Congratulations to Africa Code Week Google ​Micro Grant 2016 Beneficiaries!

And a special tribute and thank you to Google for supporting Africa Code Week again this year, empowering organisations across Africa with micro-grants so they can multiply computational thinking and coding activities all over Africa using Google CS First enrichment materials.

Félicitations aux bénéficiaires des micro-subventions accordées par Google pour l'édition 2016 d'Africa Code Week ! Tous nos remerciements à notre partenaire Google qui soutient l'initiative pour la deuxième année consécutive. Ces micro-subventions permettent à des dizaines de structures d'organiser des ateliers de pensée computationnelle et de programmation à travers toute l'Afrique par le biais des supports pédagogiques Google CS First.

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Son cheval de bataille est un pur sang et les enfants marocains sont tous un peu les siens.

En janvier dernier, Ilham laaziz, Directrice du c, recevait des mains de Franck Cohen, Président de SAP EMEA & MEE, le 1er prix Africa Code Week. Et pour cause : 33000 jeunes Marocains venaient d'écrire leurs premières lignes de code dans le cadre d' Africa Code Week Maroc 2015, grâce à l'implication active de nos ambassadeurs et au soutien sans faille du Ministre et des ses équipes de choc. Alors ce petit mot, c'est pour nous l'occasion de saluer Ilham et à travers elle, tous ceux qui travaillent dans l'ombre, le jour et parfois aussi la nuit, pour que le programme touche un maximum de jeunes.

Tout au long de l'année, Ilham remue ciel et terre pour multiplier les formations, afin que tous les enseignants soient formés sur Scratch et qu'ils puissent à leur tour l'enseigner à leurs élèves et susciter des vocations par milliers dans les écoles marocaines. Nul doute qu'Ilham est une source d'inspiration pour de nombreuses jeunes femmes, tant son leadership fait corps avec le feu qui l'anime : celui de la transmission du savoir à l'heure du numérique. Son cheval de bataille est un pur sang et les enfants marocains sont tous un peu les siens. Aucune contingence ne saurait l'éloigner de son but : permettre à tous les jeunes du pays, des milieux urbains et ruraux, d'écrire le scénario de l'Histoire dont ils sont les héros. Ilham, du fond du coeur, nous te disons merci. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I5lVjupokDc

Underneath Every Smiling Kid…

..is a Loving Woman.

Director of CSR EMEA at SAP & Global Lead for Africa Code Week: most of you know her job titles already...it's time you knew the woman and the story behind the words. Africa Code Week was born in the warmth of Claire Gillissen-Duval's beating heart on a chilly November evening of twenty-fifteen. She and Bernard Kirk, Director of the Galway Education Centre, were reflecting on the success of Europe Code Week over a cup of hot chocolate. All could have remained quiet and still, but Claire couldn't keep it to herself any longer: "Bernard, I know it sounds crazy, but I'll be straight to the point: I want the same Code Week but bigger, bolder, better…in Africa. Do you want to be part of the adventure?"

Of course he did, and so did Sunil Geness (Director of Government Relations & CSR for SAP Africa) and Julie Cleverdon (Director of the Cape Town Science Centre). The foursome have been breathing, thinking and living Africa Code Week ever since. Blame it on their unshakable joy to serve, but there's no mountain high enough for this dream team.

Claire is probably falling asleep in yet another plane as we speak, gazing at the horizon of her very own dream: empower 5 million young Africans with coding skills over the next 10 years. Carefully wrapped in her cabin luggage is Award #2 for SAP - Africa Code Week this year: the prestigious IIC Judges' Choice Award she just received from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Based in Paris, Claire has been working with SAP for the past 8 years. This "dream team machine" knows a great team member when she sees one, and should a sentence ever get close enough to describing her, Bill Johnson's would probably fit: "You know you have a renewed mind when the impossible starts to feel logical."

