Back in 2015 I wrote this post (below). Since then we’ve had a rollercoaster ending in the loss of our amazing Irene RIP, just over a year ago.
I live & work with tech and this is so important:
I had to work hard to get where I am but for those where education is still a luxury, the struggle is very much harder. I’m trying to re-establish code clubs in the County of Kiambu, where Irene lived. This will be a pilot, only made possible with the help of Wolfram Research and assisted by the Women in Machine Learning Group where I recently talked, in Nairobi.
Computers are now an integral part of everyday life around the globe, with mobile computing much more prolific and particularly profound in lower-income communities. Computational thinking is a skill that must be taught alongside reading and writing, if children (and poorly educated adults) are to be ready for the non-manual workplace and able to participate effectively in the digital world and digital growth of their country. The UK has now initiated a national curriculum for computing to equip primary school learners with foundational skills. The US has standardised too with www.iste.org and almost all Ivy League tertiary institutions have open-sourced courses to allow the global phenomena of easily-accessible internet-based learning.
What is needed now is local provision of access and infrastructure. Computational thinking and digital literacy should be taught to EVERYONE, whether via open-to-all classes at local schools or via the widespread availability of community ‘internet cafes’. The internet has made Knowledge a free commodity, access must now be provided to ensure an economically and physically healthy, productive population. To assist code club members in gaining initial paid work, Kenya already has many organisations such as ACWICT , Vusha and Tuko Works , plus the Samasource model is already operational in Kibera. It should be noted, however, that in the next few years, with emphasis on developments like the Konza Technocity, the digital revolution will ensure Kenya’s newly skilled computational thinkers will have no obstacles to finding digital work.
All parties involved stand to gain from global publicity in this initiative, a pilot for technological progress across the entire country, empowering members of the community recursively. If you can help please get in touch and we’ll update ASAP.