A few articles ago, I talked about my journey as a self-taught coder. If you read that article, you would know that it was all possible because I had access to a computer, an internet connection and I was motivated enough to pursue it because of my passion for technology. Now many people may have the resources to learn but not see the importance while some don’t even have the resources but are quite keen to learn. This makes the barriers of entry into the IT field very hard to overcome.
Alvin Chitena in Bulawayo identified this problem and in 2016, he founded Zimcode. The organization is made up of University students and has been bringing coding lessons to schools with students that might not have the same exposure that I had when I got started. Each participating school gets 2 lessons per week, one on Saturday and another during the school weekdays.
In 2016, they managed to teach 60 students Python programming at Mzilikazi High School, Mpopoma High School, Premier High School and Msiteli High School. I asked Alvin about what the students had done after the lessons and I was told that the Mpopoma High School students are now working on a WordPress website for their school.
Other students won Raspberry Pi’s for their exceptional performance and are now using them to improve their coding skills and learn more languages. For 2017, Zimcode will be teaching 20 more students than last year at the same schools with the addition of Luveve High School. All participating schools also have coding clubs at their schools to help share the knowledge with other students.
At the moment, Zimcode is focused on becoming good at one thing first so they have been working more on making their curriculum better and not rushing to expand too quickly.
I look forward to seeing what more they will be doing as Alvin hinted that they have bigger plans. We will also be hearing about Alvin’s journey as part of the series that aims to show Zimbabweans that we too can do things that others think we cannot.