Coding in Botswana: Reaching into the heart of Africa

Over many action-packed decades, I have been lucky enough to have been part of some wonderful science technology educational initiatives; to have meet some inspirational heroic individuals; to have experienced fascinating peoples, cultures and places; to have been involved in many campaigns designed to improve the lives of grassroots communities, overcome discrimination and protect the environment. But Africa Code Week (ACW) truly stands out as a one-in-a-million lifetime opportunity to make a difference to people's lives on a vast scale. Its ambitious vision is nothing less than to up-skill the young generation of a whole continent in order to allow them create a better future. So over the last year I have been to Ethiopia, South Africa, Rwanda and Botswana with more countries to follow. Every trip fascinates me, every experience thrills me, every landscape excites me, every culture encountered energizes me. In the process I always learn more from the peoples I educate than they do from me.

For instance on our present trip to Botswana, I and our ACW team were, thanks to the facilitation of local organiser Mooketsi Bennedict Tekere, given the opportunity to travel to the rural village of Mathangwane to meet the local chief and village council ('Kgotla') in order to explain and debate the merits of our programme. We were greeted with warmth and affection in the traditional African vibrant way, and we explained our mission to support local village development and enhance indigenous culture through exploiting web technologies. Chief (Kgosi) Lewanika Mpatane and two members of the 'Kgotla' expressed interest in being taught the basics of coding. The chief is a very cultured man who speaks many languages. His assistant Kennie (Lady K) has obtained a Commerce degree from Monash university in South Africa. But with limited infrastructure, low electrical connectivity, high emigration and rudiments of education, they were fully cognisant of the benefits of digital creativity. So under the shade of a giant tree - the traditional meeting place for an African 'Kgotla'- the chief and two volunteers from the village development council started coding eco-themed programs.

We believe that Kgosi Mpatane is the first traditional rural chief in Africa to learn coding. So impressed was he by what he was able to achieve in such a short time frame that he promised to spread the word to his fellow chiefs across Botswana. Huge thanks goes out to Claire Gillissen, Julie Cleverdon, Bernard Kirk, Kevin Conroy, Ibrahim Khafagy, Aphrodice Foyo Mutangana, Mooktsi Bennedict Tekere and the army of volunteers (including Ian MacDonald, Stefan Alexandru Florea, Nuala Allen, Véronique Desegaulx Kevin Morrissey Nshuti Gacinya Olivier, Hervé Rurangwa) involved. ACW is bringing digital literacy and skills as well as the potential of new sustainable jobs to the youth and communities across the length and breath of Africa. The continent has a lot of challenges to overcome- unprecedented population growth, unplanned urbanisation, deforestation, habitat loss, extermination of species, pollution, ethnic conflicts, corruption, neo-colonialism and disparity of wealth distribution. But I know that education, especially in technology, can empower societies. Furthermore I have seen how Africa can teach the rest of the world how to do things better. Their indigenous music can be infectious; their traditional sense of community values totally uplifting. Let's remember Rwanda: in a nation that suffered from one of the worst genocides of the 20th century only two decades ago, strategies in grassroots development, conflict resolution, the introduction of local justice into the legal system and environmental protection are shining examples for us all to follow.

Africa Code Week - Bridging the Digital Skills Gap in Africa

Africa has the largest and youngest workforce in the world, yet many companies present on the continent today are struggling to fill IT-related positions with local, qualified workforce. Currently, only one percent of African children leave school with basic coding skills. This is the reason why SAP and our partners launched the Africa Code Week initiative for the first time last year. Africa Code Week is a continent-wide initiative to foster digital literacy and to spark the interest of African children, teenagers and young adults in software coding.

I am proud that 89.000 young people across 17 African countries joined and received basic coding training during Africa Code Week in 2015. When I traveled to Nigeria in September, I joined a coding workshop at the Ojodu Junior Grammar School in the Ikeja Suburb of Lagos State and saw first-hand how quickly and skillfully the kids picked up the coding. I am convinced that coding is the pass to the digital world for young people in Africa.

This year we are even more ambitious. During Africa Code Week 2016, that will run from October 15 to 23, we hope to train more than 150.000 children and youth aged 8- to 24-years in 30 countries across Africa. The fact that Africa Code Week 2016 was launched today during The World Economic Forum (WEF) on Africa in Kigali, Rwanda, shows how meaningful this initiative has become.

