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Helping Uwani Empower Women Across Nigeria

We are delighted to announce our recent collaboration with Uwani Hub, a unique social enterprise that’s based in Nigeria. The hub was set up to inspire women in rural towns to empower themselves through tech. Anyone can drop by the center to use the facilities or take part in free workshops, and most recently, a coding camp. 

Namecheap is a proud sponsor of Uwani Hub’s first summer coding camp. Aimed at local teenagers, the camp put the kids through their paces! Their program was ambitious, to say the least. Over two weeks, the learning outcomes included mastering the Internet and an introduction to coding. Oh, and becoming published WordPress bloggers on the final day! 

participants at Uwani Hub summer coding school
Course founder Mary (front center) with participants at Uwani Hub summer coding school

We’re excited to be part of such an innovative project, one that values WordPress as a tool to empower people. To give the kids the best start, we gave Uwani Hub access to EasyWP, our own managed WordPress solution, plus free domain renewals for the next three years. 

Project Summer Coding Camp

Impressed with her determination in bringing Uwani Hub to life, we had a brief chat with course founder Mary Jobs. Mary spoke about the big aims of the project. We were interested in what she hopes the kids can gain from the camp beyond picking up the basics of ICT, and why it’s important that these kids know how to make good use of the net.

“It is one thing to have a smartphone for those who do, it is another to know what you can do with it. It’s also another thing to know the internet does not begin and end with Facebook and WhatsApp. Also for these groups of women in towns who mostly do business locally in the markets or sell from their shops, it is another thing for them to know that they can get more customers using that smartphone and the Internet.”

From the student’s accounts, she did a fantastic job. Blogging about her learning experience, secondary school student Saydat Oriola wrote 

“I came to understand that learning computers nowadays is important, even if you want to become a lawyer. I also learnt that the Internet can be useful to all, even if you are a tailor searching for a style to design or sew a dress for a customer”. 

Coding champions hard at work
Coding champions hard at work

Moving on from theoretical workshops, the young adults took to the computers. Confident with her newly honed skills, Saydat went on to say

“Now I am good at typing, creating an email for myself, I can search on the Internet for information.”

Thanks to the camp, teenagers who started off knowing little about coding went on to learn basic coding, and even published some lines of code.   

“Learning python has been a wow for me and I am so glad I learned,” said Susanna Job, 14 from Ijebu Imusin.

Their final task was to publish a blog post on WordPress about their time at camp. You can read their stories right here. Introducing WordPress to the kids was a priority for long-time WordPress advocate Mary Jobs. When she’s not teaching digital skills at Uwani Hub, she volunteers for the WordPress Open Source Community. 

On her blog, Mary expressed that “WordPress is the easiest way to get women curious about and into tech.” She explained why WordPress was a necessary part of her curriculum: 

“WordPress was introduced to the students at the end of the programme because we needed them to log into the Uwani Class Blog and write their stories by themselves when classes were not taking place.”

The students now have a voice on the Internet, even when the camp is not running. 

Michelle Job (age 11) learning the basics
Michelle Job (age 11) learning the basics

Without a doubt, Mary met her teaching objectives in August. But it wasn’t only IT skills she impressed upon the young learners. She’s a fantastic role model for her community. Reading the kids’ blog posts, Saydat was just one of several students pleasantly surprised to see a woman leading the project. 

“I thought she was a member of staff but my cousin told me that she is the founder of How Do You Tech. I was so surprised to see a woman heading a big organization.” 

That’s another win for a project passionate about inspiring young women into developing valuable entrepreneurial skills. 

Enjoying the Summer Camp Experience

Sponsoring Uwani Camp is the first time Namecheap supported a learning experience like this. And it was a hit! 

“I really got to learn a lot and make new friends,” said Adebimpe Ireayo Ade from Izebu ode, on her first coding camp experience.

Of course, some fun was had along the way, and completing summer camp had to be celebrated. What better way than spending their last day at the beautiful Yemoji Natural Pool Resort. We just wish we could have been there. 

The kids having fun at coding camp
The kids having fun at coding camp

Summing up her experience running the hub’s first coding camp, Mary told us,

“There is no way we could be doing any of these alone and making any impact without our sponsors.”

It would have been nonsensical to expect these kids to gain knowledge in this field from a workshop billed at hundreds of dollars. This wasn’t lost on the participants either. In her blog post, Saydat quipped

“I was also happy because I saw someone organizing and sponsoring a free coding camp in this country, it’s rare.” 

Thanks to the camp, they now have the skills to immerse themselves on the Internet and the WordPress ecosphere without extra barriers to learning.

Mary Job and her team are doing a great job teaching young people in suburban Nigeria how to use tech like WordPress to change their world. We are delighted to have contributed to the success of this remarkable initiate.

Projects like Uwani Hub are Opening Doors Through Tech

The coding camp is part of a broader effort. Uwani hub was set up to address a concern. Young girls and women in towns and villages simply don’t have adequate exposure to the Internet. Uwani Hub is, in fact, a center for the wider community-based in Ijebu Imushin, a small town in Ogun State, Nigeria.  

Lagos, a thriving tech city, and larger states are a hubbub of activity in comparison to the rural townships and communities trailing behind. On a mission to improve the lives of this group of people in her native Ijebu community, Mary Jobs founded the Uwani Hub. The tide is turning thanks to schemes like this, looking to solve societal problems in the country. 

The hub is destined to spark a thirst for IT knowledge beyond in these communities, which in turn translates to economic growth for the people living in them. Opportunities like this give people living in Nigeria’s rural settlements the chance to become digitally literate. The goal is to bridge the gap in opportunities available between towns and cities. 

So what does the future hold for Uwani Hub? Besides Coding Camp, the hub offers workshops and ongoing mentoring for all participants—and we expect there will be many. Compassionate about equipping individuals in different rural towns with digital skills, Mary plans to expand the project out into the wider community. 

“We want the Uwani Project to encourage other well-meaning people in other rural towns to follow suit by creating tech hubs in their communities too where people can learn and develop their skills for free.”

We wish Uwani Hub the best of success and look forward to seeing what the future holds.

EasyWP is the Key to WordPress for Everyone

Namecheap is on a mission to democratize the web by making WordPress accessible and available to all. Collaborating with Uwani Hub to bring WordPress to teenagers who might not have had the chance to use it otherwise, is just the start. 

EasyWP is integral to the work we’re doing to get everyone benefiting from the best of the internet. Putting value before profit, we offer a managed WordPress service available and affordable to all. To bring this dream to fruition, we built a state-of-the-art cloud-based platform from the ground up. This is just the start of our mission to democratize WordPress and unlock the Internet for everyone.

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Isobel Weston

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