Coders Hive: A Tech Camp for African Girls

by on Tuesday, January 13th, 2015, filed under Ideas

About fifty girls between the ages of 7 and 18 converged from various parts of Accra to the Methodist University Collage Campus to immerse themselves in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. They were participants of Coders Hive, the first girls’ code camp in Ghana spearheaded by STEMBees.

The 5-day residential camp treated the young ladies to various challenging and inspiring courses in computer programming and engineering to expose them to the fascinating world of Science and Technology. The Camp aimed to dispel the myths in the girls’ minds that is too difficult for them. This notion has plagued the continent for several decades leaching away the priceless human resource particularly among women.

“We hope to dispel these myths and give these girls the opportunity to experience the fascinating world of science first-hand. Hopefully, they may be inspired to further explore science-related fields when they go return to their schools”, added Ms. Linda Ansong, one of the directors of STEMBees. Ms. Ansong is an alumni of Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology where she obtained her B.S. degree in Actuarial Science, before continuing to the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST) and co-founding Vestracker, a software startup in the MEST Incubator.

The girls spent the first day immersed in coding challenges. They were introduced to basic web development and every girl in the camp built her first webpage. After a much-needed rest in the afternoon the fun continued as the campers got elbow deep in all kinds of tech/engineering experiments such as playing with basic circuit boards and other experiments from the MakeyMakey, Lily Pads, and CanaKit Projects.

An empowerment night consisting of two sessions of personal branding and public grooming was scheduled for the girls on the first evening. A professional model visited the girls and touched on table manners among other essential social skills. There was also a session to help the girls identify their talents and take pride in their abilities.

“I have learned how to create a website and also how to carry myself in public. This little knowledge has changed the way I see myself and I feel more confident and positive about myself now. I hope to build more websites and make some money in the future” says, 14-year old Silvia Oppon from St. Mary’s RC Basic School, Korle-Gono. She hopes to be a medical doctor and an entrepreneur.

The Coders Hive Camp was made possible with the partnership of DevCongress, WeTech, Centerlink, Liberty Professionals, and Young Women Christian Association (YWCA).

This article first appeared on devcongress.com and was written by Elorm Godwin Adjaho, who served as a camp mentor and organizer.