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First young women-only coding program in Uganda

East African based charity, Educating the Children (ETC) has launched Code Queen, the first young women-only coding program in Uganda, to promote gender equality and close the gender gap in the tech industry.

The program equips young women with the ability to build, create and develop their own ideas and solutions to problems in their communities.

Code Queen has enrolled over 300 women from disadvantaged backgrounds in Uganda, teaching both hard coding skills and soft life skills to prepare them for employment.

ETC believes that investing in girls and women is key to promoting social and economic progress. Despite being the fastest developing continent on the planet, many girls and young women in Africa continue to face significant barriers to education and economic empowerment. Women and girls continue to carry the majority of domestic burdens and have less of an influence on government policy.

According to the UN, almost half of the female youth population in sub-Saharan Africa has limited or no access to education. To combat this, ETC have built the first girls secondary school in the Masai Mara.

Sekenani Girls High School provides education to girls who would not otherwise have access to it. It has grown from 5 girls under a tree to over 800 girls. 

Sonal Kadchha, the founder of ETC, is a British-born woman with Kenyan-Indian roots, who is passionate about equality issues. Sonal set up ETC in 2008 after visiting the Masai Mara and seeing the lack of resources in the area.

Sonal said:

“Building “girls only” schools and running “women only” programmes helps to cultivate the initial confidence required to “go out into the world”. However, working on inside – on the mindset – is also important. I would like to see women let go of perfection, celebrate small daily wins, and embrace their individuality. I believe that equality isn’t about ‘being the same’ but about ‘being ourselves’, being accepted in our differences; and this acceptance has to start inside us.”

Photo: Educating the Children