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. 

SAP Africa Code Week Kicks off Fifth Women Empowerment Program

Back by popular demand, our Africa Code Week Women Empowerment Program continues to grow in acclaim and success. Since 2019, this unique Continuing Professional Development (CPD) program has been equipping African female educators with the skills and knowledge they need to successfully teach, inspire and prepare girls for tomorrow’s tech workplace.

Our aim is to close the digital gender gap and help ensure that everyone plays a role in shaping Africa’s future in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. To do this, we bring together teachers to foster an educational, collaborative, and innovative environment that supports the Sustainable Development Goals 3 (Good Health and Well-being), 4 (Quality Education), 5 (Gender Equality) and 17 (Partnerships for the Goals).

Research captures evidence of panellists sharing digital expertise, and Research provides evidence of the use of the event / workshop methodology and group work to support educators address ‘health, community, education, technology and policy’ barriers to girls education, with educators using the program as a platform to amplify their stories and experiences.

Improving digital skills one teacher at a time

During COVID-19, teachers around the world had to adapt to new circumstances and technology. But most teachers in Africa found that technology was the biggest barrier they faced when it came to teaching their students online. This is because before COVID, many African teachers had received little or no technology training. As a result, they had to adapt and innovate to support learners, parents and caregivers so that learning could continue, despite the uncertainty caused by the virus.

At Africa Code Week, we seek to ensure that the advantages of the global digital economy are available to all, and female teachers are the gateway to this. Our program improves their digital skills, which is vital especially as digital learning is here to stay. This, in turn, will support female teachers to ensure that their students get the education they need to take on 21st century jobs. For instance, WEP participants are applying digital skills and using the design thinking process to create projects that respond to SDG 3, 4 and 5 challenges.

A strong progression model

Research also revealed that the ACW WEP provides an accessible online context for female educators to continue in their professional development during a period of significant educational change, and uncertainty, due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. In other words, we are making waves and we are not slowing down. Following the 2021 program, 295 graduates are now part of our community of female leaders across 38 African countries.

To keep the momentum, the first seven-week series of 2022 kicked-off in February, bringing together 70+ African women teachers and leaders to share best teaching practices, learn new skills, and create an ongoing community of practice. The program also provides high-level professional development for participants in the areas of leadership, communications, digital skills, design thinking, global citizenship, and resilience. This season, participants leveraged the WEP methodology and group work to address the ‘health, community, education, technology and policy’ barriers to girls’ education’ while learning how to amplify their stories and experiences.

Lastly, from participant to country host, the ACW WEP offers a progression model that provides a structured leadership pathway for every participating teacher.

Building female leadership in African education

Our acclaimed WEP panel discussions provide a platform for intelligent discussion and open debate. Global advocates for girls, policy makers, scholars, change makers: this season brought together high-level experts from SAP, Irish Aid, the Global Partnership for Education, the Moroccan Ministry of National Education, Deloitte, and Maynooth University.

Equally famous is the WEP Teachers’ Corner, where the most inspiring stories can be heard from heroes working wonders on the field: female teachers who inspire generations of girls to become more than they thought they would be. This year again, their voices were heard on social media and they even got to take part in a short-story-telling challenge for International Women’s Day.

We look forward to elevating the role of women in digital education, innovation, and mentorship in Africa this year and beyond!

africa code week women empowerment program 2022

  

 

March 10th Ceremony: Expert Panelists Claire Gillissen-Duval (SAP), Carol Hannon (Irish Aid), Ilham Laaziz & Amal Hassoun (Moroccan Ministry of Education) with WEP 2022 Co-Moderators (Vickie Nxumalo, Hafida Essardi, Nadine Ferris-France and Hala Ali).

 

ENDS

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

Africa Code Week lights spark of digital literacy in North Africa

Despite Covid-disruption, SAP Africa Code Week hosts Train-the-Trainer sessions in Libya, Mauritania with educators showing strong interest in digital literacy
Collaboration with Ministries of Education aimed at building sustainable skills development capacity

Digital literacy amidst conflict and pandemic

Two countries in the north of Africa affected by recent or ongoing conflict may be turning the corner on digital skills development for youth and teachers in 2021. Despite the challenges with internet access, lack of access to technology and ongoing conflict, interest in digital skills is high among learners and teachers alike in both Libya and Mauritania.

Dorsaf Benna Chelly, SAP Africa Code Week coordinator in North Africa, is upbeat about the interest shown by educators – including the Ministries of Education – in both countries.

“2020 was the first year that hosted Train-the-Trainer sessions in Libya and Mauritania and continues to grow in attendance and popularity. The goal is to equip teachers with skills and knowledge to support digital learning in the country, and to inspire a new generation of young Africans to build a better future using technology as an enabler. The response from educators in Libya and Mauritania shows healthy interest in digital literacy and skills development and point to a shift in how both countries are preparing their youth for the 21st century digital economy.”
 
 

Building blocks of a brighter future for Libya’s youth

Did you know?

  • Libya is in a state of civil war as rival factions seek control of the government. The World Food Programme estimates that 435 000 people have been displaced by the conflict.
  • When the pandemic emerged in early 2020, it prompted school closures across Libya, leaving 1.3 million learners suddenly out of school. The Libyan government worked with local television stations to broadcast compulsory lessons for middle and secondary school children. 
  • The Libyan Ministry of Education also partnered with UNICEF to support digital teaching platforms, provide technical supplies such as tablets and computers, and improve internet connectivity. 
  • According to World Bank data, only 22% of the population in Libya had access to the internet in 2017. 

