Brand with a purpose
    21 October 2021


    Preparing girls for their digital future

    Through the Vodacom initiative Code Like a Girl, hundreds of girls are being equipped for the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

    Vodacom’s CodeLikeAGirl programme develops coding skills for high school age girls and encourages them to pursue a career in STEM (Science Technology Engineering Maths) fields. This year, 600 girls from across South Africa had the opportunity to learn how to code during the spring school holidays (4-7 October).

    (Footage filmed in 2018)

    Female participation is lagging in the expanding fields of science, technology, engineering and maths. STEM graduates in most countries are still overwhelmingly male, according to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) report "Cracking the code: Girls’ and women’s education in STEM".  According to UNESCO, only 35% of STEM students in higher education globally are women. Particularly troubling is that just 3% of female students in higher education choose information and communication technologies (ICT) studies.

    This is why Vodacom’s Code like a Girl programme is so vital. Coding is a way of solving problems, developing sequential thinking, and stimulating creativity and design skills. The programme aims to develop both coding skills and valuable life skills for girls aged between 14-18 years and encourages them to choose ICT and STEM subjects. It provides inspirational mentors for the girls, whose role is to instil in them a passion for technology and its possibilities.

    Vodacom’s investment in this digital skills training programme for young women will help to narrow the gender digital divide at an early age in South Africa.

    During the week-long course, learners are exposed to basic knowledge of computer languages, robotics, and development programmes that include: HTML; CSS; GitHub and Version control; Bootstrap; JavaScript; Basic Computer; and Introduction to Coding. The learners also get a well-rounded educational experience, which combines a fun and empowering life skills journey with learning how to code, present, and communicate. At the end of the week, each girl will know how to develop her own website and present her work to the rest of the coding class.

    The programme has been running in South Africa, Mozambique, Tanzania, DRC, and Lesotho since 2017. In SA alone, Vodacom has trained 732 girls since its launch and this year we have 600 participants from close to 100 local schools.

    Don’t miss our Tech Talk with Vodacom podcast episode! We chat to Oratile Maphumulo, Manager in Core Data Network Planning in Technology at Vodacom Business, who’s also a trainer on the Vodacom CodeLikeAGirl initiative. Just click below to listen in.