Information and Communications Technology (ICT) is a massive agent of change for the economy and yet less than 1% of Rwanda’s workforce consists of trained IT professionals. Women make-up 53% of the country’s working class, but only 20% of its IT posts. IS was designed in response to the growing opportunities in the country’s ICT sector.
Students like Marie Aimee learn essential analytical and design skills and master the use of software systems to solve business problems with an entrepreneurial approach. Last summer, Marie Aimee was selected to be a mentor for 60 high school students from across the country who attended Camp TechKobwa.
At the week-long camp for girls interested in ICT, students at Camp TechKobwa (from umukobwa meaning girl in Kinyarwanda) learned basic computer skills, photography, digital media, programming, and research methods. The camp was sponsored by American Peace Corps, Michigan State University, and IBM with the support and technical expertise of local partners ELE Rwanda, Girls in ICT, and K-Lab. All of the girls who attended were empowered them to start computer and media clubs with their information and communication technology teachers upon returning to their schools
Marie Aimee was one of four mentors and 12 teachers that helped to facilitate learning during the camp. They met a week before the 60 students arrived for the “Training of the Trainers”.
Here’s more from Marie on the experience:
TechKobwa teaches young girls practical skills to solve the different problems that they experience in our country and in the world.
We had a great deal to cover during our first week at camp. We learned a lot about how computers work, about programming languages like C++, Python and Scratch, and about the physical and network maintenance of computers. One of my highlights of the camp was exploring the world of robotics. By building a robot, we practiced many important skills such as communication, leadership, teamwork, problem solving, and critical thinking. All of these skills are important in the working world so we enjoyed getting practical experience.
Another practical thing we learned was how to use Internet and the importance of being careful online. It was also a treat to explore the emerging technology of 3D modeling. The training was not just about technical skills, as we also had workshops on life skills such as confidence, written communication, public speaking, and goal setting.
Once the younger students arrived, it took us some time to get used to mentoring after our week of training, but we eventually got the hang of it. We really enjoyed teaching and it helped us to understand what we learned even more! Time was not just spent in the classroom, we were grouped together in teams and had fun competitions. My team even won the “spirit stick” on one of the camp days because we had the most energy!
“We are ready to make our contribution by sharing the knowledge we learned with others, and together we will positively change our world”
We really thank those who made it possible for Camp TechKobwa to take place because it helped us to discover the world of technology. We are ready to make our contribution by sharing the knowledge we learned with others, and together we will positively change our world.
Camps like TechKobwa are fantastic for providing practical experiences outside of the classroom. It is such an encouragement to see more programs devoted to increasing the presence of women and girls in technology. We love how Marie Aimee has taken to sharing her newfound skills with others and are excited to see where this leads her.