SAP and hundreds of partners spanning local governments, NPOs, NGOs, educational institutions and businesses organize the train-the-trainer sessions, coding workshops and online trainings. I truly believe that there is no better way for SAP to 'give something back' than to equip Africa's rising generation with job-relevant digital skills.

News from space… / Des nouvelles de l’espace…

Our ambassador in orbit just confirmed the news: Africa Code Week can now be seen from space :-)

Notre reporter en apesanteur vient de confirmer la nouvelle : ‪#‎AfricaCodeWeek‬ est désormais visible depuis l'espace :-)

Girlpower

Emma, Tazmane and Kiara discuss Africa Code Week with Samora Mangesi on SABC 2! Share YOUR amazing apps with us on Twitter with ‪#‎MyTalent‬!

Another great article highlights how STEMbees, an organization founded by MEST alumni, coordinated the training and mentoring of 30 high school girls in Korle Gonno, a low-income community in Accra, Ghana. Truly inspiring.

"When it comes to what you do, you have to have a strong why. Why do I want to do that? And if your why is strong enough it will help you to keep on. My why is that I always remember that there is a kid out there who will not have access to the internet. So I must do what I can to help." Regina Kgatle, Electrical & Computer Engineering final year student, founder of Educade and 67games.org, tells us more about the Technovation Challenge.

Way to code, girls!

What if your child was one of them?

Human beings tend to be afraid of first times. Most of us fear the unknown and what may happen if we get out of our family's comfort zone. Sometimes, we'd like to stop evolution, especially the technological one. Truth is, it's easier not to have any expectation...simply because we won't be disappointed. And we stick to this way of thinking concerning our children. But we often forget that we should have high hopes about their education.

Over the past month, I have been busy working on ways to improve malagasy children's education. I started going to bed later and later at night, busy as I was trying to handpick the most playful yet powerful educational content and tools from the Internet. I found were great teaching games created by adults for kids...until something even greater happened: I found out there was a Coder Dojo, here, in Antananarivo.

So I decided to go there on a Saturday morning to quench my curiosity and the fact that I didn't know a thing about coding. And I must admit: I didn't have high expectations...yet I was in for a big surprise. It was fantastic. Not the biggest room on earth, not the best computers either, no the most academic savvy kids. Just a simple room with cool ninjas painted all over the walls, good old computers, cute kids and humble teachers. Children are aged between 7 and 17, and here they are, learning how to code. Isn't that amazing? Coding kids. Smiling faces.

Africa Code Week started on October 1st. And today is World Teacher Day. By writing my first article about education, I want to celebrate my country, its teachers, coders and Coder Dojos. For they are giving our children a chance to get in touch with education, advanced technology and innovation. This is a wonderful space for kids to learn, create and share freely. Somehow, this is education at its very best: teaching a kid how to create something that will participate to another kid's education.

Why Africa Code Week matters

As the South African Heritage Month comes to a close, we look at where we come from, our history both proud and sore. And then we braai because there is nothing we can do about it.

But what we can do is influence what will be celebrated in future heritage months. In the busy business of life, we tend to forget that what we do every day is build the heritage that future generations will look back on. And we can at least try to make them proud. We can work hard to realise all the potential that we have, because if there is something most of us agree on, it is that South Africa has huge potential.

What does a realised potential mean? One thing we are working on is to join a knowledge-based economy and detach ourselves from the dependence on physical resources. Physical resources have a value — the value fluctuates, sure, but it doesn't scale. When we run out, we run out. Not the best way to create value locally. Also, once we have exported our iron ore and other resources, we remain on the fringes of the global supply chain, which results in expensive imports. Add to that a weak currency and, well…

Ideas generated in human minds that solve problems, however, "virtual resources" and their implementation create not only value and scale, they create ecosystems where even more value can be created. The internet is the perfect example. And what underlies the internet and its billions of real dollars of virtual services? Code, mostly. We always need people who can code. They can create the platforms and the environments where the domestic-owned value creation can happen.

Togo: Madame La Ministre Cina Lawson rend visite aux formateurs Africa Code Week !

