Youth from 22 African countries are waiting with bated breath as the final round of judging in the inaugural AfriCAN Code Challenge takes place.
According to Africa Code Week Global Coordinator, Olajide Ademola Ajayi, the engagement by youth has been inspiring throughout the challenge.
“Despite the pandemic disrupting schooling for hundreds of millions of kids across Africa, the continent’s youth have stepped up to share their vision for the future of education. While there can ultimately be only one winner, the quality of entries at the inaugural AfriCAN Code Challenge inspire hope and optimism about Africa’s future, one shaped by the largest youth population in the world.”
Launched by SAP Africa Code Week for the first time this year, the AfriCAN Code Challenge is a pan-African coding competition where youth aged 8 to 16 were tasked with coding a game using the Scratch programming language to answer the question: “How will your tech change the future of education?”
Youth were able to enter alone or in teams of up to five people, tapping into a wide range of essential skills from problem-solving and coding all the way to teamwork and communications.
Each entry had to include a two-minute YouTube video showing how the game works and why it should win.
In total, 40 countries participated, with over 100 project videos submitted. The top three entries from 36 countries made it into the continental final, with 22 countries making it to the final judging stage. The winner will be announced in January 2021.
According to the Director of EMEA Corporate Social Responsibility and Co-founder of Africa Code Week at SAP, Claire Gillissen-Duval, “African youth are highly creative and community-oriented, and have a key role to play in building a safer and better future for the continent. By encouraging learners to innovate at an early age, we hope to inspire them to become change-makers and help find solutions to challenges in their communities, nations and beyond.”
The 22 countries that made it through to the final round are Algeria, Botswana, Cabo Verde, Cameroon, Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Malawi, Mauritius, Morocco, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sao Tome & Principe, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Tunisia and Zimbabwe.
Since 2015, SAP Africa Code Week (ACW) has been creating free opportunities for young Africans to learn coding skills and for teachers to be trained on digital learning curricula.
Strong partnerships with the public, private and civil society sectors across the continent are driving sustainable impact by building teaching capacity and supporting the adoption of coding into national curricula in support of UN Sustainable Development Goals 4, 5 and 17.
In 2019 alone, the initiative saw 3.85M children participating in coding workshops and 39,000 teachers mobilized across 37 countries.
In 2020, ACW increased the program’s reach to the entire continent to deepen impact and ensure no child was left behind.
The online rollout took center stage across Africa with the launch of a smartphone App to facilitate accessible learning, the introduction of the AfriCAN Code Challenge – a competition themed, ‘How will your tech change the future of education’ engaging youth from 40 African countries, Virtual Train-the-Trainer (TTT) sessions for teachers and a second Women Empowerment Workshop engaging 70 teachers in a 8-week long online program.