Afro Fem Coders and Mastercard Foundation Announce Partnership to Upskill African Women to Work in the Technology Sector

Sheila Kakwezi and Grace Namatende, two of the brilliant females in the Afro Fem Coders team during the introduction at the start of the hackathon
11 October 2021
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Mastercard Foundation (Africa)

Kampala, Uganda — Today, Afro Fem Coders announced a partnership with the Mastercard Foundation, to inspire and empower African women with technology skills amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Afro Fem Coders, a program being implemented in Uganda, aims to create a platform for African women to learn computer programming in a safe and encouraging environment.

To kick-start the partnership, Afro Fem Coders and the Mastercard Foundation will host a hackathon, a software design and development skills workshop, on 16th October 2021 at 8:00AM (East African Time). Participants will gain experience pitching their innovative solutions, website development, coding, and programming skills. The hackathon will also offer African women an opportunity to enroll in the third cohort of the Afro Fem Coders programming course which starts on 31st October 2021.

Announcing the hackathon today, Ms. Gloria Tumushabe, the Founder of Afro Fem Coders, said, “given the low number of African women in technology, this is an opportunity to challenge the status quo and provide women, young and old, with the ability to equip themselves with skills that will put them on the path to financial freedom.”

The hackathon will offer interested students with valuable insight into the learning process, provide direction and an understanding into what coding and programming is about, and how they can use the skills to create work opportunities for themselves.

“It is important to acquire these skills, especially in this current technology driven world. More women are needed in the technology sector and opportunities are already available and will continue to be created in this sector,” Tumushabe explained.

Samuel Yalew Adela, Country Head Uganda at the Mastercard Foundation commented, “We are excited to partner with Afro Fem Coders to ensure African women have the opportunity to learn new life and business skills that will make them more resilient and enable them to pursue their professional and entrepreneurial aspirations.”

“The Mastercard Foundation remains committed to creating a world where young people are included, are thriving, and their leadership and contributions matter. A future where they are driving transformative change and achieving their full potential,” Adela added.

Afro Fem Coder’s vision is to increase the number of female programmers in Sub-Saharan Africa by over 2 million within the next decade, and ensuring that Uganda has more than 100,000 female programmers either starting their own technology ventures or being employed in top technology positions. Afro Fem Coders hopes to see the percentage of women who are exposed to programming at a young age increase by 95%.

The program has on boarded experienced tutors that will provide participants with skills in their desired area of interest, ranging from website development to block based programming.

During the first COVID-19 Uganda lockdown in March 2020, Tumushabe saw an opportunity to teach coding to young women who were forced to stay home due to the global pandemic. She leveraged the power of her network, knowledge, and the internet to start teaching girls in Uganda and the rest of Africa how to code and create computer software, apps, and websites.

Grace Namatende, a tutor with Afro Fem Coders, taking participants through a session during the 1st hackathon.

According to UNESCO, women in the tech industry constitute only 28% of professionals in the sector worldwide, and only 30% in Sub-Saharan Africa. About 20% of software engineers in Silicon Valley are women while Africa has only 2% female software engineers.[1] Tumushabe was able to identify this gap with the exposure she had in programming, and was inspired to start teaching other women.

“These statistics shed light on the significant gap between women and men in exploring careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, also known as STEM. It is my wish that every woman out there can use this chance to join a cohort of other young women to not only learn something new but also create valuable networks,” said Tumushabe, who is also a software engineer and a former Masters of Computer Science Student at the University of California, Berkeley in the United States of America.

To participate in the upcoming hackathon and programme, African women can sign up using the following link: https://forms.gle/b6pFhs4qRzGv52pC9 

For more information, please contact

Martha Patience Aheebwa
Public Relations Executive
Brainchild BCW
Email: m.aheebwa@brainchildbcw.com
Mobile: 0707 800 021

Eleni Constantine White
Strategy Lead, Programme Communications
Mastercard Foundation
hwhite@mastercardfdn.org

About Afro Fem Coders

Afro Fem Coders is a program that was founded in March 2020 to help Ugandan women learn coding during the pandemic and thereafter. Today, the program has students across Sub-Saharan Africa with the majority in Uganda. Due to the pandemic, all learning has been virtual. The programme was founded by Gloria Tumushabe, a Ugandan student during her Masters of Computer Science program at the University of California, Berkley in the United States of America. Afro Fem Coders has so far benefited over 100 students in Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Botswana and Zambia.

About the Mastercard Foundation

The Mastercard Foundation works with visionary organisations to enable young people in Africa and in Indigenous communities in Canada to access dignified and fulfilling work. It is one of the largest, private foundations in the world with a mission to advance learning and promote financial inclusion to create an inclusive and equitable world. The Foundation was created by Mastercard in 2006 as an independent organisation with its Board of Directors and management.

For more information on the Foundation, please visit: www.mastercardfdn.org


[1] (https://en.unesco.org/sites/default/files/usr15_focus_sub-saharan_africa.pdf)

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