(AfDB) - One hundred and sixty young women have begun a month-long coding class on two Nigerian campuses under a new programme to give African youth digital skills for the work force. The Coding for Employment programme, organised by the African Development Bank and Microsoft Philanthropies, prioritises young women who typically have been side-lined in the technology ecosystem.
At a launch event held 25 March at Covenant University under the theme: “Think Equal, Build Smart, Innovate for Change, academics, women leaders in technology and tech start-up founders, highlighted the importance of a level playing ground for women.
“As in every sector, the participation of women in ICT matters to ensure inclusive development. We are committed to addressing the skills gap so that women can fully access opportunities in the digital era,” Vanessa Moungar, Bank Director for the Gender, Women, and Civil Society Department, tweeted on the day of the launch.
Other high-level participants at the event included the Vice Chancellor of Covenant University - Professor Aderemi Atayero; Partner Technology Lead, Microsoft, Olatomiwa Williams, Expansion Strategy Manager, Andela(Jackie Ugokwe and Cofounder/COO, Piggyvest, Odunayo Eweniyi.
The special all-female training kicked-off March 11th at Covenant University and Gombe State University, the two campuses selected for the programme in its initial pilot phase. The crash course will include topics such as digital literacy, introduction to word processing and spreadsheets. The training program will also include a Life Skills component where notable role models in the technology and digital skills space will share their stories with the cohort and act as mentors for the students throughout the program.
The classes will run in shift sessions to accommodate those who need flexible training times due to other commitments. The program is being piloted in 5 countries - Nigeria, Kenya, Rwanda, Cote d’Ivoire and Senegal.