Five Minutes with ACW Patron, Albert Nsengiyumva

 Albert Nsengiyumva from the Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA) shares his thoughts on the past two years of Africa Code Week and the role digital skills play in preparing African youth for the future

 

 

What do you love about Africa Code Week?

I love how the program is free to learners and teachers across Africa and that it offers them an opportunity to enhance their digital skills. Coding and computational thinking are so important for Africa’s youth. Without them, young people won’t be ready for the jobs of the future in which humans will work alongside machines through artificial intelligence. One of the other things I love about Africa Code Week is its focus improving digital education for girls.

What role does ADEA play?

The Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA) partnered with Africa Code Week in 2020, joining UNESCO and Irish Aid to provide the expertise and government relations. As the Executive Secretary of ADEA and official ACW Patron, I see our role as fighting for quality, inclusive education in Africa that is relevant to the needs of business and industry in the 21st century.

How is Africa Code Week helping prepare children across the continent for the future?

Because Africa has the youngest population in the world, it’s important that we give African youth a ladder to climb their way out of poverty. In my view, this can only be done through education and through events like Africa Code Week which provide young people with valuable coding skills. Coding is a language and if young people are fluent in it, they will be better prepared for the digital world.

In what ways has Africa Code Week had to adapt due to the impact of COVID-19?


In 2020, Africa Code Week pivoted from in-person events to holding most events online. Surprisingly, these virtual events had a much greater reach and were able to be enjoyed by students and teachers in many more African countries. For instance, in 2020 we successfully reached 1.5 million youth, of which nearly half were girls. Over 10,500 workshops were held across 43 countries and 21,000 teachers participated in Train-the-Trainer sessions. This is a real accomplishment and something to be proud of.


Looking ahead, what are your plans for Africa Code Week?

Our goals remain the same: to empower young Africans with digital literacy skills. How we do it may change, as evidenced by the evolution to virtual training sessions due to the global pandemic and the launch of the smartphone app in 2020. What I would really like to see are more African governments pledging to offer coding as part of their national school curriculum. So far, through the efforts of Africa Code Week, nine countries have already done so. I’d like to see a whole lot more!

 

Albert Nsengiyumva is the Executive Secretary of the Association for the Development of Education in Africa, one of the key partners for Africa Code Week, along with SAP, UNESCO, and Irish Aid. 

Meet our AfriCAN Code Challenge 2021 winners

Returning for the second year, the Africa Code Week AfriCAN Code Challenge presents their top 10 winners with Devansh and Darshika from Mauritius as the Pan-African competition winners!

 

An annual celebration of coding throughout Africa

The AfriCAN Code Challenge is a pan-African coding competition where youth aged 8 - 16 were tasked with coding a game using the Scratch programming language to address the theme that was determined by the Africa Code Week team. This competition was launched by SAP Africa Code Week and partners UNESCO, Irish Aid and the Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA) in September 2020, and since then has become an annual celebration of youth and innovation in Africa.

The rationale for chosing this year’s superheroe theme was to allow children to unleash their creativity and express themselves freely on issues they feel are important to them. Davide Storti, Coordinator of the YouthMobile Initiative at UNESCO, says: “The post-pandemic education recovery starts with allowing our children to regain confidence and hope, and with us adults reopening spaces, although virtual, for them to access their fullest potential."

To take part in the AfriCAN Code Challenge, youth were able to enter alone or in teams of up to five people, and entries featured a three-minute YouTube video showcasing how their game works and why it should be considered a winning entry. The unique initiative and entry mechanism called upon the children’s ability to design a project that would solve a community-issue, code it, and communicate it.

 

The winners of the AfriCAN Code Challenge 2021

During the opening rounds of the challenge, participation reached across 40 countries and featured 102 project video clips, only the top three entries from 36 countries made it into the continental final, followed by 20 countries in the final judging stage.

Selected by a high-level jury comprising key Africa Code Week delegates and STEM education experts, the top three winners of the AfriCAN Code Challenge are:

The top 3

First place: Mauritius – Super Recyclers, by Devansh and Darshika
Second place: Nigeria – The Carbon Man, by SUPER GAMERS
Third place: Ethiopia – Kids Academy, by Natnael Kedir

 

Followed by:

4: Niger - Rayuwa
5: Sao Tome & Principe - Helper intrigue
6: Tunisia - Le toucher du bonheur
7: Capo Verde - Change the World with US
8: Morocco – Super hero
9: Seychelles - The Prodigies
10: Madagascar - Pensons civisme

 

The 2021 edition of the AfriCAN Code Challenge was quite unique, as for the first time, hearing-impaired students participated in the competition proving once again that coding is the language of inclusivity and creativity.

