Empowering Women Through Coding
Within the next few years, the language of computers- coding will become one of the most important job skills. Nigeria, a currently developing nation in Africa, understands that. Having grasped the importance of technology in every sphere of our lives, several organizations have been taking action to popularize coding in the country.
The local government in Lagos, the largest city in Nigeria announced on April 11th, their plans to set up five thousand new coding centers to impart programming skills to the public under the initiative CodeLagos, which aims to teach a million residents coding. Obafela Bank-Olemoh, the special advisor to the governor of education said, “I believe we can educate one million people in the language of the future. Our success in Lagos State will create a ripple effect across Nigeria, and if we can change Nigeria, we can change Africa. If we can change Africa, we can undoubtedly change the world.”
In developing countries such as our own, coding is a vital skill which is only growing in popularity. As it reaches more people, it enables them to think creatively and think of new solutions to socio-economic problems. Coding drives development. In Nigeria, organisations like Girls in Tech Nigeria and the Pearls Africa Foundation are using coding as a tool to make women economically independent.
Pearls Africa Foundation’s programme GirlsCoding aims to teach girls living in slums, orphanages and coming from impoverished backgrounds programming, and help them live the future that they dream of. Coming from poverty stricken backgrounds, these girls know the problems faced by the poor and have solutions to offer, and programming opens them up to a world of possibilities- eventually even enabling them to implement their solutions. In fact, Miriam Matti, a twelve-year-old girl is living proof of this. Through one year, Miriam built the website ‘Food Insecurity’, which allows visitors to give money, assistance or equipment to farmers.
The founder of Pearls Africa, Abisoye Ajayi said that the programme not only helped girls develop critical thinking skills and reasoning skills, but significantly improved their self-esteem.
Nigerian Ada Nduka is the founder of She Code Africa, which encourages tech education for girls. She had always had an interest in technology and science, and decided to break the stereotypes holding her back and do what she loved. She said “Being a girl in tech has totally changed my view and approach to life.” She added that she’d been able to address important issues in her own way, give talks and interact with experts in the field.
Today, women make up only a fraction of the tech industry. But there’s change in the air. Initiatives such as these are not only changing the lives of individuals, but are also changing the very structure of society. Tomorrow, women will be the leaders of the industry- and we want you to be among them.