Building peace in the minds of men and women

Ethiopian girls gain skills on Coding for the Future

26 March 2019

On the occasion of the International Women’s Day, 8 March 2019, 24 girls from Addis Ababa presented ten business ideas, which were innovations that can work on mobile phones and on the web. The girls invented their applications during the recently organised Code for the Future pitching event, organized by UNESCO in partnership with ICEADDIS and within the Framework of UNESCO’s YouthMobile Initiative.

On the opening of the pitching event, UNESCO Liaison Office Director Ms Ana Elisa Santana Afonso through her representative Ms Lydia Gachungi noted that mobile technology is the future of African Youth.  “Mobile applications have become a medium for youth empowerment, activism and an engine for change and UNESCO is convinced that working with the youth to develop skills in developing mobile apps, can play a big role as an interactive communication platform for the various sectors in this country," said Gachungi.

Participating girls appreciated the opportunity given to them and the experiences and lessons they acquired by being involved in the programme. “I have seen many creative women in this event which is really motivating and I really like the whole process from the beginning to the end!“ exclaimed Hilina Ayalew, a participant in this event.  

One of the pitching trainees from Addis Ababa, Bethlehm Seifu stressed, “This opportunity provided us with new experience throughout the competition and I think it would be good if you can reach more girls in other cities”. Eden Degfa also indicated that the pitching event was insightful and interactive. “There were some amazing ideas and the questions from the judges concerning the business side which enabled me to really see how to get into the market and do research, when starting a business,” emphasised Degfa.

While the Initial plan of Code for the Future was to train 60 girls, the number increased to 75 due to high interest in the program. The girls received a two days intensive hackathon by experienced programmers, with entrepreneurship mentoring and support by senior developers to coach them in developing practical applications.

A jury constituting of experts in business, ICT and innovation selected three finalists as winners who will receive further support by ICEADDIS and UNESCO to help them translate their ideas and applications into businesses. UNESCO promised to provide them different international exposures including participation in the WSIS 2019 hackathon in Geneva, the Africa Code Week 2019 in a boot camp in Côte d’Ivoire with the #eSkills4Girls networks or to the UNESCO Netexplo Forum 2019 in Paris. Moreover, all the 24 pitching participants will be invited to attend the Google Hackathon on the side of the World Press Freedom Day global celebration in May 2019 in Addis Ababa.

Background

The Code for the Future project is an initiative of UNESCO within the framework of the YouthMobile initiative and was implemented in collaboration with ICEADDIS Business Consultancy PLC, a tech hub in Addis Ababa. The project trained young girls on coding and business, targeting those who have basic programming knowledge to equip them with industry level skills and create the opportunity to open a start-up business or get employment in the tech industry, for solving local problems and contribute to sustainable development.

For more on the Code for the Future project click here.