The opening ceremony to mark the ‘Connected African Girls Coding Camp’ is back this year with its 5th edition and for the first time it is in Namibia.
The coding camp is commissioned by ECA (United Nations Economic Commission for Africa) in partnership with the government of The Republic of Namibia (MICT), UN Namibia, UN WOMEN, the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and Telecom Namibia.
The hybrid training brings together African women and girls between 12 to 25 years of age, with 100 from Namibia physically attending while hundreds more join virtually from around the African continent. The coding camp runs from 16 - 24 August 2022 and is hosted at the Windhoek Palm Hotel.
“The Government of the Republic of Namibia 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 with the aim of creating a knowledge-based society. Over the years, the Government has made significant strides to integrate digital technology with the national development objectives,” says Hon. Dr. Peya Mushelenga, Minister of Information and Communication Technology during his keynote address during the official opening.
“In our endeavors 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,” says Sen Pang, UN Resident Coordinator, UN Namibia.
The African Connected Girls initiative aims to narrow the 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.
The Namibian Connected African Girls Coding camp features four main workshops on animation, web development & gaming, IT & robotics, and 3D printing. Graphic design is included as a common course in line with artificial intelligence, design thinking, and computational thinking. This camp will also feature master classes on Gender-Based Violence, UN SDGs, and Agenda 2063 including personal development skills.
“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,” says Jean Paul Adam, Director, Technology, Climate Change and Natural resources Division, UNECA.
On the final day of the camp, an innovation fair will be held enabling the girls to showcase their projects developed during the coding camp by targeting solution-oriented ideas in response to the continent’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.
Some attendees from the Connected African Girls Coding Camp shared what they hoped to achieve with this initiative:
"I want to learn more skills to train others and start up computer classes at our school. I would like to learn more about ethical hacking." - Ndapandula Hango, Grootfontein, Grade 10
"People are using technology more in this modern age, children must learn to use technology. I use technology for research and play games. I really want to learn to create my own games." - Caren Sue Kahmann, Hardap Region, Grade 9.
"I am obsessed with gaming. I want to gain more skills on how to design games and code. I am here for the skills that I can learn." - Theresia Ndilimeke, Grade 10 Khomas Region
"My younger brother introduced me to coding initially. In grade 10 I realised how important it is in relation to my subjects. I am very interested to learn how to use my subjects ( in the workshop) in a way that will help me develop new ways of entrepreneurship and help me improve the living standards in rural areas. - Latoya Bernard, Otjikoto Region, Grade 12