Open Collaboration for African Techies
Possibly for the first time in the history of Cameroon, we had children between the ages of 12-16 learning how to program mini-games and animations, right here at ActivSpaces under the tutorship of our most recent visiting fellow, Richard Anderson.
In a 3-day workshop from June 29th – July 1st, Richard took 23 kids through computational thinking, programming basics, and finally head-on into hardcore Scratch programming.
Making Things Happen
With limited resources and space, the workshop had been planned for only 15 participants. ActivSpaces actually took the lead in screening these kids from local schools in the community hoping to identify the most computer literate to ensure the success of the program. To our pleasant surprise, we ended up with 23 participants, all of whom showed great potential in computer science – at least by the time Richard was through with them.
New Dreams Are Born
For us at ActivSpaces, it was interesting to note that while these kids had a variety of career dreams, they all showed equal enthusiasm towards Scratch. Empowering our future generation with the necessary skills to leverage technology for solution building is one of our dreams. Richard certainly put the participants in the ICT4D mindset during the workshop as well as opening up their eyes to the possibilities of creating their own career paths as opposed to following the status quo.
The End Bears A Beginning
We had nurtured hopes of organizing a local Scratch Club that meets regularly and contributes to the global Scratch community. Those hopes were utterly needless – the kids would have forced us to do that anyways. While the sessions were set from 9:00am – 3:00pm each day, from Day 2 we had kids coming in as early as 7:30am and leaving as late as 5:00pm (when we told them to go home :)). To their excitement, on the final day we announced that ActivSpaces would be hosting a local Scratch Club in the near future.
We’d like to thank Richard for investing his time and resources towards merging his dream with ours, the E.E. Ford Foundation for the grant that made this all possible and our young Cameroonian participants who energized us so we could energize them.
Icing On The Cake
Richard has graciously donated laptops and multimedia-related hardware to accommodate the upcoming Scratch Club. ActivSpaces will be programming the Scratch Club and announcing its launch in two weeks.
“It was a fantastic experience. I’m so happy I’ve been able to work with such enthusiastic kids and look forward to working more with ActivSpaces on future Scratch projects.”
This blog is a resource for news, project updates, member profiles and community events at ActivSpaces, an open collaboration space, innovation hub and startup incubator for African techies. Based in Buea, Cameroon.