From Tuesday, October 3rd 2017, youths from various states in Nigeria, converged in Lagos for the S(he) Hacks Africa Cohort #3 Boot camp. This 4-week intensive Software Programming, Leadership and Entrepreneurship training was organized by WAAW Foundation, which has been on the mission to empower youth, most especially girls in technology and software programming through quality education, seasoned instruction, and individualized mentorship and ensure that this talent is used to develop the African continent.

The intensive workshop which held from October 3rd to 28th 2017,  exposed participants to the amazing hands-on experience in Software programming and coding skills which includes practical knowledge on how to how to build a full stack web application using HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Intro to PHP and MySQL to manage database of users. Java was also introduced using the Alice Integrated Development Environment (IDE).

On the first week, our participant learned “How the internet works” and they went through the Design-Thinking exercise, where they formed teams and brainstormed together to proffer project-based “Tech-solutions” to problems in our society ranging from insecurity, unemployment, insufficient power supply, poor health etc.

Then, practical sessions began on coding HTML (HyperTextMarkup Language) to create the content of a website and on CSS (Cascading Style Sheet) to creatively improving the HTML structure, thus designing an attractive website.

On the second week, they learned to code using Javascript programming language needed to make websites more responsive and interactive to the user experience. They also learned coding using PHP (HpertextPreprocessor) and MySQL (Structured Query Language), the database management frameworks, which accepts and manipulates input from users. Then, they were introduced to WordPress, a synergized website development framework, which worked with already-made templates.

The third week was more intense with their group-based project work and our participants practically developed Mobile Apps using Ionic Framework. We also observed the Africa Code Week happening all across the globe. Assignments and project-presentations was a constant feature of the bootcamp and this occurred at the end of every week.

One of our participants said “What a privilege, life changing experience, we have learnt, we have built relationships, we have gotten better. Looking ahead, we wondered how to do it; looking behind, we wondered how we did it” – Benjamin Mbaneme.

At S(he) Hacks Africa bootcamp, we strongly believe in not just developing software developers but also groom them to be leaders, entrepreneurs and technology experts.  We had resourceful partners coming to share insight.

The Andela Ladies In Technology mentored our participants, they helped them with their projects and talked them through the journey of software development.

LEAP Africa enlightened our participants on Leadership and Entrepreneurship training subjects as Leadership, Goal setting, and Communication, Sales and Marketing, Accounting and Budgeting, Developing and Writing a Business plan.

Oracle Academy facilitated the Java programming lesson using Alice IDE. Before the end, they were grouped and given projects to design 3-D animations.

On the 4th week, they gained knowledge on bioinformatics, a field requiring application of Software programming to Biology. It was an amazing experience indeed!

The closing ceremony held on Thursday, 28th October 2017, where our participants had the privilege to pitch their projects and network with prominent leaders in Technology across the globe. Our panelists from Andela, LEAP Africa, Dotlearn, Housessories, Ford Foundation and all our facilitators arrived to review their projects and grade them. Then, the winning group of the Cohort #3 emerged; they are called “Team-PCMN”. They developed an incredible web-application that connects underprivileged people to NGO opportunities with a unique user-experience.

One of the winners said “Words cannot articulate how much I have gained from this coding workshop. It has been more than an exciting and priceless experience. Personal objectives made and written at the start of the workshop were not just met, but were met at a deeper level” – Chinyere Ihuegbu.

WAAW Foundation was so impressed with the set of amazing participants and how they can now do amazing things with the software, leadership and entrepreneurship skills acquired. In the four weeks of the coding boot-camp, participants were truly inspired to advance their careers as Software programmer, community leaders and entrepreneurs in tech.

Dr. Unoma Okorafor, the Founder and President of WAAW Foundation said “I am so proud of these incredible teams and the tech-solutions they have come up with. We are going to provide seed-funding opportunities to promising teams ready to scale their projects to the next level

With the above testimonies, it is an established fact that the (S)He Hacks Africa intensive coding boot-camp will encourage diversity and most especially raise future generations of problem solvers. So, watch out for Cohort #4 in 2018!

Unoma Okorafor

Dr. Unoma Okorafor is the founder of WAAW Foundation. She is a passionate social entrepreneur committed to empowering girls in African through STEM focused education.

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