computer laboratory in Ajegunle, Ajeromi-Ifelodun Local Government Area
of Lagos State, to learn coding, they were all very scared to touch the
per cent of them had never touched a computer before, let alone operated
it. It would be the very first time they would have access to one.
and Communications Technology expert, Mrs. Olusola Oladeji, although
computers are amazing, they cannot think for themselves, hence they
require people to give them instructions.
step-by-step instructions that get computers to do what you want them to
do. Coding makes it possible for us to create computer software, games,
applications and websites,” she said. “Also, coders, also known as
programmers, are people who write the programmes behind everything we
see and do on a computer.”
girls, dressed in pink tops emblazoned with the words, “This girl can
code,” told our correspondent that programming would be one of the most
delightful things that had happened to them since they were born.
in Ajegunle trained by Anuoluwapo Adelakun and Jerry Odili, who are both
2016 fellows of the United States Consulate General-sponsored
Carrington Youth Fellowship Initiative in Lagos.
was designed to enable 20 Nigerian youths to develop their leadership
skills and implement projects that have social impact.
team, said they both had passion for the education of the girl child,
hence when they were to choose which project to work on during their
fellowship year, it was not difficult for them to choose to train young
girls on ICT.
technologically-driven is undeniable and girls need to be trained as
they are often the neglected ones,” Odili, a graduate of Computer
Science from Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ogun State, said.
training in Ajegunle was because it would be more impactful to train
girls in remote communities who don’t have access to facilities that
girls in nicer neighbourhoods have.
produced notable footballers and musicians in the country, among whom
are a former striker for the Super Eagles and former coach of the same
team, Samson Siasia; Biodun Obende, who plays professionally in Finland;
a former striker for Watford, England, Odion Ighalo; a former Super
Eagles defender, Taribo West; and Emmanuel Amuneke, a former African
Footballer of the Year.
by the Apapa Wharf and Tincan, two of the country’s biggest sea ports,
has also produced famous artistes, including Chinagorom Onuoha
(popularly known as African China) and John Asiemo (popularly known as
girls who code, Ajegunle might be on the road to becoming a notable
breeding ground for technology talents like Joseph, who said she would
use her new skill to develop the community in the future.
is a widely used high-level programming language for general-purpose
programming, created in 1991 by a Dutch programmer, Guido van Rossum.
instruct the computer to perform a particular task and it will do it. I
learnt so many tips during the training. My parents have also encouraged
me to put in my best. I will become one of the best computer
programmers or analysts in the future.
solutions providers in the future. I believe the government needs to
spend more on us girls. I will not allow this environment to influence
me badly as I know that if I improve on my skill, I could be out of this
area and even take my parents out in the future.”
whose mother is a food vendor, said her plans was to improve on her
coding skill so she could lift her family out of poverty in the future.
despite the fact that I never knew how to operate a computer before.
It’s a wonderful skill and I will pass it on to my friends and
siblings,” she said.
remembered her late father and how her mother had been trying to make
ends meet for the family, she was encouraged to do more.
wasn’t easy to learn as I was not proficient at the computer before, but
I believe if you put your heart to learning something, you can learn.
That’s how I became one of the top 20 out of the 60 girls who were
and I’m grateful for it. Computer is going to be a central part of our
lives in the future, so I’m glad I took part in a training that would
enable me to be a part of the future.
I’ve vowed to make my mother proud because she has been trying for us
four children. My dad died when I was a year and six months old.”
kept failing the subject in school. I couldn’t even put it on and off. I
was scared each time I saw a computer, always thinking if I touched it,
it would spoil.
came, a friend of mine said I should participate in it and eventually I
did. I’m grateful I did as I found out that computer is very
interesting. Now, all my fears are gone. I can now code.
when it comes to answering questions about computer. I tried developing
some solutions during the training and I will keep on learning so as to
become a great developer. I’ve told my parents to buy me a computer and
they have promised to do so after my Basic Education Certificate
friends as we’ve been instructed by Aunty Anu and Uncle Jerry. I see
myself as a world-class coder. I’ve always dreamt of travelling to
places like Brazil, New York and others, so I will work hard to achieve
my dreams as a coder,” she said.
used to be shy before she learnt coding, but now she has overcome
timidity, thanks to her newly-acquired skill.
but once I got the coding skill, it’s like I’m feeling a special kind of
pride in me. It has boosted my self-esteem. I will train others too in
the future, probably they too would have their self-esteem boosted.”
were trained how to code in this community. I was not computer literate,
I had never operated a computer before, but the training made me become
who I am today — a coder. I intend to develop various ICT solutions in
the future to benefit humanity,” she said.
said although she never knew how to operate a computer before, she could
now use the Python language to perform many tasks on the computer.
the greatest female coders in Nigeria. I want government to bring more
computers to my school so we can all have access to computers,” she
blackboard, but I never had access to the real device. But now, I can
programme and I’m interested in developing solutions for some of the
world’s problems,” Opatola, whose father works at the Lagos State Waste
Management Agency, said.
