Aalto University’s CodeBus Africa empowers girls through tech
To celebrate Finland’s centenary, Finnish education system and know-how in tech, Aalto University’s CodeBus Africa travelled through ten African countries organising coding workshops for young people. The project’s core values were equality, democracy, and the centenary year’s theme together.
Aalto University’s CodeBus Africa project travelled through ten African countries in one hundred days between February and May this year. Locals and students from Aalto University arranged coding workshops for young people aged between 13 and 20 years. Especially girls were encouraged to explore technology’s possibilities for their future.
The CodeBus Africa project had three key goals: to support equal opportunities in technology, to build local capacity for youth tech education, and to boost cooperation between Finnish and African innovators.
“Technology is seen as a highly masculine field in Finland as well,” says Irena Bakić, Project Leader of CodeBus Africa. “We wanted to break the prevailing stereotypes by emphasising new role models for young people. We looked for female instructors specifically to achieve this goal. Of the 62 CodeBus instructors, 55 percent were women. We wouldn’t have achieved these goals without the will of the local partners to increase equality in tehcnology in their own country.”
Aalto University students trained workshop instructors in every tour country, so that the work can continue in the future, too. Local partners will develop the CodeBus workshop concept further and introduce more young people to the world of code.
“During the CodeBus tour we put a lot of effort on teaching local instructors. In each tour country the last workshops were taught by locals. A majority of the local instructors and partners have continued or are planning to continue the workshops in the future, too.”
CodeBus Africa reached some 1,800 young people in Africa thanks to 15 local technology and innovation hubs, universities and community-based organisations, as well as Aalto Global Impact, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland, Finnish startup company Mehackit, and Nokia.
Read more about CodeBus Africa here.