Contributhon by She Code Africa — Cohort 1 Program Recap

In March 2021, we put up our first cohort applications on our Open Source Bootcamp tagged Contributhon.

With over 150 applications sent in, rigorous screening and on-boarding process, we formally kicked-off contributing, learning and mentoring activities on April 1st, 2021.

Contributhon is structured as a 1 month (cohort style) open source Bootcamp designed to pair mentors from different global open source organizations, with African women in tech who get to work with them on selected projects within the organization.

The program aims at giving these ladies the opportunity to contribute to open source and understand what working with and within a community is about, with guidance from mentors.

The goal of this Bootcamp is to give African ladies hands-on experience collaborating and contributing to open source projects, dedicated mentorship from experts in the field and for new contributors, an “onboard” experience to OSS contributions.

Asides these, giving participating organizations a wider platform to engage with more stakeholders/contributors within the open-source ecosystem in Africa. As well as contribute to creating more gender diversity and inclusion by connecting African women in technology, with experienced and trained individuals in different open source organizations to mentor and give them hands-on experience collaborating and contributing to open source projects by working on selected open source projects while helping the ladies grow skills during the program.

Upon successful completion of the Bootcamp the mentees are paid a $500 stipend to cover costs accrued during the program and encourage them to keep contributing to open source.


To help cover the costs of running the program and paying the mentees stipends, we had 4 open source organizations with interests in the African tech ecosystem and gender diversity, willing to pave the way by helping cover costs involved in running the Bootcamp come onboard as program Sponsors by donating funds to help successfully run the program.

Find below the list of our Cohort 1 Program Sponsors:

  1. The @ Company
  2. Continuous Delivery Foundation
  3. DeployHub
  4. Cloudbees

Program Overview:

We kicked off Cohort 1 with 16 ladies successfully joining the program as mentees and 14 mentors joining us from three different open source organizations with 5 project ideas selected after a thorough screening and onboarding process.

To secure a spot among the 16 mentees selected for this cohort, each applicant had to scale through 3 application process;

  • Application Stage: Fill in and submit a complete application form including links to work samples to access participants’ eligibility to participate in the program
  • Interview Stage: Successful applicants get reviewed and moved into an interview stage
  • Onboarding: Upon scaling the interview stage, applicants get fully onboarded into the 1 month bootcamp

With 16 ladies successfully joining and pioneering the program as “mentees” alongside 14 mentors from Jenkins, DeployHub and Layer5. We formally kicked off the first cohort on 1st April 2021, via an onboarding program call to help take them through the program expectations while introducing them to each other and program mentors as well.

Upon successful onboarding into the program, we split the mentees to work with the following open source organizations on their respective project ideas:

  1. DeployHub: Ortelius dependency report project.
  2. Layer5: Layer5 Community Handbook, Layer5 Main Website, Meshery CTL.
  3. Jenkins: Pipeline Examples and Help.

You can find more information on the open source organizations and their selected projects here.

To drive more engagement and learning, we set up some guidelines to help ease the process between mentors and mentees and these include:

  1. Project Ideas: The project ideas were submitted by the participating mentoring open source organizations which consist of project details, required skill set, breakdown of tasks, mentor details, community forums etc to help the mentees understand the open source project they will be working on, ease into the community and also serve as a guide for the mentors during the program.
  2. Person of Contact (POC): These are members of our SCA core team who act as intermediaries between the SCA team and participants in the program. A POC was assigned to help with blockers faced by either mentors or mentees on the program.
  3. Communications Channel: We set up a dedicated communication channel between the SCA POC and the mentees to help with easier and faster communication and also serve as an environment to engage the ladies informally on their growth so far while on the program, thereby creating a calmer environment to share worries, thoughts, concerns, blockers progress, etc from the program.

Program Wrap Up:

31st April 2021 marked the end of our first cohort (here). It’s been a very exciting journey for our core team who handled all the internal activities for the program here at SCA, the mentors who took out precious time to mentor from their busy schedule every single day for 1 month and the mentees who showed dedication and tenacity all through the period even with the learning blockers encountered.

We are excited about the progress made from this, here are some statistics we’re proud to share:

  1. 150+ applications received during the application period.
  2. 3 African countries participation: These countries are Nigeria, Kenya and Rwanda.
  3. 29 participants: These included the 15 ladies impacted as mentees and the 14 mentors who helped guide the ladies during the Bootcamp.
  4. ~87% completion rate: That is, mentees who met all requirements for participation, successful completion for this cohort on the program and eligibility for the $500 stipend.
  5. 4 Sponsoring Organizations: These are the organizations that helped to pave the way by helping cover costs involved in running this cohort of the Bootcamp.
  6. 3 Mentoring Open Source Organizations:As indicated above, these are participating open-source organizations which participants worked directly with during the Bootcamp.
  7. 5 Project Ideas: These were projects suggested or listed by participating mentor open-source organizations for participants to complete with the help of a mentor during the Bootcamp.

Contribution/Technical Growth Sign:

One of the many requirements for graduation on the program was for mentees to write a project report on contributions made and concepts/tools/technologies learnt during the program. We saw this as a way to also help nurture them into becoming familiar with sharing their knowledge with the rest of the world and also getting comfortable with technical writing while growing their technical skills. We’ve compiled a list of some of them below:

  1. Cynthia Iradukunda
  2. Temitope Babatola
  3. Anisat Akinbani
  4. Blossom Babalola
  5. Joy Nwaiwu

…and many more.

