Next week is International Girls in ICT Day, 22nd April to be more precise. Ahead of the day, local non-profit organisation GirlCode has announced its ambitious plan when it comes to getting more young women involved with coding and the ICT sector over the next decade.
To that end it has set itself the target of teaching 10 million girls over the next 10 years. In order to do so, the non-profit is leveraging partnerships with local technology companies such as fibre provider Vuma.
“The NPO aims to expose young women to the software industry, provide practical development experience and access to industry leaders, with plans to reach 10 million girls through its coding programmes in the next ten years,” GirlCode explained in a press release sent to Hypertext.
“Working at a tech company opened my eyes to the shortage of women in the ICT space. I realised that I had to do something about that. So, I decided to quit my job and focus my time and energy on creating an initiative to help bridge the gap that no one else was closing and create the next generation of female leaders in ICT,” notes Zandile Mkwanazi (pictured in header), CEO of GirlCode, regarding her journey.
The CEO points out that in its earlier days, which begun in 2014, GirlCode focusing heavily on hackathons, but they only helped limited number of young female learners, many of whom lacked access to the necessary hardware. Since then, Mkwanazi says GirlCode has since introduced more programmes like the GirlCoder Club and an Online Coding Bootcamp to expose more girls to the world of technology and coding.
“We’re excited to be working with GirlCode to empower even more young women and create a platform for them to explore the vast opportunities within the technology industry. The programme’s success is clear through the partnerships, volunteer drives and sponsorships that help GirlCode achieve its goal of reaching 10 million girls and achieving gender parity within the ICT sector,” adds Taylor Kwong, CSI manager at Vuma of the company’s involvement with this partnership.
Looking to some of its future initiatives, Mkwanazi has confirmed that the postponed 2021 annual GirlCode Hackathon is scheduled for March 2022 due to COVID-19, but the organisation still plans to open it up to 10 African countries to reach even more young girls in the coming years.