3,000 African girls to be trained in coding: UNECA

The UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) has announced that about 3,000 young female Africans between 12 and 25 years will be trained to “develop coding and other cogitative skills for solving the continent’s contemporary problems, closing gender gaps and fighting poverty”.

In a statement on Friday, the UNECA said it has organised the initiative dubbed “the Connected African Girls Coding Camp”, in partnership with the Cameroon government, UNWOMEN, the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and Unesco.

The girls will attend the camping in person in Cameroon’s Yaounde with a decentralised connection to the country’s “Silicon Mountain” in Buea, and also via a virtual platform from June 28 to July 9.

Held against a backdrop in which only 22.5 per cent women in Africa have access to the internet as opposed to 33.8 per cent of men, the camp is meant to promote African women’s access to ICTs, provide young females with the right foundation to find long-term success in employment, entrepreneurship or further education; and build meaningful partnerships, the UNECA statement said.

Training modules for the camp will include technical domains such as animation; coding for fashion through the Turtle Stich embroidery; gaming and web development;, robotics/Internet of Things (IoT); and 3D printing.

It will also comprise general cognitive processes including project development, design thinking, computational thinking, the role of women in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics (STEAM).

The Camp will culminate in an “Innovation Fair and Project Exhibition” activity in which various groups will showcase concrete projects developed and compete for prizes.

During a previous series of girls’ continental coding camps held in held in Addis Ababa and online between November and December 2020 and during ECA’s 53rd session in March of 2021, thousands of girls produced praiseworthy results, the statement said.