Madame la Ministre Cina Lawson a rendu visite aux animateurs Africa Code Week lors de l'atelier de formation organisé le 14 septembre à Lomé au Togo : "je compte sur vous pour montrer aux jeunes que coder n'est pas difficile et peut être 'fun' !"

Quelques jours plus tôt, la Ministre des Postes et de l'Economie Numérique faisait la une de la presse au Togo, annonçant qu'elle souhaitait "faire des enfants togolais de futurs génies en programmation informatique."

Lors de l'atelier du 14 septembre, les formateurs de l'entreprise SAP ont pu former 80 animateurs togolais qui se préparent maintenant pour le grand jour, lorsque des centaines d'enfants issus de tout le pays feront eux aussi leurs premiers pas sur Scratch.

En attendant le 1er octobre, voici la liste des ateliers qui seront organisés pour les jeunes du Togo pendant l'Africa Code Week !

Tous a bord du Ampion Venture Bus Maroc !

AMPION est actuellement l´une des seules ONG pan-africaine dédiée à la promotion de l´entreprenariat et de l´innovation technologique en Afrique. L'association organise des programmes Venture Bus d'une durée de 7 jours qui permettent aux participants de transformer de simples idées business en vraies start-ups technologiques.

Le bus vous donne rendez-vous au Maroc du 12 au 19 septembre !

Les experts qui travaillent sous la tutelle d´OCP Entrepreneurship Network et l´association Maroc Entrepreneurs travaillent main dans la main avec Ampion pour faire de ce Venture Bus une expérience inoubliable et une immersion dans l'écosystème marocain. La Grande Finale aura lieu lors de la Shape Africa Conference à Rabat, la plus grande conférence sur les NTIC au Maroc en 2015 organisée par Global Shapers.

Que se passe-t-il à bord du Venture Bus ?

IF I CAN CODE, EVERYBODY CAN!

Seeing a smile on children's face as they discover something new and exciting is simply priceless, and the satisfaction brought by the sparkle in their eyes is enormous and truly rewarding. Following Einstein's conviction that "the only source of knowledge is experience", we set ourselves on a journey to equip young people in Africa with a set of skills that are essential in all walks of life, in a fun and creative way. We introduce them to logical thinking, problem solving, creative thinking, storytelling, team work and communications. How are we doing it? By teaching them the basics of computer coding. I cannot go on without admitting how, as political scientist, I was giggling along with kids as I wrote my first lines of code.

Learning how to code – like poetry, history or maths – opens up young (and not so young ;-) minds to new ways of thinking and creating. Because coding skills enable them to master the technology, suddenly they are more than mere users of technological solutions: they become creators of innovation. At the beginning of each coding workshop, when asked who is more intelligent, humans or computers, many children answer 'computers'. While taking their first steps in robotics, children then realize that telling the robot to 'go to the end of the room' is not enough for the robot to understand and obey. However, when they say 'robot, stand up', 'robot, move 10 steps', 'robot turn by 180 degrees', their joy builds up as they see the robot listening. When they write down their first commands in the Scratch interactive online tool, it suddenly dawns on them that they are now in charge of the machine and they can instruct it to do exactly what they want. They learn to give clear commands, to carefully plan each step so as to achieve a desired result. It's just like project management or writing a movie script, so the skills we learn through coding may actually be used in a wide array of contexts.

Building on the success of the EU Code Week set up by the European Commission across 38 European countries last year, these coding workshops are part of the Africa Code Week initiative launched by SAP, Simplon.co, Ampion, the Galway Education Centre, the Cape Town Science Centre and the King Baudouin Foundation. In October 2015, this continent-wide initiative will bring hundreds of coding activities to 20,000 kids and youth from 3 different age groups (8-11, 12-17 and 18-24) across 18 countries.

The goal is to equip future generations with the coding skills they need to thrive in the 21st century workforce and become key actors of Africa's economic development. With the role technology plays in our daily lives and across economies and industries, it is clear that coding skills will be the key to successful careers in the future, whether today's children become tomorrow's leading entrepreneurs or join the digitally skilled workforce companies need more and more, everywhere.

Learn code online with openSAP: enroll today!

