CodeBus Africa: A Look Back

Starting in February and spanning ten Sub-Saharan countries, CodeBus Africa’s journey moved through Ghana, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia, Namibia and Mozambique, and came to its conclusion last weekend in South Africa. The youth empowerment initiative ran 1-day creative coding workshops for youngsters, providing them with a fun and memorable first touch to programming. Through celebrating technology and learning, the project encourages especially girls to explore technology’s possibilities for their future.

This photo journal offers a glimpse into the heart of CodeBus.

Behind the scenes in Nairobi, Kenya with Mwalugha “Douda” Bura from Tunapanda Institute. Nearly 100 kilos of equipment, among them laptops and headphones, traveled in suitcases with the project team throughout the ten countries. Setting up the classrooms was part of the early morning routine, so that eager attendees could dive right in. All hands on deck! © Anssi Grekula


Tadah! From stacks of hardware to a busy workshop. Instructors Sini Leskinen from Aalto University and Debra Choobwe from Hackers Guild making sure no one is left behind in Ndola, Zambia. Each workshop accommodates 40 students, who code their own songs in pairs to make the most out of peer-to-peer support. In addition, a majority of the workshop participants and instructors are girls; gender equality in technology can only be achieved through concrete measures. © Valter Sandström


“play 60” – first lines of code translating to audio on Sonic Pi in Addis Abeba, Ethiopia. The open-source live music coding environment utilizes a programming language called Ruby. With Sonic Pi, kids can learn the basics of coding and produce a creative end result in just one day. © Eyerusalem Adugna


Each workshop comes with its obstacles. Here both language and computer literacy barriers are being broken, as 40 girls in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania learn to navigate a computer keyboard with the help of song and dance. © Roope Kiviranta


What’s so funny? No matter – after all, the Rule #1 of each CodeBus Africa workshop is to have fun. These young coders’ laughter in Pretoria, South Africa is contagious! Volunteer instructor Zandile Masindi from Nokia joins in. © Sonia El Kamel


Minister of Science and Technology Jorge Nhambiu tones down the bustle of the workshop and tunes in to some freshly coded beats in Maputo, Mozambique. Part of the official program for Finland’s centenary anniversary, CodeBus Africa celebrates global cooperation and foreign relations. The workshops were often visited by distinguished guests. © Sonia El Kamel


We did it! Hard work comes with a reward. Ambassador of Finland to Nigeria and Ghana Pirjo Suomela-Chowdhury and Lady-Omega Hammond from STEMbees handing out certificates of participation in Accra, Ghana. The ceremony was followed by a dance-off to tunes created by the kids themselves. © Vilma Hämäläinen


Young ladies interviewed about their workshop experience by WazobiaMAX television station in Abuja, Nigeria. Throughout the spring, CodeBus Africa garnered press attention in the tour countries as well as in Finland. © Vilma Hämäläinen


Jamming to Rushour at the CodeBus Concert organized by the Embassy of Finland and Namibia University of Science and Technology in Windhoek, Namibia. In many of the tour’s countries, celebration exceeded the workshops. Additional events, like music concerts with both African and Finnish acts, were hosted by the local partners. © Valter Sandström


Team spirit going through the roof in Gulu, Uganda! A joint effort, CodeBus Africa is all about working together. Some 1,800 youth experienced the joy of discovery thanks to 15 local tech and innovation hubs, universities and community-based organizations, as well as Aalto Global Impact, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland, Mehackit and Nokia. © Anssi Grekula


Alison Tshala from Aalto University and Tiyani “Uncle T” Nghonyama from Geekulcha goofing around. Up to six workshop instructors have been trained in each tour country by students from Aalto, so that even though the bus has parked, the music doesn’t stop. Local African partners will continue developing the CodeBus workshop concept and introducing more youth to the world of code. © Sonia El Kamel


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