Irish Minister of State for overseas development aid and diaspora Colm Brophy T.D, who attended the Rwanda AfriCAN Code Challenge national awards ceremony says, “Africa Code Week unlocks the potential in young people who otherwise may not have considered building their digital skills”

Claire Gillissen-Duval, Director of EMEA Corporate Social Responsibility and Co-founder of Africa Code Week at SAP adds, “The  return of the AfriCAN Code Challenge was awaited by our incredible SAP volunteers who took part in the first line of jury. The presence of hearing-impaired students demonstrates the power of inclusivity that resides in digital literacy, in its capacity to build bridges and connect children of an entire continent, regardless of gender, age or ability.”

For more information about SAP Africa Code Week and the AfriCAN Code Challenge, visit www.africacodeweek.org

5 Reasons to Download the Africa Code Week App

Calling all coding enthusiasts: did you know that more children in Africa are likely to have access to a smart phone than a computer? Here’s five reasons to download the Africa Code Week app and put those 21st century skills to practice!

 

Boost digital skills

The ACW app allows you to progress your skillset according to your ability and level. Available in 4 languages (English, French, Portuguese, and Arabic) with more than 30 coding lessons based on MIT’s Scratch, the app is accessible for all to improve their digital knowledge.

 

Prepare for 21st century jobs

Every future job will at some stage require digital skills! You may dream of becoming a lawyer or a doctor one day, but whatever profession you choose, digital skills are imperative. For example, if you become a surgeon, you’ll likely rely on computer systems to perform intricate procedures and monitor the well-being of your patients. If you become a lawyer, artificial intelligence (AI) may help you understand previous cases in order to build your own strategy when you defend your client in court. The clock is ticking!

 

Teachers can be inspired too

If you’re a teacher, the ACW app will help you prepare your own coding lessons. Many teachers feel daunted by coding and may not understand it. The app not only helps to get ahead and grasp the basics of coding, but teachers can also explain the subject with more confidence.

 

Teachers can upskill themselves

In learning how to code and how to teach coding, teachers will be able to prepare their students for the future, as well as future-proof their own careers. Rather than feeling threatened, teachers can embrace new technology and the creative possibilities that it holds for their students.

 

Join a community of like-minded people across Africa

The wonderful thing about technology is how it can transcend borders and unite people. One of the niftiest benefits of the app is how it can find and reach similar people and interest groups who share the same passion for coding. Who knows, you could even collaborate on an interactive game that will be the next winner at the AfriCAN Code Challenge!

 

The Africa Code Week smartphone app is designed to make teaching and learning material about coding accessible to everyone. Available on the Google Play Store, it is easy to use for both teachers and students. Let the code (and fun), begin!

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!

 

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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

AfriCAN Code Challenge: DreamOval Foundation Honours Deserving Pupils

The DreamOval Foundation in partnership with SAP, UNESCO YouthMobile, and Irish Aid, organized an inspiring award ceremony last week for Ghanaian students who have played an active part in this year’s Africa Code Week (ACW) AfriCAN Code Challenge competition.

The event was a joyful ceremony involving school authorities, Metropolitan assembly officials, chiefs, and parents from the winning school to showcase the hard work and efforts of local youth in line with the Government's agenda towards improving 21st century learning. Prizes included laptops, tablets, mobile handsets, and book vouchers and were handed to country winners from Nii Boye Town SDA Basic School, Martyrs of Uganda and Accra, and Sweet Code. 

Ghanean students rise above Covid challenges

Speaking about the awards ceremony, Francis Ahene-Affoh from DreamOval adds, “Despite the global pandemic and today’s disruptions to learning, Ghana received both innovative and creative competition entries. We selected the best three to represent our country for the continental challenge and look forward to seeing our local talent showcased with Africa’s top students.” 

The AfriCAN Code Challenge is an exciting pan-African competition that invites youth aged 8-16 years to program a Scratch game aligned to the 'Change the world with your Superpowers' theme. Participants are invited to compete individually or in teams of up to five people to test students’ ability to write basic code using the scratch language and to show their level of competence in a 2min video which is reviewed by a panel of judges. 

Speaking at the event, Chief of Nii Boye Town, Nii Ayi Mensah 1, acknowledged the students and their hard work and the importance of key influencers and local ambassadors in fostering digital education in the community. He also highlighted the importance of digital learning and education while referencing the students from SDA who were shining examples with their winning creations in the AfriCAN Code Challenge. 

Francis from DreamOval echoed Nii Ayi Mensah 1’s words at the event by celebrating the students’ tenacity and dedication, but also encouraged them to take digital learning and coding seriously as a ‘transformative journey’ that will change their lives and make them competitive in the global economy. 

