Africa Code Week (ACW), an initiative of software application company, SAP, has aligned itself with private and public sector partners to deliver on its vision of a 21st century inclusive education by reaching Mozambique’s hearing-impaired community for the first time.
The new drive is expected to boost skills development in a way that will inevitably grow Africa’s tech industry, and in turn, help regional economies expand.
“Coding is a language that everyone can – and should – speak in order to be active participants in the global digital economy,” said Sonia Santos, local coordinator for Africa Code Week.
With more than 1.8 million young Africans already introduced to coding skills over the past three years, Africa Code Week has made a lasting contribution to the continent, enabling free access to thousands of digital skills development workshops while building teaching capacity in ICT education through the training of over 28,000 teachers and community members so far.
Africa Code Week’s coding workshops for hearing-impaired children in Mozambique are part of SAP’s broader commitment to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), specifically Goal 4, which aims to ensure quality and inclusive education for all. The programme also gives credence to SDG goal 17 through sustainable partnerships with its Africa -wide partnership network.
According to Santos, the response to their first foray into providing inclusive coding workshops for local deaf communities was overwhelmingly positive.
“Earlier in October, we held hugely successful Master Trainer sessions in Maputo where 24 teachers from several special needs local schools were trained in coding skills. These teachers then led the coding workshops with support from volunteers in Maputo, where a total of 105 hearing-impaired students participated over two days,” she elaborated.
Mozambique has an estimated 305,000 deaf people. However, due to a lack of adequate support structures and on-going stigma, many are unable to access formal education or work opportunities.
“Mozambique only has three schools dedicated to teaching deaf children, which leaves most of the community without exposure to digital skills development opportunities. As the Fourth Industrial Revolution gathers pace, those without such skills are at risk of being left behind. It is our goal to empower Africa’s youth with the skills they need to thrive in the global digital economy in an inclusive and sustainable manner,” Santos continued.
A private sector partnership with Mapal, a German industrial manufacturing firm, resulted in a sponsorship of the Train-the-Trainer session that was held at the Institute of Vocational Training in Vilankulo.
“With the generous support of our private sector partners, we trained 20 teachers who in turn inspired 200 youth as part of this year’s ACW,” Santos explained.
She added that government support for this year’s Africa Code Week activities has been hugely encouraging.
According to Sunil Geness, Project Lead for Africa Code Week at SAP Africa, the in-country support and participation of government and NGOs is one of the cornerstones of Africa Code Week’s sustainable impact across the continent.
“In addition to the support from key partners UNESCO YouthMobile, Google and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), Africa Code Week is actively driven by more than 15 African governments and in excess of 150 partner organisations across 36 countries. We believe this shared-value approach holds the key to achieving our vision of building community capacity in ICT education across the continent and equipping youth with the skills and abilities that will drive their – and Africa’s – success in the 21st century,” Geness said.
Spearheaded by SAP’s Corporate Social Responsibility programs in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) in 2015 as part of its social investments to drive sustainable growth in Africa, Africa Code Week is a digital skills development initiative that has benefitted 1.8 million young Africans across 35 countries so far.
Strong partnerships with the public, private and non-profit sectors are the driving force behind the initiative’s ambitious goals to build community capacity in ICT education across the entire continent.
The project is aimed at empowering more than 70,000 teachers and positively impacting the lives of 2 million young Africans by 2020.