The CodeBus Africa initiative, which sees African and Finnish programmers and tech experts working together to run coding workshops for young people throughout Africa, is aimed at inspiring a new generation of coders who will create innovative tech on the continent.
The CodeBus Africa project is essentially a 100-day tour through 10 countries on the African continent, with Finnish and African innovators collaborating as part of Finland’s official 100th-anniversary celebrations.
The initiative officially began in February, and this week it reached South Africa after a few days spent in Namibia, with the other countries enjoying creative coding workshops including Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia, according to ITWeb.
Primarily focused on the youth in these countries, CodeBus Africa aims to inspire girls to consider a career in the tech sector. Women remain outnumbered by men in tech, and these kinds of programs are designed to bridge the gender gap that exists.
CodeBus Africa upskilling at grassroots level
The continent-wide tour is sponsored by Finnish mobile company Nokia, and at each stage of the tour, CodeBus Africa works in partnership with local schools and companies, as well as official Finnish government representation, in order to run the computer programming classes.
In South Africa, for example, the classes have been organized by Finland’s Aalto University and local tech startup accelerator mLab, along with the support of the Embassy of Finland in Pretoria.
“I am pleased that we are able to bring CodeBus to SA as part of our anniversary celebrations,” explained Kari Alanko, ambassador of Finland in South Africa, according to ITNewsAfrica.
“The theme of Finland 100 is ‘together’, and I am confident the CodeBus reflects our commitment to work together with SA to tackle challenges such as youth unemployment,” he added.
“We hope the workshops will help to promote inclusive innovation and inspire more girls and boys in SA to take an interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, even as possible career choices.”
The coding instructors come from Aalto University and the local partners in Africa, allowing the fortune students, who are most often based in townships, to receive coding training from a diverse set of teachers.
Adlete, a 16-year-old South African who benefitted from the Pretoria leg of CodeBus Africa this week, was certainly inspired by the potential that an understanding of coding carries with it.
“It is incredible to think what you can create when you really know how to code. It opens your eyes to possibilities that maybe you didn’t really think of before. It makes you think in a new way,” she told AFKInsider.
“It makes me wonder what else I would be able to make, myself.”
The South African leg of the CodeBus Africa tour sees workshops in Johannesburg, Pretoria, Kimberley, and Cape Town, with over 300 young South Africans learning to code during the tour.
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