British software engineer championing digital literacy

WorldRemit software engineer Zaira Rasool is launching a new initiative, Coderoots, to create digital education spaces in The Gambia to provide sustainable technological education solutions to young Africans.

Fund digital education

London-based software engineer Zaira Rasool has stepped up her mission to fund digital education in The Gambia after receiving a £ 5,000 grant from cross-border digital payment service WorldRemit. The Catherine Wines scholarship was created in memory of the late co-founder of the fintech company.

More than half (56%) of the Gambian population is under 25, with limited access to a fixed broadband connection and the impact of COVID-19, young people face significant challenges for their jobs and their lives. educational ambitions.

Code roots

With this in mind, Zaira launched Coderoots in partnership with Odiri Ighamre, co-founder and CEO of Kori Youth Charity (UK) and co-founder and director of the NGO Daughters of Africa (Gambia). Coderoots is dedicated to creating sustainable solutions for digital access and technological education for young talent in Africa.

Coderoots supports NGOs in setting up digital education spaces, focusing on regions with the least access to basic technologies. The initial pilot program is Abuko Digital Hub in The Gambia, which provides space for young people to use computers, as well as virtual mentoring from experts around the world.

In addition to numerous international trips to her credit, Zaira has 10 years of experience in local organizations. Coderoots was formed after organizing a series of workshops in The Gambia to train microenterprises in business and meeting very motivated people. After launching the initial crowdfunding in February 2020 and raising £ 4,000, Coderoots has grown steadily since.

New initiative

The project would not work without the leadership of Odiri Ighamre, who oversees the activities of NGOs based in The Gambia and has over 30 years of experience in the third sector. So far, the initiative has organized nine courses in accounting, law, art and design, coding, theater, architecture and more. In addition, the partnership completed 45 mentoring sessions in architecture, teacher training, media, marketing and more. The duo’s initiative has also partnered with the University of West England and Coding Black Females.

Zaira Rasool, Software Engineer at WorldRemit and Founder of Coderoots, commented, “Coderoots is a team of experts from across the tech industry with a vision to create opportunity and develop technology in places with the least access to it. core technology.

“What I discovered during my visit to The Gambia is that there is a population of people who are really motivated and really motivated to learn, but who just don’t have the resources. Currently, initiatives that attempt to resolve the growing global technology divide are often short-term and mainly invest where certain infrastructure already exists. Our vision is to create long-term change by working at the grassroots – creating community centers in these areas, which find financial stability over time by supporting young people and helping them start their own business or find a job.

Arnaud Loiseau, CEO (International) of WorldRemit, said: “With the support of WorldRemit to stimulate economic development, improve skills and create jobs, while expanding the project to various countries lacking in technology and access to large band, the Coderoots initiative has a bright future ahead of it. “


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