This is a guest post by Andela Developer, Gertrude Nyenyeshi.
“Teaching in the Internet age means we must teach tomorrow’s skills today.” – Jennifer Fleming
TeenCode Africa is an initiative started by Andela developers that introduces programming techniques to African teenagers. This is in a bid to accelerate the development of technology in Africa as part of Andela’s mission to empower the next generation of global tech leaders. The initiative aims to create opportunities for African teenagers to pick up programming at an early stage. Knowing brilliance is evenly distributed, this would help shape the beginnings of technological leaders in Africa and the rest of the world.
On the 11th of March, I set out with other Andela developers to Mary Leakey Girls High School in Nairobi to teach a group of 30 students about programming. The 2 hour hands-on session, which delved into the basic principles of programming, left the students hungry for more and looking forward to the next session where they could learn how to build their own applications. This was the initial TeenCode Africa session that would pave way for many more and would be the beginning of a journey to impact African teenagers in Kenya and Nigeria.
A group of Andela developers at a #Teencode event discussing programming and their experience with Andela.
The initiative is run by Andela developers who take time out of their busy schedules to reach out to potential partners and schools, build the curriculum, have sessions in different schools over the weekends, engineer different applications to be used and take part in PR activities. The program runs for 3 months in each school and involves two months of training and a month to use the knowledge learned to build projects. It is currently in the first month in Kenya and about to hit execution phase in Nigeria.
Over the past four weeks I have had an amazing time interacting with the students I am teaching. I am currently handling 6 girls at Mary Leakey and they are all eager to learn and are curious what they can do with technology. During the first session we had together I asked them what they would like to build. The responses ranged from building bots to automate some monotonous tasks to building applications that will enable their business ideas. I was excited and inspired at the same time. Inspired that they are already thinking of how to leverage technology and excited that through TeenCode Africa, we are equipping them with those skills at an early age.
The sessions are also a chance for the facilitators to mentor their juniors and teach what they know. And through teaching, they continue to learn too.
TeenCode Africa is an initiative that is currently close to heart because it is an opportunity I wish I had when I was younger. I am so excited to see the impact this initiative will make in the coming months and years.