Rwandan Women Prove They Can Code

Yvette Uwineza the manager of WeCode Project

Pauline Nshimiye, a 32 year old mother of two children was just browsing through her facebook page when she landed on a coding boot camp advertisement to recruit women for training as coders in Rwanda.

She holds bachelor’s degree in economics but Nshimiye says she needed a change, to doing something practical and the big task was to convince her husband and join the training at the expense of caring for her children including a one and half year old baby.

“When I saw the post (facebook), I wasn’t sure I would make it, nor was I sure that in can be selected because my thinking was that coding was destined to mathematicians,” Nshimiye said.

She applied and was selected among 88 first cohort boot camp trainees, thus starting a journey on a bumpy road that was hard for her and family but could change her life for good.

Nshimiye’s first phase training started with easy content such as developing web html.

And then came the second phase which got harder in content and she had to do stuff like debugging, read more books to learn codes; leaving her with sleepless night and a hard family choice as a mother and spouse.

While at the camp she had to do all this research and debug by herself and also return home where her children only saw her when she was putting them to bed, until the next day.

“Needless to say that my responsibility as a mother didn’t go away. I had to sacrifice a lot, sacrifice time for my children and my husband,” she narrates saying that she received support from her husband and mentors at the camp.

In the weekend, Nshimiye was among the first set of 28 young female Rwandan coders who graduated as junior programmers with potential applications start-up ideas that could solve some of the current challenges in education, transport, shopping and entertainment. .

The graduates received their certificates on Friday at Kigali Convention center, shortly after spending three days of learning and exposure at the 2019 Transform Africa Summit,

During the graduation the students presented their software applications (Apps) developed after undergoing an intensive six month training in software developing and coding at University of Rwanda College of Education (UR-CE) in Kimironko and former Kigali Institute of Science and Technology (KIST) campuses.

Under training by Moringa School of women coders, they were tasked to develop these applications in just two weeks’ time.

Moringa School is a multi-disciplinary coding school operating in Rwanda since last year with commitment to closing the skills gap for women to compete in a digital, global economy.

“Apparently these ideas could mature into full businesses changing the face of tech innovations and create more jobs for young women who are still facing a challenge of accessing ICT skills development,” said Yvette Uwineza, the WeCode Project Manager at Rwanda ICT Chambers.

The next intake of only women coders will be June 3, 2019

WeCode life changing apps

The Applications, still under development, presented by the junior programmers whose ideas could become potential income earning startups.

Though there Apps have not been monetized, KTPress had a glimpse into some of the application ideas showcased that will in future solve some of the challenges in education, transport, shopping and entertainment in the community.

Nshimiye and her team of four women developed Pharmadir App which is set to enable patients with or without medical insurance to know which pharmacies to buy prescribed medication and delivery without moving a step or making a queue.

Others include: Tracker app which enables one to track their goods, cargo and vehicles in transit from one point to another using a mobile phone application. In this app one enters the details.

JustBooking app- a solution to transport, where instead of appearing at bus stage physically and even when one intends to travel in minutes later, passengers will use the app to book tickets without being there in person. Here one can search for bus, choose the one available, make a payment by mobile money (MoMo) after filling in personal detail in the app.

The Ticket app– is an event organizing and tickets buying solution for residents in Kigali who have or may have wanted to attend and advertise an event but failed short to because they cannot reach the point of sale or reach a large population.

The app provides a solution of payment using credit cards and advertisers pay for ads. Here, one gets ticket by inserting details like email name, location of event and add mode of payment account

But also advertisers can advertise their event upon registration.

In order to go to the next level – app developers were advised on adding aspects of vending at an event to enable on spending money during the event to pay using the app and account for the vendor commission and payment of their services.

Student step follower- this email based app helps parents in following up on the students education, getting updates by tap of a button in the application. The app log in adds info on class level and information on student and sends the performance notification direct to the parents through email.

The app developers said the application will be managed by the schools at a cheap price unlike the others which are managed by the developers and at high cost.

Tech experts at the graduation event also recommended all the apps to include a level of mode of payment using various existing methods such as mobile money and credit cards.




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