Our mission is to increase technology education for the underprivileged
 and increase enthusiasm for STEM

 

Learning to code is an empowering process especially to children and youths. Although initially it usually constitutes a challenge, the ability to overcome it gives the coder self-confidence, ability to think outside the box to solve problems, and the ability to make logical connections. Learning to code also enables the entrepreneurial spirit. Instead of being consumers of technology, children will be able to create it and therefore interact with it differently. This is why this project was created as a STEM project, and is currently Virtual Activism’s core program.

Our core Code-Net program aims to build a talent pool of ICT technologists able to enter the job market better prepared with the necessary skills. Core values of success, teamwork and workflow are integral to what we provide through a unique combination of online training and in-house labs with industry professionals. We offer day camps and workshops in and outside of inner city schools, targeting boys and girls but with special programs for girls only. We want to increase school-children’s interest in technology without the need for the most recent computers or software. We therefore use FOSS as a means of sustainability to avoid financial hardships especially in financially distressed communities as well as refurbished computers using Linux. 

 Virtual Activism has been working on technology since 1998 and had been funded by the Ford Foundation for ten years because it was working internationally. As the current focus has shifted, our primary project is now the local CODE-net which works with school children as well as truant children.

Geographical location:

This project will begin in Rhode Island and Massachusetts, with plans to expand beyond that to other states in the future.

Goal and Objectives:

  •  Strengthening marginalized communities through the use of ICT and linking it to development.

  •  Working with school-age girls and boys who have had little or no formal education to provide them with skills to enter the job market.

  •  Encouraging youth who have not completed their education to becoming more skilled and to becoming entrepreneurs.

  • Working with school-children in underprivileged communities.

  •  Promoting freedom of expression and privacy issues especially as they relate to cyberspace.

  • Using and encouraging the use of free and open source software to enable sustainability. Increase the awareness, integration and adoption of free and open source software (FOSS tools). The emphasis is on building the capacity of non-profit practitioners and under-privileged schools to use FOSS as a means of sustainability to avoid financial hardships especially in financially distressed communities.

  • Forming partnerships with NGOs to facilitate networking, communication, and exchange and flow of information. Strengthening local knowledge-sharing to encourage peer-to-peer information exchange

  • Increasing interest in ICT and coding to young girls in particular through programs that target only them.

  •  Fostering a cumulative knowledge process by systematic networking between grassroots initiatives and facilitating exchange of information and experience and through dissemination of good practices.

  •  Facilitating the exchange of experiences in the field of information technologies in marginalized communities and encouraging them to learn about its empowering potential, economically, socially and culturally. Demonstrating the values and advantages of communicating digitally with emphasis on how ICTs could improve the quality of life.

  • Developing a pool of resource people (trainers) who can articulate and teach information technologies in their own communities.

  • Promoting, use and integrate ICT in education and development that is appropriate to a community’s own infrastructure and local needs.

  • Encouraging student enrollment in technology

  •  Creating seed connections and future partnerships across a wider spectrum, between developers, intermediaries and NGOs.

  • Drawing attention to the values of ICT and specifically promote its use to outline the vision of communities in building a knowledge economy.