6 ACW ambassadors selected for the Scratch Education Collaborative program

Africa Code Week is proud to announce that not one, but six ACW ambassadors and implementing partners have been selected to join an education and development program by the world’s largest free coding platform, Scratch. Siyafunda Community Technology Centre (South Africa), Girls in STEM Trust (Zimbabwe), MindSet Coders (Uganda), Creativity Lab (Rwanda), OIC Foundation (Nigeria), and Webfala Digital Skills for all Initiative (Nigeria) are part of the 91 other organisations from across the globe joining the 2022-2024 Scratch Education Collaborative program (SEC).

The program will include a series of collaborative learning experiences co-developed and co-facilitated by Scratch and partner organizations. Over a period of two years, the organisations will work to create a self-sustaining community of practice and establish models for equity-centred creative coding resources.

Bridging the skills gap in Africa

“Africa is burdened by a massive digital skills gap, which according to the World Economic Forum, is diluting economic opportunities and development. ACW and its partners cannot close this gap alone,” says Olajide Ademola Ajayi, Africa Code Week’s Global Coordinator. “Collaboration is key and seeing ACW ambassadors nominated to join such a big global program means we could accelerate closing Africa’s digital skills gap faster.”

Ahmed Ismail, Founder of Siyafunda Community Technology Centre, a South African non-profit organization and one of the ACW implementing partners, says being selected for this program means we can help shape the future of Scratch education in South African classrooms and across the continent. “We plan on incorporating this milestone by further advancing South African Basic Education by working with educators to improve the quality of the local curriculum.”

He adds, “We will also work to increase access to digital education for South African children, especially girls. We believe that education is the key to improving the lives of people in underserved locations, and we will do everything to help make it a reality for more people.”

Building on the ACW foundation

Since 2015, ACW has reached millions of African teachers and children and plans to partner closely with policymakers and governments to help transform Africa’s education agenda by including digital literacy in the national curricula.

Valentine Masicha, founder of MindSet Coders in Uganda and an ACW ambassador, says joining the SEC program means building on foundation blocks laid by ACW. “This will enhance the already existing knowledge from ACW and open our eyes to the opportunities available to build learning resources.”

She adds, “We would like to enhance creative computing for learners in and out of schools with a special focus on differently-abled children.

Digital skills for Africa and beyond

According to the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, over 200 million jobs across the continent will require some level of digital skills by 2030. Beyond Africa, there are approximately 97 million new jobs could emerge from the introduction of machines and algorithms by 2025, according to the World Economic Forum.

Victoria Nxumalo, the Executive Director of Girls In STEM Trust in Zimbabwe and one of the ACW ambassadors joining the SEC programs, will enable global opportunities. “Girls In STEM Trust is thrilled to be part of the SEC cohort 2 as it allows us to collaborate and network with like-minded organisations across the globe to learn best practices for advancing technology education in Zimbabwe and Africa. This will also allow us to work directly in the development of Scratch as a critical educational tool for both educators and learners.”

Nxumalo concludes, “It is 21st-century digital skills that ensure the youth are able to compete on an international scale for technology careers and opportunities and feed into the global talent pipeline.”

Scratch is one of the world’s largest free online learning platforms designed to empower children, young adults and teachers with coding skills. The program allows young people to create their own interactive stories, games, and animations. In 2021 alone, more than 200 million children interacted with Scratch. Click here to apply and stand a chance to be part of the SEC for the 2023 – 2025 Cohort. Deadline February 28, 2023!

Africa Code Week’ AfriCAN Code Challenge 2021 TOP 20 is announced!

Returning for a second edition, the AfriCAN Code Challenge is a pan-African coding competition where youth aged 8 to 16 were tasked with coding a game using the Scratch programming language to show how they would change the world with their superpowers. Youth were able to enter alone or in teams of up to five people, tapping into a wide range of essential skills from problem-solving and coding all the way to teamwork and communications. Each entry had to include a three-minute YouTube video showing how the game works and why it should win.


In total, 40 countries participated, with over 100 project videos submitted. The top three entries from 36 countries made it into the continental final, with 20 projects making it to the final judging stage!



