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Africa Code Week: The Power of Public/Private Partnerships

November 24, 2016 by Patricia Crazzolara 21

Africa’s biggest digital literacy initiative surpasses expectations by a factor of three thanks to the support of government officials such as Ilham Laaziz in Morocco.

“Empower a teacher, empower the whole classroom.” For Ilham Laaziz, this is more than an interesting truth to behold, but the cornerstone of her very engagement. Director of the GENIE program at the Moroccan Ministry of Education and Vocational Training, she considers two things as facts: Information and communications technology (ICT) is the “language” of the 21st century and there is no better place than school for children to learn and speak it fluently.

When Laaziz first heard about Africa Code Week, she instinctively knew she was holding a powerful key to accelerate teachers’ and students’ empowerment into the digital century. Spearheaded by SAP in 2015 as part of its social investments to drive sustainable growth in Africa, Africa Code Week (ACW) is a continent-wide initiative to spark the interest of African youth aged 8 to 24 in software coding. In preparation for this second edition, SAP has deployed its own IT-skilled volunteers to train 5,607 teachers, parents and local volunteers throughout the year, all over Africa. The resulting ratio of 76 students engaged per teacher trained speaks volumes on Africa Code Week’s growing resonance among teachers and students alike.

Frontrunner Morocco

In Morocco, the ratio is considerably higher. Picture this: The initial cohort of more than 1,200 Master IT Teachers who were trained by SAP volunteers in 2015 and 2016 ended up introducing coding to over 200,000 Moroccan youth. How did that happen? Under the governance of Laaziz’s team, the initial training provided by SAP skilled volunteers has been scaled to hundreds of IT and science teachers week after week, school after school. With the highest engagement ratio of 475 youth engaged per 100,000 in population, Morocco is leading the ACW results for the second year in a row.

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Click here to see the infographic.

“Morocco is a perfect example of how governments can join forces with private sector partners like SAP to scale coding education country-wide for the long run,” Laaziz explains. “With Africa contributing more than half of global population growth by 2050, the continent will play a leading role in the future global economy, and Africa Code Week is setting both the stage and pace for digital empowerment at the very heart of the 21st century classroom,” she continues.

An Internationally Acclaimed Initiative

Africa Code Week received 2 international awards already:

Tackle issues in the digital age together

Claire Gillissen-Duval, Director of Corporate Social Responsibility at SAP EMEA and global lead of Africa Code Week, could not agree more: “Africa Code Week is a positive proof for the importance of public-private partnerships to tackle complex issues such as education in the digital age. When young Africans see that governments, nonprofits and the private sector are working closely together to deliver on joint education priorities, trust is seeded and they feel encouraged to start owning and living their dreams. Beyond coding as the 21st century language, we are imparting a culture of innovation and creativity among young Africans.”

Let Girls Learn

With average female participation reaching 48.6%, Africa Code Week makes huge strides towards empowering girls in the digital century and fostering gender equality in African ICT education.

With more than 10 governments on board and a fast-growing network of more than 100 partners including UNESCO’s YouthMobile initiative, Google, DreamOval Foundation, openSAP, ALink Telecom, Fondation Life Builders, Camara Education, kLab and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, Africa Code Week is taking a bold step forward towards the goal of empowering five Million young Africans with coding skills by 2025.

This slideshow highlights some impressions of Africa Code Week 2016 featuring the music of one of the trainers and musician OhGooch.

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