Code-Mashinani comes to the rescue of rural children

Children learn how to code, courtesy of project Code Mashinani

Art for Children Foundation has established a new partnership for a Code Mashinani project. The project, which will be run by a duo – Michael Njenga and Jesse Muchai, will ensure computer science education reaches as many children as possible in the rural areas. According to world bank report of 2019, only 22% of children in the rural areas have access to computers, with children to computer ratio is 1:45.

introduction class to grade 4 pupils

How it started

The Code Mashinani kids under the wings of Art for Children foundation(A4C) was started in 2019 by two childhood friends, Michael and Jesse. Having been inspired by the love for technology by children, Michael and Jesse came up with ways of teaching them what they love. There was need to introduce computer science to kids in the rural areas of Kenya so that they could participate actively in the fourth industrial revolution which is founded on technology, supported by computer science.

Where it started

The idea was to teach kids digital literacy, coding, and artificial intelligence. The pilot project, under guidance from Art for Children Foundation, was done in collaboration with a few schools in Kiambu county. The uptake was very high from both the teachers and the pupils. Michael and Jesse later expanded to more schools with a total of 3000 pupils. With all the challenges faced, such as lack of enough computers, logistics and poor internet connections; they soldiered on until the Covid-19 pandemic struck. All the schools were closed down for almost two years and when Covid restrictions were eased, schools could no longer accommodate the Code Mashinani again. The schools were working with squeezed timetables to cover for the time lost during the pandemic. Michael and Jesse re-established in local social halls where children would come, for free computer and coding classes on weekends. This was however not sustainable.

scratch lesson with grade 7 pupils.

In January 2023, Michale and Jesse went back to the school model which they still carry on up to this day. As of February 2023, there are over 2,500 pupils in schools and social hall set up who look up on them to teach them computer science.

There are similar challenges like lack of equipment, logistics management and finances which makes the project unsustainable. It’s no doubt that kids in rural areas love technology. They have the passion and urge to learn new concepts so that they can become problem solvers in future.

The projects mission is to offer top quality computer science classes to all children in our rural communities, to be successful and become passionate, productive and contribute actively to the community.

Likewise, Michael and Jesse share a common vision where every kid should be given the chance to study computer science. The computer-intensive world of today requires education to change as well. Understanding the foundations of computers, along with reading, writing, and math, is essential for kids today to become educated, well-prepared global citizens tomorrow.


Author: Michael Njenga is the Project Lead for Code Mashinani.

Share on:

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on google
Share on email
Share on telegram
Share on whatsapp

Leave a comment

Recent posts