 

AfriCAN Code Challenge 2021 Ghana Africa Code Week

 

Ghana helps conquer Africa’s digital divide  

During 2021 alone, more than 621 teachers have been trained in Ghana during Africa Code Week’s Train-the-Trainer (TTT) sessions during the month of August thanks to the implementing partner, DreamOval Foundation. 

Due to COVID-19 and to support health and safety regulations, the training was scheduled online and created an opportunity for teachers to register from all corners of the country. “Ghana has recorded impressive results over the years during the TTT sessions, and this year was no exception,” concludes Francis Ahene-Affoh. 

To find out more information about Ghana’s continued support in Africa Code Week or to get involved, contact the DreamOval Foundation or send an email to Francis. 

 

ACW’s Women Empowerment Workshop returns, virtually

Teaching really is a work of heart, and this year’s Africa Code Week Women Empowerment Workshop couldn’t be better suited. The first pilot program officially commenced last year, and little did the organisers know what a great success it would be. This year, the Women Empowerment Workshop returns for its second edition and will host more than 70 women from across Africa.

Organized by SAP, UNESCO, Irish Aid and the Moroccan Ministry of National Education the unique digital event will provide female teachers with the opportunity to meet, collaborate and connect on best teaching practices and new 21st century skills. The Women Empowerment Workshop will also provide a space for teachers to discuss online learning and gain understanding of the issues related to virtual classrooms; such as cyberbullying and internet safety.

Taking place from November, seven interactive workshops will be scheduled each week and highlight different themes and topics relevant to Africa Code Week’s key enabler. Fun, engaging and collaborative, expert speakers will present in both English and French.

With 1 out of 3 children missing out on remote learning because of today’s unprecedented challenges, the role of the teacher in community-based societies is central and reinforcing teacher leadership is crucial. Adding to the importance of advancing women in today’s modern teaching space, Africa Code Week Co-founder and Head of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) at SAP EMEA, Claire Gillissen-Duval adds, “We are incredibly excited to welcome our second edition of the Women Empowerment Workshops! Last year’s pilot program was a great success and we received positive feedback from all participants. Through our webinar series, we aim to close the digital gender gap and help ensure everyone can play a role in shaping Africa’s future in the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR).”

Last year’s group of 28 female teachers attended the workshop in Morocco and came from +14 African countries. Over the course of four days, female participants attended training sessions that focussed on computational and design thinking agendas. After getting to grips with the technologies sitting at the heart of the 4IR, participants also shared best practices on girl mentoring, capacity-building strategies and imparting digital skills to students. And this year’s event promises to be even better!

Let’s show our ACW support as our female participants engage in this important learning process to help conquer Africa’s digital divide. We invite you to leave comments here and to help spread the message using #WEW2020.

BMZ multiplied digital skills training for women and girls as part of Africa Code Week 2018

Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) supports Africa Code Week for third consecutive year.

“Where women and girls are able to change their opportunities and perspectives through ICT, their empowerment affects a wide range of outcomes, from ending poverty, to improving education and health, to agricultural productivity, and creating decent jobs*.” With 90% of future jobs requiring ICT skills, now is the time for private and public partners to join forces like never before so that SDG #5 on gender equality can be met by 2030.


Kenya

South Africa

Ghana

As current research by Accenture suggests, sparking the interest of girls at an early stage on their educational pathway and sustaining their interest in computer coding is a key challenge for teachers – hence the pressing need to support them at the grassroot level.

This is what brought the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) to launch the #eskills4Girls initiative as part of Germany’s 2017 G20 presidency, with a goal to tackle the gender digital divide in low income and developing countries. Endorsed by all G20 states and by SAP and UNESCO as part of Africa Code Week, #eskills4Girls is a global initiative bringing together governments, private sector, universities and non-profits across the continent to narrow the gender digital divide. In parallel, throughout the course of 2018, BMZ, UNESCO, SAP and the Camden Education Trust gathered pedagogues and experts to strengthen the gender component of Africa Code Week’s Train-the-Teacher curriculum.


Kenya

Burundi

As part of this 2018 edition, 20 BMZ grants were awarded to support digital literacy events and workshops across 15 African countries. Implemented by volunteer trainers and teachers within each grantee organization, these workshops introduced more than 13,791 women and girls to the basics of coding using Scratch, the globally-acclaimed programming interface designed by the MIT Media Lab. In some countries, participants were also able to learn mobile application development and software programming languages including HTML, CSS, Javascript and Java.

* Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director, UN Women. https://news.itu.int/reshaping-future-women-girls-icts/ 

List of 2018 #eSkills4Girls grantees:

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