Dr Muna Naas, Africa Code Week coordinator for Libya and member of the Libyan Ministry of Education, says:

“Work is underway by the Libyan government to meet the long-term education requirements for youth and ensure every learning is equipped to take part in the global digital economy. As the main conduits of learning, teachers play an invaluable role in preparing our youth for a bright future. This makes the positive response from local educators to our first-ever Train-the-Trainer workshops all the more encouraging.”

Last year a total of five Train-the-Trainer sessions were held in the country in September and October, with 67 teachers taking place. Twelve of the teachers were female. In 2021 this figure is set to increase during the months of October to December.

“For many of the teachers, this was their first contact with coding,” says Benna Chelly. "We have also mobilised support among teachers for the AfriCAN Code Challenge, a relatively new initiative at this year’s Africa Code Week that seeks youth aged 8 to 16 to foster a wide range of essential skills, from coding to problem-solving and teamwork, and compete in a competition to help unleash their super powers through coding creativity.”

Scaling teaching impact in Mauritania

Despite constant government investment in the education sector, Mauritania has not yet achieved universal primary school enrolment. According to the World Bank, the country’s learning outcomes remain low, partly due to teachers’ limited qualifications and skills. 

In addition, only one in five people in Mauritania have access to the internet according to 2017 data. This adds further complications to the provision of digital learning in the country. 

According to Cheikh Konaté, Member of the National Assembly of Education in Mauritania, improving the quality of education is critical to the country’s economic growth and human capital development efforts. “As the gatekeepers on knowledge and learning, teachers are invaluable in helping us prepare our youth for the future. With the support of our public and private sector partners, hundreds of teachers participated in the first-ever Train-the-Trainer workshops in our country, and gained first-hand experience with new digital learning and teaching schools.”

Benna Chelly points to the ongoing interest in ACW Train-the-Trainer sessions among educators in Mauritania.

“Across six sessions held virtually in September last year, a total of 214 teachers participated, gaining first-hand knowledge of basic coding and digital literacy skills which they can take back to their classrooms to empower local youth."

More than 39 000 teachers in 37 countries were mobilised during the 2019 Africa Code Week. This year, with an all-virtual format due to the impact of the pandemic, Africa Code Week is taking place across all African countries, with a month-long series of virtual coding sessions taking place across the continent during October to December.

Hicham Iraqi Houssaini, Managing Director of SAP Francophone Africa concludes:

“While the pandemic has upended the lives of learners and teachers across the continent and disrupted schooling, it has also created opportunities. The growing urgency to provide learning through digital channels is driving greater interest in digital skills among learners and teachers alike. Teaching young kids to code is a gift that will endure for decades to come. If we harness our most precious resource – our abundance of youthful talent – Africa will go from strength to strength in 2021 and beyond.”

For more information about Africa Code Week, please visit www.africacodeweek.org

 

 

About Africa Code Week

Since 2015, SAP Africa Code Week (ACW) has been creating free opportunities for young Africans to learn coding skills and for teachers to be trained on digital learning curricula. Strong partnerships with the public, private and civil society sectors across 54 countries are driving sustainable impact by building teaching capacity and supporting the adoption of coding into national curricula in support of UN Sustainable Development Goals 4, 5 and 17. Join SAP and partners by visiting www.africacodeweek.org to find out more.

About SAP

SAP’s strategy is to help every business run as an intelligent enterprise. As a market leader in enterprise application software, we help companies of all sizes and in all industries run at their best: 77% of the world’s transaction revenue touches an SAP® system. Our machine learning, Internet of Things (IoT), and advanced analytics technologies help turn customers’ businesses into intelligent enterprises. SAP helps give people and organizations deep business insight and fosters collaboration that helps them stay ahead of their competition. We simplify technology for companies so they can consume our software the way they want – without disruption. Our end-to-end suite of applications and services enables business and public customers across 25 industries globally to operate profitably, adapt continuously, and make a difference. With a global network of customers, partners, employees, and thought leaders, SAP helps the world run better and improve people’s lives. For more information, visit www.sap.com.

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.

IMG_4689 IMG_4672
   

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.

We, in Madagascar, will celebrate AfricaCodeWeek this coming Saturday, October 10th at HABAKA Tsimbazaza, (08.30am to 11am). Kids will showcase their creations, mini-games and animated drawing. Can’t wait to meet you there!

What if your child was one of them? What if your little boy or little girl was “the next revolution” for the next generation? Leading us right into a better future. How would you know? In Madagascar, coding is kind of unknown territory for now, but that's about to change. Coder Dojos are helping our kids not to be afraid of it. And they believe that the next “big thing” will be made in Madagascar. 

So let me take this opportunity to thanks all the coders who worked backstage to make this article appear on your computer’s screen. They were kids too, they grew up, and now they are coding the world.

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More inspiring reads from Valisoa on his blog Le Sablier Blanc (The White Hourglass).

 

Bienvenue sur le Blog de l’Africa Code Week !

Ici commence une grande aventure...
L'aventure Africa Code Week ne fait que commencer et ce blog a pour merveilleuse mission d'en dévoiler un chapitre à la fois. Vous pourrez y savourer, à votre rythme, les témoignages de nos partenaires, les nouvelles des différents pays, sans jamais perdre de vue le plus important, à savoir le sourire des enfants. Notre plume n'a qu'une hâte: celle de vous faire partager ces milliers d'étincelles qui brillent dans les yeux de ceux qui découvrent un univers, s'approprient un langage et voient l'horizon s'élargir grâce à de nouvelles portes grandes ouvertes sur leur avenir. 
Restez connectés et suivez-nous sur Twitter @africacodeweek et http://www.facebook.com/africacodeweek !

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