De retour pour la deuxième édition, l'AfriCAN Code Challenge est un concours de codage pour les jeunes de 8 à 16 ans. Leur mission : programmer un jeu en utilisant le langage de programmation Scratch sur le thème : « Change le monde avec tes super pouvoirs ! » Les jeunes pouvaient participer seuls ou en équipes de cinq personnes maximums, en faisant appel à un large éventail de compétences essentielles - de la résolution de problèmes à la programmation en passant par le travail d'équipe et la communication. Chaque participation devait inclure une vidéo YouTube de trois minutes montrant le fonctionnement du jeu.


Au total, 40 pays ont participé, et plus de 100 vidéos de projets ont été soumises. Les trois meilleurs projets de 36 pays ont été retenus pour la finale continentale : sur ces 36 projets, 20 projets ont été retenus pour la dernière phase!


Here are the 20 projects that made it through to the final round / Voici les 20 projets finalistes :


Ivory Coast:  Mégaménage
Niger:  Rayuwa
Gabon:  Stop Déchet
Djibouti: Ecole Excellence
Madagascar: Pensons civisme
Tunisia: Le toucher du bonheur
Nigeria: The Carbon Man
The Gambia: Quiz Game
Rwanda: Master Jump Game
Uganda: Save Planet Earth Project
Ethiopia: Kids Academy
Mauritius: Super Recyclers
South Africa: Eco friendly game
Zimbabwe: Recycle it
Sudan: Saving Children
Seychelles: The Prodigies
Capo Verde : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P_i1RC73Cmk 
Sao Tome & Principe: Helper intrigue
Morocco: Super Hero 
Libya: https://youtu.be/9sYZNsYEjFs


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!  


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.

What does that mean, ‘people who can code’? How many professions are affected by coding? Anything from science to engineering to banking, insurance, financial services, healthcare, law, communcations, art, you name it. And I’m not saying that because they’re using computers. Healthcare depends on software for its imaging technologies, to share knowledge and patient data to improve care. Many artists know how to code to create compelling pieces with technological elements, whether a display of lights, an interaction with an audience, etc. Show me any industry and I’ll tell you where to find the coders that make it work.

To explain this better, maybe I need to touch upon some of the less known aspects of coding. What kind of activity is it?

  1. Coding is creative.
    Anythign on the web is coded for example and there are many, many creative websites out there, from eye candy to multi-sensory experiences. Coders created all that.
  2. Coding generates value. 
    Don’t just think apps, think how big data improves business processes everywhere and reduces waste for example.
  3. Coding is problem-solving.
    Software is often where risk mitigation and problem fixing happens in most environments. Coding is taking big problems and breaking them up into small tractable chunks.
  4. Coding is intellectually stimulating.
    Whatever the endpoint you are trying to reach, coding takes the destination and builds a journey, step by step. Each step is a little achievement on its own, a little problem solved and for each little problem solved comes the reward one feels when making tangible progress. It’s a hugely satisfying positive feedback loop. Also, coding means always learning new things. New technologies, environments, new ways of solving problems.
  5. Coding is a skill by itself.
    If you can code, you are more resilient in a fluctuating job market. Because coding is not industry-specific (there are some specialisations, sure, but coders always learn new things), so if one industry stuggles, a coder can go where there are more opportunities. People who can code are more flexible and can potentially have more fun at work, more choice of industry.

Also, I will boldly claim that the best programmers will come from Africa. Why? Because if it works here, it works everywhere.

Africa has challenges: Power, bandwidth, cost of data, cost of infrastructure, intermittent connectivity, lack of foreign trust, etc. Those challenges drive optimisations. African codes are more efficient, more resilient, more secure, more economical in power and data because they need to be more robust in our environments. And this is a very real and important skill.

This is why locally developed value will benefit the whole world and I, for one, want to see today’s African kids take the world by storm. So let’s make Africa Code Week the starting point of a stellar carreer and trajectory for as many young people as possible!

To know more about Africa Code Week events in South Africa, follow @SAfricaCodeWeek. To organise an event, read this!


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