Celebrating its tenth anniversary in 2020, Educating the Children (ETC) is a UK-registered charity whose mission is to empower young women in East Africa by providing education and training which leads to formal employment. The charity was traditionally involved in “bricks & mortar” investments where it built the first secondary school in the Masai Mara in Kenya. However, as the future of education and work evolves, so has ETC’s strategy – through a newly introduced innovative programme called “Code Queen” which it piloted in July 2019. Code Queen allows young girls in East Africa learn code and connects successful graduates to an ecosystem of partners that includes businesses, head-hunters, universities and youth-based organisations. As schools have been forced shut, Code Queen has still allowed students to continue to help themselves through online learning. Students even recently showcased their talents through completing a hackathon which solved a real-life business challenge for Safe Boda, known as the “Uber of Uganda”.
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.
Code Queen is an opportunity for the unemployed in Africa to empower themselves by taking part in the growing global digital economy, regardless of location. With the remote working trend continuing – the demand for global tech talent is set to rise. Software engineering is now one of the world’s most in-demand professions and there remains an acute shortage of ICT professionals, especially women.
Given the growing demand and success of this programme, only accelerated by COVID-19, ETC is looking to scale in order to bring this opportunity to even more young women.
Donate What You Can to help East African Women Help Themselves
PHYLLIS was part of the first cohort of Code Queen in Uganda and is currently 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 the training with ETC, they made her an offer. If it were not for the training she most likely would have ended up working in a commission-based sales jobs in Kampala trying to make ends meet, typically earning less than $10 a day like many young graduates. Instead, she will come back to Uganda with a wealth of international experience and the opportunity to move into higher management positions locally.
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.
For more information, please contact Lisa@quitegreat.co.uk or call 01223 844 440