Addis Ababa — Approximately 2000 African Girls are participating in a continental coding bootcamp aimed at promoting the importance of ICTs as a tool for the empowerment of women.
Organised in the form of a hybrid (online and in-person) the programme includes how to code using the Scratch program, discussions on gender equality, human rights, SDGs and techniques in confidence building and public speaking. Group work includes Robotics and Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence, Design Thinking, Gaming, Fashion, Animation and a competition which will select the best apps, innovation, accessibility, commercial potential and overall impact for Africans.
The training has attracted Girls from ITU’s African Girls Can Code Initiative, UN Women, AUC women, and young girls between 13-20 years old across Africa, including those in universities that have shown an interest in ICTs and innovation hubs.
In an exchange with the group of coders on Wednesday, the Director of the Technology, Climate Change and Natural Resources Management Division, Mr. Jean-Paul Adam and the Director of UNESCO’s International Institute for Capacity Building in Africa (IICBA) Ms. Yokozeki Yumiko discussed the work of the UN family in responding to the challenges impacting on young girls during COVID, such as gender-based violence, education and access to technologies.
“Under COVID, we have seen a rise in gender-based violence and this is an issue of huge concern. As the UN family we are involved in advocating against gender-based violence during the 16 days of action, which kicked off last week,” he said.
“There are no simple solutions, but empowerment of households is important, and we hope that learning and economic opportunities as well as jobs, can help to shape the narrative and also lead to solutions to address the wider issues in society,” he added.
He lauded them for the level of discussions and appreciation of the skills they are learning for future openings and opportunities stressing that coding as a useful entry point in engineering and other aspects of STEM.
For her part, Ms. Yokozeki encouraged the young girls continue building their capacities and increase the numbers of skilled coders on the Continent. She also stressed the use of technologies as tools for peace and the need to connect humanity to create technologies for peace, not for war, which she stressed was
Earlier in the week, Mr. Adam had stressed that it is “unacceptable that only 22.6% of African women had access to the internet, compared to 33.8% of men in 2019, stressing the obligation to bridge the gender digital gap by promoting women and girls’ access to digital channels and increasing the number of girls who participate in the fourth industrial revolution in support of Africa’s growth efforts.”
The Continental boot camp runs from 30 November to 11 December 2020 and is jointly organized by the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) under the auspices of the United Nations 75th anniversary celebrations and the Decade of Action for achieving the SDGs.