Jan 11 (ITWeb Africa) – The Vodacom Lesotho Foundation has pledged to train 1500 girls on coding and computing languages, including HTML, CSS, GitHub and Bootstrap, by March 2020.

The initiative, spearheaded by five-day Code Like A Girl training workshops, is geared towards bridging the gender gap in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) careers.

In a statement, the Foundation explained that coding has become one of the most on-demand skills across industries because an increasing number of businesses now rely on computer code.

“Half of all programming openings are in industries outside of technology, such as finance, healthcare and manufacturing, while recent research found that coding has become a core skill that bolsters a candidate’s chances of securing scarce jobs that are in demand in the markets,” the organisation continued.

The statement read: “This initiative looks to spike girls’ interest and encourage them to explore the countless possibilities of what they can do with coding to solve problems in their communities. Empowering women and helping young people increase their skillset through technology are two important areas of focus for Vodacom as part of The Company’s 10 year sustainable goals.”

“By 2025, Vodafone’s ambition is to be the best employer for women.”

In July 2019 the company referenced the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report, which stated that increasing the number of women in STEM is not only about harnessing the best talent to tackle the challenges facing humanity.

“STEM is often a foundation for well-paid careers that boost the economic security of women, and in turn give them a greater social and political voice,” the Report stated.

Executive Head Foundation Molemo Motseki said, “The Code Like A Girl programme is designed to help encourage more girls to consider careers in engineering and technology. Computational thinking is the foundation for these types of careers, and Coding is a great way to develop it.”

Motseki added that the girls work in groups of four and have to work together, first on a creative idea for a website, and then to build it.

“In these ways, the programme develops work-ready skills like time management and collaboration, as well as competence in Coding,” the company’s foundation explains.

At the end of the workshop, the students present their websites to a judging panel. All participants are awarded certificates of completion, and members of the winning teams each walked away with Vodacom branded devices, airtime and Vodacom accessories. NW

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