Program Wrap Up Call:

In 1 month of intensive bootcamp learning, Our plan to brew more African women Open Source Contributors, came to fruition with the amazing help of

  • Our program sponsors,
  • Program Mentors,
  • Program Persons of Contacts(POCs) &
  • Organising team
Snippet from program wrap up call — cohort 1

And on the 1st of May 2021, to officially close program activities for mentors/mentees and showcase the mentees progress during the Bootcamp, we had a wrap-event with all the mentees, mentors and sponsors in attendance (Read full thread here). Here is a list of the final presentations on their achievements during the bootcamp from some of the mentees:

  1. by Onyinye Ezike
  2. Joy Nwaiwu
  3. Abiola Farounbi
  4. Munirat Sulaimon
  5. Elizabeth Meshioye

Program Impact / Feedback

We’ve also compiled some feedbacks from some of the mentees and mentors detailing their journey and experience while on the program and working with their mentors and mentees respectively:

Mentor Feedback:

  1. “I enjoyed working with people on a different continent with different experiences than mine. It was invigorating to see others learning and growing in their technical skills and experiences. The participants were patient and understanding during this first session of those times when we didn’t know an answer. They asked good questions and joined our sessions willingly.” by Mark Waite from Jenkins
  2. “I am really happy Layer5 participated in this program because we have had some good contributions from the mentees. It’s not just about the contributions so far but how they are willing to engage in the community. For me, it has been an amazing and learning experience” by Ruth Ikegah from Layer5 Community Handbook
  3. “The program is good for helping new contributors to get started with their first major contributions to the world of Open Source & will definitely give them a better opportunity in life. The mentees are making great contributions by solving some mighty issues” by Chinmay Mehta from Layer5 Main Website
  4. “ I have seen the mentees trying to do tasks assigned to them. Also voluntarily they take upon tasks in meetings. Apart from contributing, getting involved with the community is also important. All the contributors have shown such gestures. I do believe they can learn a lot from the diverse community and also teach the community. I would just want them to know that they are doing good and continue with the same zeal” by Jash Patel from Layer5 Main website
  5. “I really enjoyed being a mentor, not only was it a very rewarding experience to be able to give back but also a fantastic learning experience for both parties. I would absolutely do this again! The mentees did a great job and I really hope that they feel encouraged and empowered to develop themselves further and become world changers. I also hope that they felt welcome in the Ortelius group and that they join us in our Opensource adventure” by Sacha Wharton from DeployHub

…and many more (Read here)

Mentee Feedbacks:

  1. “It’s been a great experience for me so far and also at the same time very challenging. It was my first time setting up tools like Kubernetes and Docker, getting to read more things about them and also working on commands that manage a whole project. Though, I had some blockers as regards setting up and development but the mentors have been really helpful, friendly and patient. I feel like a superstar right now getting to learn these things within 2–3 weeks.Thank you for the wonderful opportunity SCA.” by Naimat Oyewale
  2. “My experience has been great. I contribute to technical writing and documentation for the layer5 community. I interact with my mentors on progress and discuss better ways to get things done regarding layout and content etc. I really appreciate these opportunity to improve my skills through Open source.” by Goodnews Sandy
  3. “The journey has been awesome…getting to learn and practically doing after was such an experience.This was my first open source project and i can say i have enjoyed every part of it such that it has really encouraged me to even get into more sometime to come.I had the platform to interact too with developers from different countries and get to experience how they do their things. I can’t forget the great help that our mentors have accorded us throughout the period.The challenges that i faced personally,were mostly to do with time difference especially when we had meetings. But all in all, I appreciate the opportunity to be a contributor and thanks to everyone who was involved.” by Lucy Karimi
  4. “It has been a good experience so far. My first open source contribution, the mentors are very helpful and open to hear suggestions from us. I’ve had minimal issues so far working with projects and contributing to the code base. I have also used tools I haven’t used before while contributing (e.g. GatsbyJs) and it’s been amazing working with new stuff. I’m very grateful for this opportunity.” by Cynthia Akinade
  5. “My experience has been good so far; the mentors and fellow mentees are supportive. I’ve learnt how to set up and use Jenkins. Thank you for this opportunity She Code Africa” by Sharon Jebitok

…and many more (Read here)

After thorough evaluation, We announced successful winners of the 1st cohort on the 14th of May, 2021. You can find the details of mentees who participated in the 1st cohort of Contributhon here and the full announcement here.

Next steps:

  • In order not to ensure a lax in activities of mentees from this cohort, we plan to maintain an inviting community with learning resources, more opportunities for them to contribute to open source and to expand on their skills.
  • Applications for the next cohort of Contributhon would officially go out in February 2022 and would be announced on all our social platforms (LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, SCA website) with activities for cohort 2 kicking off in April 2022.
  • We plan to make it more engaging and resourceful for both mentors and mentees through the feedback we’ve gotten and lessons we’ve learnt from this cohort.
  • If you would love to sponsor our activities for subsequent cohorts, kindly send us an email at or visit
  • For more information on Contributhon, visit here .



We celebrate and empower women in Technology across Africa by telling their stories, empowering them through technical programs & activities while also helping them share their knowledge and ideas through articles.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store