Starting October 1, two courses will be available to teach coding to children and teenagers from age 8-17 years old, in both English and French. The courses are based on Scratch, the popular interface designed by the MIT Media Lab to simplify the face of coding for the young generation. With Scratch, you can program your own interactive stories, games, and animations — and share your creations with millions of like-minded friends online. It helps young people think creatively, reason systematically, and work collaboratively - essential skills for life in the 21st century.

The courses are divided into two age groups:

Teaching Programming to Young Learners (Enseigner la programmation aux enfants) is aimed at teachers, parents, and guardians of children aged 8-11, enabling adults to support children during their coding journey.

Teens Get Coding (Les Ados se mettent au code!) is aimed at 12-17 year olds who want to get started with coding in a fun and interactive system, including the creation of interactive computer games.

One successful pilot…

Did celebrities end up cracking the code?

See for yourself!

SAP partners with celebrities to promote software coding in Africa!

On Friday, SAP Africa hosted a Celebrity Charity Software Coding Challenge in Johannesburg, in support of the inaugural Africa Code Week, scheduled for October 2015. Celebrities included international musician Loyiso Bala; Bafana Bafana footballer Simphiwe Tshabalala; International beach volleyball player, Sheana Abrahams; President of the Oprah Winfrey Foundation, Rebecca Sykes; Miss RSA International, Shajar Khan; Mrs Globe, Riana Mooi; former TV presenter, Gerri Eldson; South African actor, Jet Novuka; Mr. South Africa 2014/15, Armand du Plessis; Celebrity Chef and TV personality, Yudhika Sujanani; Elizabeth Arden make-up artist, Gina Myers; celebrity plastic surgeon, Dr. Reza Mia; former Miss South Africa, Bokang Montjane; former Miss South Africa, Joan Ramogoshi Madibeng; Lions rugby team players Robbie Coetzee and Howard Mnisi.

Through the simplification of what has historically been perceived as a highly technical arena, SAP is making coding more appealing and accessible to a wider audience, starting with last Friday's Celebrity Charity Coding Challenge. At this event, SAP's global coding experts mentored and coached the celebrities as part of a Global Corporate Social Responsibility International Skilled Volunteering program. They also facilitated a 'Train The Trainer' session with teachers this weekend and they will pilot project with learners at the Cape Town Science Centre this week.

SAP has developed a coding course which is available free of charge on openSAP: registrations are now open for all learners in Africa with courses scheduled to begin on 2 June, 2015. The openSAP platform offers a highly engaging and effective learning experience through gamification, whilst allowing real time interaction between SAP experts and learners. The "Africa Code Week: Teaching Programming to Young Learners" course has been developed in partnership with Simplon.co, the Cape Town Science Centre and the Galway Education Centre, with the purpose of empowering youth, teachers and parents with the language of programming using the freely available "Scratch" system to help bridge the digital skills gap across Africa.

"The ultimate goal of the Celebrity Charity Coding Challenge was to involve people who would normally have no exposure to coding other than consuming applications on mobile devices or computers. Coding is relevant to all industries in the 21st century and as a result, skills need to be constantly updated. SAP believes that, "by sharing skills and knowledge, we will empower people to take control of their futures," commented Mehmood Khan, COO of Sap Africa. "openSAP provides this platform for sharing and we encourage teachers, parents and students across the continent to register for the "Africa Code Week: Teaching Programming to Young Learners" course on the openSAP platform as a means of accessing a valuable resource to further develop the youth of Africa." We look forward to having you on board this historic journey!

Welcome to the Africa Code Week Blog!

This is the beginning of a unique story…

The Africa Code Week journey has just started and this blog is about to unveil one chapter at a time, from partner insights and country updates all the way to snapshots of kids having fun. Truth be told, we cannot wait to write about the spark in children's eyes as they discover the joys of coding and creating their own games with Scratch. We look forward to sharing these magic 'moments in time' where students discover new skills and tools that could go a long way in establishing them in the 21st century workplace. Stay tuned...the fun is just about to begin! You can also follow us on Twitter @africacodeweek and http://www.facebook.com/africacodeweek!

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