AfriCAN Code Challenge: Congratulations to the 22 Finalists! / Félicitations au 22 finalistes!

Launched by SAP Africa Code Week for the first time this year, 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 answer the question: “How will your tech change the future of education?” 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 two-minute YouTube video showing how the game works and why it should win.

 

Bezalel Magede representing Rwanda
Bezalel Magede to represent Rwanda in the pan-African finals

 

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 22 projects making it to the final judging stage! According to Claire Gillissen-Duval, Director of EMEA Corporate Social Responsibility and Co-founder of Africa Code Week at SAP, “African youth are highly creative and community-oriented, and have a key role to play in building a safer and better future for the continent. By encouraging learners to innovate at an early age, we hope to inspire them to become change-makers and help find solutions to challenges in their communities, nations and beyond.”

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Lancé par SAP Africa Code Week pour la première fois cette année, 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 : "Comment ta technologie va-t-elle changer l'avenir de l'éducation ?" Les jeunes pouvaient participer seuls ou en équipes de cinq personnes maximum, 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 deux minutes montrant le fonctionnement du jeu.

 

Les gagnants au Cameroun 
Les gagnants du Cameroun

 

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, 22 projets ont été retenus pour la dernière phase! Selon Claire Gillissen-Duval, Directrice de la Responsabilité sociétale d'entreprise EMEA et co-fondatrice d'Africa Code Week chez SAP, "Parce qu'ils sont extrêmement créatifs et soucieux des besoins de leur communauté , les jeunes Africains ont un rôle majeur à jouer dans la construction d'un avenir meilleur et plus sûr pour le continent. En encourageant les élèves à innover dès leur plus jeune âge, nous espérons les encourager à devenir de véritables acteurs du changement pour trouver des solutions aux grands défis locaux, régionaux, nationaux et au-delà."

 

Here are the 22 projects that made it through to the final round / Voici les 22 projets finalistes:

  1. Algérie: The Best School
  2. Botswana: OK Zoomer
  3. Cabo Verde: Caça Tecnofasma
  4. Cameroun : Grazerty
  5. Côte d’Ivoire: Easy Preterit
  6. Djibouti : Groupe Etoile
  7. Ethiopia: Mathstainement
  8. Ghana : Body Quizz by Nathaniel Aloriwe
  9. Kenya: Augustin Agaba’s project
  10. Malawi: Love Math
  11. Maroc: Hashas Abdelilah
  12. Mauritius: Mr. E-Bin
  13. Niger: Brain Test
  14. Nigeria: I-Learn
  15. République du Congo : Une fille et son chien
  16. Rwanda: Math Puzzles for Kids
  17. São Tomé & Principe: Africa Jungle Quizz
  18. Sénégal: Bat School
  19. South Africa: Space Quest
  20. Tanzania: Animal Name Game
  21. Tunisie: Warrior – Ahmed Antit
  22. Zimbabwe: Headstart Game

 

Awards Ceremony in Sao Tome and Principe
Awards Ceremony in São Tomé and Príncipe

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.

By fostering interest in creative computing through hands-on, interactive and fun learning, the EU and Africa Code Week initiatives are powerful ways to spread digital literacy across continents and start shaping tomorrow’s highly skilled workforce: tech savvy men and women eager to drive social and economic development in a digital world that changes at the speed of light.

Education is the most fertile soil for personal development and future economic growth, the same way proper food helps our body grow and stay healthy. As Nelson Mandela once said, ‘Education is also the most powerful weapon we can use to change the world’, which ultimately translates into increased income, reduced poverty and a more peaceful society.

And by the way, if a political scientist could learn and master coding basics so quickly, then trust me, everybody can!  

 

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. 
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