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Voith and Theirworld Join Forces, Launch Code Clubs for Girls in Tanzania

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During Africa Code Week, October 18 - 25, 2017, key pulp and paper industry technology supplier Voith (Germany) and the children’s charity Theirworld launched the Code Clubs for Girls in Tanzania. Code Clubs are established to give girls and young women in Tanzania a unique chance to learn vital coding and technology skills in a safe space and thus prepare them better for the digital labor market. 

The Code Clubs are being launched as a way to recognize girls’ ambition and potential, and highlight the need for greater gender equality. A total of 480 young women in Tanzania will now have the opportunity to enter the digital world and open up new prospects for their future. Despite thousands of jobs being created in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) industries across Africa, gender discrimination and lack of access to education and technology means girls are often kept out of the work force and unable to break the cycle of poverty. On average, women make up less than 30% of the people working in STEM related jobs.

"This innovative initiative for education will help girls and young women to learn technical coding and develop vital communications and leadership skills, which prepare them for entering the expanding technology sector across Africa. We are proud to support this," said Hubert Lienhard, president and CEO of Voith Gmbh & Co. KGaA. He explained that social involvement and innovative spirit have always been part of Voith’s history. In the150th anniversary year of the company, many of the 19.000 Voith employees around the globe participated in sporting events, such as running or cycling, and every kilometer achieved by the Voith employees was then transferred into euros for a total donation in an amount of EUR 150,000 to the Theirworld organization.

Sarah Brown, President of Theirworld said that "we know that investing in a girl has social and economic returns that go beyond her, extending not only to her family and future children, but also to her community. Engaging the private sector and mobilizing its resources are key to scaling these approaches to as many girls and young women as possible." 

The project also highlights that during the next 25 years, Africa’s working age population will double to one billion, exceeding that of China and India. However, the digital skills gap is widening. Coding provides skills that can put millions of young Africans on the path to successful careers. Companies in Africa are struggling to hire enough qualified IT talents.

The Code Clubs are located in Dar es Salaam within the Temeke district, where many girls have dropped out of school and the risk of teenage pregnancy is high. The girls and young woman aged 11 to 25 years learn how to build computers and learn to code. Older participants learn how to create their own websites using HTML, CSS & Java, as well as gain skills for future employment and business.

The new Code Clubs in Tanzania will expand and complement Theirworld’s existing Code Clubs in Kenya, Uganda, and Nigeria, contributing to a higher amount of women working in the area of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). 

Code Clubs run once a week in nine month cycles. Girls will be taught a bespoke program of online coding content by a trained teacher, and given access to numeracy, literacy, art, and music to support their formal education. The Kano computer kits used in the clubs are low-cost, easily transportable, can be rebuilt multiple times, and are highly applicable in countries where connectivity is low.

Theirworld is a children’s charity that believes all children everywhere deserve the best start in life. It works for a future where all children are born safely, have a quality education, and the chance to change the world. More information about Theirworld is available online.

BRAC is a development organization dedicated to alleviating poverty by empowering the poor, operating across 11 countries. BRAC started its work in Tanzania in 2006 by adapting and implementing its comprehensive development models reaching approximately 2.64 million people, with programs in microfinance, small enterprises development, education, agriculture, poultry, livestock, and empowerment and livelihood for adolescents.

 

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