One of Africa’s most influential female techie and entrepreneur Mariéme Jamme from Senegal has launched an ambitious program #iamtheCODE. This program is an African-led global movement aimed at mobilizing governments, businesses and investors to support young women through Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, Arts, and Design (STEAMD).
“My heart bleeds every time I read about the 65 million children worldwide who do not have access to education. It is not difficult to predict what the future holds for millions of young girls in Africa who never had the opportunity to go to school; just like me,” says Jamme.
According to UNESCO no less than 29 million illiterate girls live in Africa. 17 million are missing school and many will never set foot in a classroom. They often face early marriage, risk being trafficked, sold, kidnapped, or being sexually assaulted.
“Like those girls, I did not have the chance to attend school. But at 16, I had to teach myself how to read and write, and how to code, with Basic English skills. All over the world, we must do something urgently to empower girls that are facing similar circumstances, and #iamtheCODE will help change the fate of many girls and be authoritative movement in Africa that hold government accountable and support meaningful girls programs to deliver result and create real impact at grassroots level.”
#iamtheCODE will help tackle inequality through building their capacity, and enabling them to improve their employability opportunities and become self-reliant.
“Africa’s success is the cumulative success of these individuals. That’s why if we fail them we fail ourselves I view the #iamtheCODE movement as a direct action for the implementation of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to improve economic outcome for girls and a code that will help join the dots between businesses, governments and investors.”
#iamtheCODE is NOT a girls’ campaign, a short-term awareness program or initiative.
#iamtheCODE, through its partners, will provide a comprehensive program that integrates within the ecosystem of organization working to empower young girls in Africa. The movement aims to reach more than 150,000 girls by 2030, training hundreds of girls per year.
It will mobilize undergraduate students, and bring marginalized girls, young women graduates into existing code clubs where they can learn how to code and improve with the best coding courses. It will also offer them Digital leadership training and real time mentoring.
#iamtheCODE has the methodology and resources to create impact on vulnerable communities. The deliverables will be measured through numbers of young women empowered through STEAMD, stakeholders engaged and job opportunities created.
To achieve that, #iamtheCODE has solicited the support of a number of renowned advisors and supporters, including:
Zach Sims, founder of CodeAcacemy
Belinda Parmar, founder of The Empathy Business
Ravi Karkara, UN Women’s Senior Advisor
Julie Teigland, EY Deputy Managing Partner
Abdulsalam Haykal, CEO of Transtek Systems
Ashish Thakkar, founder of Mara Group
Yonatan Raz-Fridman, co-founder of Kano
Macky Sall, President of Senegal
Mary Thew Niane, Minister of Higher Education of Senegal
Cina Lawson, ICT Minister of Togo
Amadou Mahtar Ba, UN Secretary General’s High level Panel on Women’s Economic Empowerment
Tony O. Elumelu, founder of Heirs Holdings & The Tony Elumelu Foundation
Vikas Pota of Global Partnerships, Mara Foundation
Jean-Philippe, Courtois President Microsoft of International
Mariéme Jamme build on her experience at Jjiguene Tech Hub (First Women in Tech Network), which she founded in Senegal. Graduates of this hub became entrepreneurs or consultants for the private sector or the government, improved their employability opportunities and were able to gain computer science training. Some of them are advising African government and Businesses on STEAMD policies.
Teach Advocate, Jamme has personally mentored hundreds of young women technology leaders in the UK, Middle East and Africa, specifically in Senegal, DRC, Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya, Nigeria and Ghana.
“I’m totally determined to correct failures and position #iamtheCODE as the forefront movement to support governments, businesses, investors in STEAMD so we can end programs that promise meaningful actions with little results. It is our responsibility, morale imperative, obligation and commitment to give these girls the CODE to a better life. They in turn will inspire and empower others in Africa.”
The #iamtheCODE movement has been supported by:
The Empathy Business: Leading Advisor on STEAMD – will show and engage businesses, policymakers and investors that they are more profitable and more productive when they act ethically and empathically by supporting girls and young women in tech in Africa.
RLabs – Training Partner: Will ensure girls and young women are trained in their communities, empower through innovation and leadership.
Jjiguene Tech Hub – Outreach and Monitoring: Will ensure girls and young women are supported and mentored through their free online mentoring platform; a web-based platform and a mobile application that’s available on iOS and Android.
Technology Hubs and Digital Leaders: Will ensure implementation, monitoring and evaluation is carried out effectively on the ground with local tech mentors using their wide network of already established tech hubs and mentorship programs.
Codecademy – The interactive coding program: Will offer badges and full profiles to girls and young women and the know how in online learning.
iZ HERO Lab – Leading digital citizenship education partner: Will empower girls and young women with the core values and life skills in the digital era and individual assessment of digital intelligence quotient (DQ) will be carried out through an online platform.
Accur8Africa and Lead the Impact: Data Monitoring, Evaluation: Both organizations will offer Data Monitoring and Evaluation expertise to government, businesses and investors through Data Collection, visualization on girls’ education.