of responsibilities and I don’t intend to disappoint myself, my family,
my community and Nigeria at large,” she said.
training the girls to code, they never knew it would not be that easy,
especially as most of the girls never knew how to operate computers
International Relations at Lead City University, Ibadan, Oyo State —
said before the project commenced, she and Jerry took a tour of schools
in the community to select the girls, only to discover that most
schools’ computer laboratories were not equipped.
were under lock and key; there was one we even entered and we saw a
mortar and a pestle. I found out that the schools and the society as a
whole only encourage our girls to be wife materials, but not innovators.
project because we wanted to catch young girls young, especially those
in the junior secondary classes. We wanted to change the trend and get
more girls to become computer scientists and engineers, bringing them
into a male-dominated industry and showing them that they thrive.”
during the training were that some parents didn’t want their girl
children to be involved, electricity problem and lack of computer
laboratories in the community.
centre in the whole of Ajegunle community, so getting a place where the
girls could be trained was very hard. We worked it out, anyway, and we
were able to use that only computer centre to train the girls.
responsive even though they didn’t have a background knowledge of how
the computer works. Right now, we are proud to say each of the girls
taught is now proficient at computers; they can operate computers and
they can code. Some of them are now even intermediate coders using the
training, seeing that there are no enough computer laboratories in their
schools and in the community, the duo said they had started a social
enterprise called TechMe.
girls can continue to learn coding. They have full access to the
facility and the resources there. By the time they start practising,
they will become experts at coding,” Odili said.
performed well in the training had been given a Raspberry Pi [a tiny
and affordable computer that can be used to learn programming through
fun, practical projects], courtesy of Python Nigeria, a technology firm.
to train more girls in remote communities in the country and even at
Internally Displaced Persons camps in the North-East, where terrorism
has led to the death of over 70,000 persons and displacement of two
million people, including girl children.
encourage their girls to venture into the science, technology,
engineering and mathematics subjects. Some parents are the ones holding
their girls back. Some still have the notion that girls should only be
trained how to cook well for their husbands, how to manage the home
finances and so on.
also fantastic innovators. So, parents need to encourage their
daughters, they shouldn’t hide computers away from them. I suggest that
when girls are growing up, parents should allow them to choose between
doors and trucks or doors and bricks. Don’t enforce it on them. For the
government, it needs to invest heavily in educating the girl child,
especially in ICT, which is the future.
believed enough in Nigeria that he came last year to state this fact.
There are women in technology, but they are not many. There is so much
that they can do. The government should equip schools with computers.
How can a school be teaching computer science and the children have
never seen a computer before? By the time they want to take the West
African Senior School Certificate Examination, for example, how can they
compete with their counterparts from highbrow schools? They will fail
help build computer labs in communities across the country in such a way
that anybody interested in computer could walk in and learn.
can help solve the illiteracy problem,” he said. “Let’s educate our
girls and we will empower our nation. They are usually the forgotten
ones when it comes to education and empowerment.”
Education, Ajeromi-Ifelodun Local Government Area, Mrs. Fausat
Olanrewaju, said she was hopeful that the training would help the girls
become solution providers to the community in the future.
the girls; it is a plus for the community and the country. I have told
the girls to make use of the training to benefit the community and pass
it on to others.
this community, as you know it is a slum. By virtue of the skill they
have acquired, they have joined the elite and I believe they will
improve the community. We encourage initiatives like this and we will
continue to support them.”
young women and girls with the right ICT skills and assets” — on the
International Girls in ICT Day on April 26, 2017, the organisation
quoted a 2013 Intel report that enabling internet access for 150 million
women would contribute about $18 billion to the annual Gross Domestic
Products of 144 developing countries.
the risk of losing out on tomorrow’s best ICT job opportunities, whether
in the public or private sector, or as an employee or entrepreneur.
so within STEM fields. For example, women currently represent only 20
per cent of engineering school graduates and only 11 per cent of
practising engineers. We also know that 25 per cent of women engineers
leave the field after age 30, compared to 10 per cent of men engineers;
and that women receive only seven per cent of venture capital in Silicon
fundamentally altering the job market, the type of jobs that will exist
in the future and the skills that will be required for those jobs.
Women’s already low participation in STEM professions, where the new
jobs are expected to be created, put them at risk to lose out even
only one STEM-related job for every 20 jobs lost in other areas, whereas
men will gain one new job for every four lost elsewhere.”
said policy tools and focused programmes were needed to shift priorities
and investments, and to change the stereotypes and perceptions of women
and girls in STEM fields that begin in early childhood.
development, we must rethink education, training and learning strategies
to equip young women and girls with the skills required by 21st century
women is an explicit target of Sustainable Development Goal 5, which is
to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.”
via LinkedIn, said it was high time the country invested in the
training of girls in technology in order to provide them a better
helps them to develop essential skills such as problem solving, logic
and critical thinking. Through coding, they can learn that there’s often
more than one way to solve a problem, and that simpler and more
efficient solutions are often better.
become creators, not just consumers, of the technology they use. This is
the future and we must key in to it.”