Giving young women and girls access to opportunities and stimulating careers in the world of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths), is the mission of Girls Coding Academy. By doing so, the organisation’s 7 co-founders are making a tangible and lasting contribution to the reduction of the gender gap in Lesotho.
LoA chatted to co-founder Maneo Mapharisa this month to find out more
What does your company do?
We encourage young women and girls to take part in Science, Technology, Engineering & Maths related activities or STEM fields as there is a huge gender gap in those fields and that is not only in Lesotho but worldwide.
"There is a huge demand in the tech sector but also a huge gender gap. Our mission is to reduce the gender gap by engaging and encouraging young women and girls to participate in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths or STEM fields."
What inspired you to start your company?
Girls Coding Academy is a startup movement founded by 7 women within the Computer Science field. We were part of the female 2017 Africa Code Week team trainers and that inspired us. The academy is dedicated to educating, mentoring, innovating and equipping young women and girls with technological skills by club program, campus program and summer immersion. Our mission is to reduce the gender gap by engaging and encouraging young women and girls to participate in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths or STEM fields.
Why should anyone use your service or product?
Not only do we encourage the girls towards STEM fields, we also make them realize their true potential and bring out the confidence in them. We offer a range of one-on-one sessions, group sessions, computer skills sessions for women, summer and winter coding camps, and school coding clubs.
"Women aren’t staying in STEM because they feel like they don’t belong. Women have interesting and cool ideas which we feel need to be represented."
Tell us a little about your team
We are a startup movement founded by 7 Basotho women within the Computer Science field with both local and international exposure and experience in the same fields. Our mission is to reduce the gender gap by engaging and encouraging young women and girls to participate in Science, Engineering, Technology and Maths or STEM fields.
The founder of Girls Coding Academy. She is a 4th year Student studying Computer Science at National University of Lesotho. She is inspired to teach girls how to code because it is awesome! Additionally,providing girls with coding skills will help build foundations for life long skills they can apply in any field of study.
A Management Information Systems and Enterprise Resource Planner at Botho University,Lesotho. She is currently pursuing a Postgraduate Diploma in Monitoring and Evaluation with Uganda Technology and Management University. She holds a degree in Bsc.Computer Science and Statistics from National University of Lesotho.She is an Africa Code Week software trainer in Lesotho.
A System Administrator and Digital Media Trainer at Soofia International School. She holds a degree in Bsc. Computer Science from National University of Lesotho. She has over a volunteer experience from a non-profit organization called The Hub Morija. At The Hub she lead weekly basic computer skills and programming skills and managed the daily technical operations of The Hub. The skill sessions were aimed to close the digital divide in Lesotho. She is an Africa Code Week software trainer in Lesotho.
She is part of the facilitating team at Girls Coding Academy. She is the trainer at the academy, hosting various coding workshops for girls in Coding and Mathematics. Currently the academy is preparing for hackathon (coding marathon) for high girls in various districts in the country. The aim is to encourage girls to be confident and take part in STEM as it is important for them to come up with more brilliant ideas to advance in technology.
Born and raised in Lesotho, she then travelled around the world to pursue her further studies, work and embrace new cultures. She studied Computer Science in Ireland and then continued to live and work within the IT social entrepreneurship communities in Portugal, Germany and Denmark where she speaks the local languages too. She also played a major role in Digital integration when the EU saw a major influx of the Syrians refugees flooding into Europe. In between, Nkentso has been attending coding bootcamps in the United States as a way of keeping her IT skills upgraded. Currently based in Lesotho, she is the founder and director of Astranet IT Services & Solutions Ltd.
Tsoanelo is a Co-Founder of Girls Coding Academy, a company that brings IT skills to children in Lesotho with a strong focus on young girls. Tsoanelo holds a Bachelor of Science in Information Technology from University of The Free State and has almost 2 years experience working as a voluntary Computer Science tutor in various schools in Lesotho.
A Computer Science Honours Degree student at The University of Free State. Palesa has a very strong belief in empowering women to join Science and Technology fields, and specifically Computer Science amongst others. She also believes that starting this empowerment at a young age females will improve the standard of Lesotho, Africa, and the globe. Hence encourages that young girls should be taught how to code, as this will improve their analytical and problem solving skills
Share a little about your entrepreneurial journey. And, do you come from an entrepreneurial background?
We are a fairly new organisation but we have seen a great interest and demand for the service that we provide. This has been very good feedback for us and provides us with motivation. Having been invited to a good number of events within the country also drives us to achieve even better results on a daily basis as it's also positive feedback to us and an opportunity to network.
Contact or follow Girls Coding Academy
Why LoA loves it….
Seeing a challenge or a gap in the market and then creating a sustainable and impactful way of addressing it is often the best way of building a successful business. In the case of Girls Coding Academy, these enterprising women co-founders are creating a high impact solution to bridging the gender gap in STEM fields in their country. They are not only making a difference to the lives of young aspirational women coders in Lesotho, but also inspiring a new generation of young women to fulfill their potential. --- Melanie Hawken, founder and ceo of Lionesses of Africa