Girls in ICT Zonal Training : Arusha

It is unfortunate that Tanzania currently faces the challenge of having few girls in the STEAM and ICT field. She Codes for Change has seen the opportunity to rectify this by targeting where the journey of STEAM and ICT begins — in the classroom.

Working with the Universal Communications Service Access Funds (UCSAF), the month of March 2017 was used to go around Tanzania in efforts to spark interest in young girls to want to pursue science subjects. Girls who are currently in form three in secondary school, and who performed well in science subjects in the national form two examinations last year, were proposed by their schools and were sent to the closest region where we conducted our zonal trainings. There were six zonal trainings conducted in Arusha, Dodoma, Dar-es-Salaam, Zanzibar, Mwanza and Mbeya.

We kicked off our trainings in Arusha on 3rd March, 2017 and the girls arrived from the regions of Kilimanjaro, Manyara, Arusha and Tanga the previous day. On that Thursday evening of 2nd March 2017, our logistics champion (Mr. Mujuni Baitani) briefed them on what to expect with the training and invited them for a group prayer. This set an immediate tone of unity in the room and this was sustained throughout the entire training program.

Group prayer session to begin the trainings on a positive note

The first day of training was set off by a motivational talk from Mrs. Caroline Kandusi of Obuntu Hub, Arusha who taught the girls the value of having life goals and the importance of taking all the necessary steps in protecting those goals to ensure their achievement. This talk resonated well with the girls and was topped off by everyone singing along to Ben Pol’s inspirational song, “Jikubali”.

Thereafter, the girls were taught on ideation which included what an idea is, the difference between a good and bad idea and the various ways one can make their ideas come to life. Each girl was told to write down their ideas and how they will accomplish their ideas using mobile applications. From there, the girls were then broken down into groups of six and were assigned to choose two mobile app ideas from their member groups to present the next day. Our trainers then went on to teach the girls on basic computer knowledge and how to open an email account as well as send an email. In their groups of 6 and each girl got the opportunity to open an email account as well as send an email. The day was concluded by a brief introduction to the MIT App Inventor and what the girls should expect from the next day of training.

We began the second day of training by having a recap on what was taught the previous day. The trainers asked the girls various questions to test their level of understanding of the materials already covered then each group presented on the two ideas of mobile application that they decided to proceed with. From there the teachers and trainers voted for one idea that they saw would have the best potential for the group to work on. The girls were then taught how to use the MIT App Inventor to create a mobile application based on their ideas and the day ended with a summary of what was taught and a brief overview of what would take place the next day. Since it was a day full of hard work, we took the girls to visit Snake Park in the evening for them to have fun and unwind.

The students enjoying their evening visit to Snake Park

On our final day of training we continued with the MIT App Inventor training and each group worked on their mobile app to completion. After completing the mobile apps creation, the trainers taught the girls on how to give a good pitch and presentation. Thereafter, each girl got the chance to present on their mobile applications to the rest of the girls, the trainers and teachers. This gave them life skills events that goes beyond the classroom. From there, 4 girls were selected by the teachers and trainers to represent the northern zone in Dar-es-Salaam during the national Girls in ICT training. The training ended on a high note by a congratulatory speech from the She Codes for Change team and we left off to re-create the impact in Dodoma.

The four northern zone winners celebrating their mobile application victory