The Saturday Punch reported on the awesome job we are doing with the Smart Girls program.
The program is designed to build the interest of young girls in STEM by giving coding training.
Smart Girls was implemented with the awesome support of the U.S. Consulate (Lagos), Paradigm Initiative Nigeria (PINigeria), Python Software Community Nigeria. Two thumbs up goes to Python Software Community Nigeria who provided trainers for the program as well as Raspberry Pis for the girls.
The first day they entered the only computer laboratory in Ajegunle, Ajeromi-Ifelodun Local Government Area of Lagos State, to learn coding, they were all very scared to touch the computer.
Their fear was not unusual — about 70 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. But six weeks after, the girls had not only learnt how to operate a computer, they had also learnt how to code.
Weeks after they have learnt coding, the 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.
“I never knew I could be a coder; I didn’t know what it meant until some weeks ago,” said one of the girls, Mmesoma Joseph. The 13-year-old was one of the 60 girls in Ajegunle trained.
Joseph added, “I can use Python to 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. I hope to be one of the greatest ICT 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.”
Chioma Aladum, 14, said anytime she remembered her late father and how her mother had been trying to make ends meet for the family, she was encouraged to do more. She said, “I’m proud to be a coder. It 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. "It’s a wonderful opportunity I’ve had 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.
Jane Nnadi, 14, used to hate computer, but today, she has also become one of the female coders at Ajegunle. She said, “I hated computer because I 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. When this coding training opportunity 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. I’m also very bold now in the class 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 Examination.”