnauye Ministry, Hon. Neema Lugangira (MP) and Mactar Seck – Chief of Technology and Innovation Section (ECA).
Through in-person and online training, this initiative has reached over 20,000 girls in 52 countries across the continent. Including this edition, a total of 243 innovative projects and models were presented, out of which 50 were recognized for their outstanding achievements.