SuaCode: learn to code on your smartphone

Of all regions in the world, sub-Saharan Africa has the highest rates of education exclusion in the world. According to UNESCO, over one-fifth of children aged 6-11, one third of youth aged 12-14 and 60% aged 15-17 are not in education. George Boateng, co-founder of the Nsesa Foundation, is on a mission to teach millions across the African continent how to code.

The Nsesa Foundation aims to help young Africans develop their engineering and computer programming skills. One of its projects, SuaCode, introduces learners to the fundamentals of software programming using only a mobile phone.

The lack of IT resources means that less than 1% of African children leave school with basic coding skills. And yet, according to GSMA, 303 million people across Sub-Saharan Africa were connected to the mobile internet at the end of 2020, equivalent to 28% of the population. 

“SuaCode was a truly accidental project that was born out our need to innovate around the lack of laptops at out 4th annual Project iSWEST in 2017,” says George, “leading us to introduce students to coding with smartphones – a first of its kind in Ghana!”

In Spring 2020, George ran SuaCode Africa 2.0, a smartphone-based online coding course during the COVID-19 pandemic that taught Africans coding in English and French. The team received 2.2K+ applications from 60 countries across five continents. From these, 1.3K students were enrolled, 740 students were admitted and 64.2% completed and built a pong game on their phones.

So, what’s next for SuaCode?

Thankfully, anyone can now access the SuaCode app via Google Play:

George says, “We’ve incorporated a company to advance SuaCode. Now that we’ve launched the app, we are working on growing the number of learners we call SuaCoders. We will also be developing additional courses and plan to partner with universities across Africa to host and deliver their coding courses through our SuaCode platform.”

To learn more about SuaCode, watch this guest lecture by George.