An African woman has launched a movement in China that aims to help young girls and women learn how to code.
Meet Mariéme Jamme, a Senegalese-born British businesswoman who was trafficked to prostitution as a teenager, but now stands as one of Africa’s leading female technopreneurs.
Jamme traveled to Beijing over the weekend to launch her initiative called “iamtheCODE,” which aims to mobilize governments, businesses and investors to support young girls and women who are working or hoping to pursue careers in STEAMD (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics and Design).
“It’s the first time that an African organization has done this in China,” Jamme wrote in a World Economic Forum blog. “We must prepare women and girls for the possibility that ‘made in China’ will become ‘made in Africa’. Launching this month in China, iamtheCODE will equip both nations’ women and girls so that they can play a role in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.”
In a hackathon held on August 26 and 27, about 50 young Chinese girls, including a few boys, attended the event to learn about the Sustainable Development Goals and were then challenged in a contest to come up with solutions to problems relevant to them.
The output of the participants were nothing short of impressive. One group produced an app for the country’s “left-behind children.” The winning group produced an app that dealt with climate change. The attendees are expected to form the first coding club at their schools and among their peers, Daily Nation noted.
“What is good for a girl in Mombasa is good for a girl in Beijing. That’s why I’m passionate about this,” Jamme said at the event’s closing. “Moving forward, I will have 1,000 girls in China join the iamtheCODE movement by 2019. We have amazing partners who are asking to join.”
Jamme hopes to teach one million girls and women by 2030.