During this year’s World Orphans Day, The African Center for Women Information and Communication Technology (ACWICT) in partnership with The World Center for Orphans conducted a coding for employability session at the ABC Children’s Home in Mathare. Our objective for the day was to instill coding skills to the underprivileged children at the center so as to make them creative problem solvers and innovators as they grow up.

In giving the under privileged coding skills ACWICT is reinforcing significant computing skills, that would enable the participants in the training to develop an urge to pursue science courses and use multiple skills to undertake creative projects. In the coding classes the trainers leveraged the resources available to ensure all the children visiting the class enjoyed the coding session by playing the Kodu Gaming lab. At the end of each session, the children impressed the trainers because they understood the coding concept with minimal confusion.

The day was driven by the #NowarNoHunger and a total of 136 orphans aged 5-15 from the children’s home and neighboring homes underwent the coding training. In addition to the coding for employability training, the children also underwent mentorship training as a critical agent towards positive youth outcomes so as to build talents, model behavior and inspire the orphans into growing up as youthful leaders.

A total of 20 university students and social workers volunteered their services in managing the children and conducting mentorship and life skills training.

Time management was of essence, and the children made revolving meetings between the coding session, mentorship and playing games. We shared a meal after the training, networked and closed the day with a cake cutting session.

Journalists from Nation Media Group came and covered the event, and we also received publicity from Microsoft East Africa and Intel who retweeted and our tweets.

Challenge

The children were fully absorbed into the training, however due to time constrains a majority who wished to continue coding had to join other classes.

Recommendation

Come up with a coding initiative that targets the underprivileged children, so as to boost their interest in computer science as a subject and career.