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Kenya's Code Academy using IT to salvage slum girls

Kenya's Code Academy using IT to salvage slum girls

Kenya

Monitors and keyboards have replaced pencils and notebooks at the Kibera school for girls.

The idea is to prepare girls to find a job in science or Information Technology.

‘‘We are doing a lot of coding here with the girls, so that at the end of the day, they will be leaving here with a little bit of what is coding, how does a computer work, just the nitty gritty of computers,” says Johnson Abuto, a teacher.

We do not want them hanging around the streets of Kibera otherwise they would engage in unacceptable acts, or they could be abused.

The NGO, Code Academy provides each pupil a computer kit, these tools have been specifically designed for users from disadvantaged background who will ordinarily not have access to technology.

Valerie, a beneficiary of the program says: “I think it is important to be learn about computers, because maybe if you grow up you can be a person who shall use computers and you don’t know how to use the computer and it will bring a big problem to you.”

Code Academy aims to get girls off the streets of Kibera. In spite of the numerous jobs in the tech sector in Africa, girls lack access and education to take advantage of the opportunities to excel.

The lessons also work to keep young girls from poverty plaguing the streets of the slum. With the computer skills they pick up, the girls hope to leave the largest slum in Africa, and find a job.

Debborah Odenyi is the director of the school. “We do not want them hanging around the streets of Kibera otherwise they would engage in unacceptable acts, or they could be abused, even child labour or any abuse you could think of… once they are here, enrolled in the program, we keep them, and offer them a safe learning environment.’‘

Students attend classes once a week for six months. The program covers nearly 700 girls from Kenya, Uganda and Senegal. Having one of the students head an African technology hub, is the dream of Code Academy.

AFP