Code.rw: The website helping students to be innovative

Digital Content

Usually, students wait until they are at university to figure out what career they want to pursue. This means nation building and entrepreneurship is largely left in the hands of the senior citizens.

However code.rw is trying to change that mentality by engaging students interested in using ICT for development and business (ICT4D and ICT4B) to form clubs in schools. These clubs sign up onto the code.rw platform and get some work started.

Code.rw was developed by the Young ICT Entrepreneurs in the ICT Chamber with a sole aim of getting students to integrate technology across the curriculum to fully engage them and improve academic outcomes.

The initiator of the project and top developer, Ildephonse Mungwarakarama, says using technology in learning projects helps students learn how to express themselves and actively participate in their own development.

“These tech clubs are helping to attract tomorrow’s talents, prepare the future workforce, develop students ability to work in teams, communicate and present ideas in a formal setting,” he says. “Bringing these different minds to work on something together has tremendous outcomes,” he adds.

How it works

Students come together, form a club and then sign up on code.rw. But it is not for fun but work. The students must have a project and their activities registered on the site. They receive all benefits of being in the code.rw community until their products are on the market.

How code.rw helps students

Time after time, students get training on how to develop viable products, clearly understand the market and their clients as well as connection to experienced companies and clients they couldn’t have otherwise reached.

Through code.rw and Klab community, the tech clubs receive professional guidance, coaching and tools to use in all completion (CD of video covering all technology used in Rwanda, mentors in analyses, support online and phone).

According to Mungwarakarama, the second phase of the project will be attracting investment for the projects on the site, where investors will be looking at the details of the projects uploaded and seeing which of them progresses well or which of them is giving quick return on investment.

What the clubs are obliged to do

* To know technologies used in Rwanda and the impact they have on society.

* Analyse community needs around the school and find solutions using different technologies.

* To organize events and interest/teach people what is going on in technology
Implement their own solutions in technology according to the society needs and improve logical thinking.

* To collaborate with industries on projects.

How far code.rw is:

On May 17, 20 students from code.rw were given smartphones to develop solution apps along other students in clubs that had already started developing apps and today there is a total of 25 projects on the site with 12 of them complete and 13 still in progress.

Also, about 40% of the apps are in the health domain, 32% in business, 20% in education and 8% in governance.

The future of code.rw

Jackson Murenzi, a mobile app developer in his final year at secondary school and member of the code.rw clubs, says coming together to build something isn’t just about making apps but brings people to work on something that will at one time impact lives.

“Code.rw is bringing youth all over the country to work together and with this kind of unity and nation building ideology being developed among students, and then we have a bright future,” he spoke with a cheerful face.

Source: The New Times 28 September 2014