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“Code Queen” New Tech Initiative Set to Help Young East African Women Build Digital Careers

Educating the Children

Phyllis, an Educating the Children Success Story

Educating the Children Founder, Sonal Kadchha

CAMBRIDGE, CAMBRIDGESHIRE, UNITED KINGDOM, June 24, 2020 / -- You have got to start somewhere, so where better to develop the roots of an outstanding organisation than under a tree! It was from this source that the pioneering Sekenani Girls High School first emerged in the Masai Mara under the auspices of Educating The Children (ETC) 10 years ago. Since then it has grown into an award winning institution housing 400 girls. As well as being a place study, it acts as safe haven from Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), child marriage and hard labour. Many graduates have scooped prizes and moved onto further education and jobs that would have been quite beyond their reach otherwise.

ETC was the brainchild of Sonal Kadchha and she has repeated the formula behind Sekenani through the creation of Code Queen, which has evolved with a twin goal. It sought to capitalise on the movement surrounding the empowerment of young women in East Africa with the recognition that technological innovation and absorption in the region would underpin much of its future success. Code Queen is at the forefront of this trend and it is harnessing this latent talent. It collaborates with local industry to train young women in coding and workplace skills and connects successful graduates to an ecosystem of partners that includes businesses, head-hunters, universities and youth-based organisations.

Although Africa has only around 1% of the total reported deaths and 3% of cases, it will have 50% of the global population being pushed aggressively below the poverty line as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) predicts 29 million Africans could be pushed into extreme poverty. Given that so far the crisis in Africa is more economic than it is health, such programmes have become even more necessary. With UN projections showing Africa as having the world’s largest potential workforce, larger than both India and China, education and training are critical to ensuring the future of not just the continent, but the interconnected world we live in.

Software engineering is now one of the world’s most in-demand professions and there remains an acute shortage of ICT professionals, especially women. With the digital & remote working trend continuing post COVID-19 – the demand for global tech talent is on the rise. There is no question that the African continent is rippling with opportunity. Take a youthful and burgeoning population, combine it with this global opportunity, add a dash of improvisation and hard work and just taste its potential. Code Queen trains and guides a new generation of budding female developers, coders, software engineers et al but it needs your input too.

The challenge is to accelerate the process and, consequently, we are inviting 500 sponsors, whether corporate or private, to support each individual Code Queen for £500 per annum. In 2010, ETC started with five girls under a tree. Let 2021 begin with 500 girls in front of a screen and see where it takes them!

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Case Study
Phyllis was part of the first cohort of Code Queen in Uganda and is now working on a 2-year contract as an IT consultant for Tata in New Delhi. She had applied for the position previously but was rejected, however following ETC’s support she was able to make it.

“Code Queen was powerful – the mind-set training helped me focus on what I wanted in life. The guest speakers from industry were inspiring and reinforced my decision to pursue software engineering. The CV & interview workshops allowed me to market myself in the best possible way for this job. The coding skills were practical, relevant and helped me increase my confidence technically. ETC also provided me with a scholarship to advance my skills even further. Most graduates end up in a commission-based sales jobs in Kampala trying to make ends meet, typically earning less than $10 a day. But I’m so grateful for this opportunity – I couldn’t have done it without ETC and I’m excited to see where my career now takes me.”

Sonal Kadchha is Founder of ETC ( Sonal set up ETC 10 years ago in parallel to her corporate career in the city in London. She left 2 years ago to focus on ETC’s future strategy from which Code Queen was developed.

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Quite Great PR
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Charity helping girls and women in East Africa EDUCATING THE CHILDREN appeals for help please DONATE