By Staff Reporter
Windhoek, Namibia, 17 August 2022 – The Connected Africa Girls Coding Camp is back this year with its 5th edition commissioned by the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) in partnership with the government of The Republic of Namibia, UN Namibia, UN WOMEN, and the International Telecommunications Union (ITU). The hybrid training targets young African women and girls between the ages 12 to 25, while hundreds have joined virtually from around the continent.
The African Connected Girls initiative endeavours to narrow this digital gap by empowering young African women and girls with the necessary foundational building-block skills to find long-term success in education, employment, and entrepreneurship, while creating a conducive environment for collaborative efforts.
During his keynote address at the official opening, Peya Mushelenga – Namibia’s Minister of Information and Communication Technology said “The government continues to support projects like the Connected African Girls Coding Camp as they directly benefit and uplift our citizens. The government through the Ministry of ICT is committed to implementing effective legislation that provides easy access to ICTS to create a knowledge-based society”.
Emma Theofilus, Namibia’s Information and Technology Deputy Minister reminded the importance of increasing the financial power of girls and women in order to give them a fighting chance against social ills. She mentioned that “There is power in a woman or girl who can maximally use a phone and the internet for financial capability, online marketing, entrepreneurship, guarding against SGBV and teenage pregnancy.”
In addressing the young girls during his opening remark, Mr. Jean Paul Adam – Director for the Technology, Climate Change and Natural Resources Division at UNECA said: “To prepare our young women to lead the fourth industrial revolution, we must champion initiatives such as the Connected African Girl initiative. Coding has become the new literacy! Girls and young Namibian women need to become digitally savvy and active participants in shaping Namibia’s digital future”.
Sen Pang, UN Resident Coordinator, UN Namibia mentioned “In our endeavours to ‘leave no one behind’ to harness ICTs in education will go a long way in contributing to achieving Goal 17 of Agenda 2063’s aspiration 6 which seeks to eliminate all barriers to quality education, health and social services for women and girls on the African continent”.
This year’s coding camp is running four main workshops on animation, web development & gaming, IoT & robotics, and 3D printing, in addition to classes on Gender-Based Violence, UN SDGs, and Agenda 2063 including personal development skills.
An innovation fair will showcase the young girls’ projects developed during the coding camp, targeting solution-oriented ideas relevant to their community’s socio-economic challenges. In the last four editions of the coding camp, trainees have developed 198 innovative projects, of which 40 were recognized for their contributions to the community. The coding camp will be open and running until the 24th of August for virtual participants joining remotely.