Highlight of things happened in Scratch Meet-up, Nairobi, Kenya

Almost two weeks ago, organized by Joek Van Montfort from the Netherlands who is doing amazing job in organizing Scratch conferences across Europe and is now stepping in helping Africans to be part of Scratch community, African Scratchers met in Nairobi, Kenya. There are a couple of reasons this meeting took place and some of which are to give Africa a strong voice in Scratch community, plan for Scratch Conference in Bordeaux and how Africa can be represented, share our best practices, and more importantly building African Scratch network and have fun. Here are top three things happened which you should know.

Series of presentations

Foondi Workshop: http://www.foondiworkshops.com/

Foondi Workshop of Juliet Wanyiri is a constructionist workshops to individuals that encourages maker movement in Kenya through a variety of topics, from Electronics, Internet of Things to 3D printing modeling in Kenya.

Mekatilili Programshttp://mekatililiprogram.strikingly.com/

Mekatilili Programs of Marian Muthui encourages women to be part of engineering fields and bridge the gap between girls and boys in engineering career.

She Codes for Changehttp://shecodesforchange.org/

She Codes for Change is a Tanzanian based organization that encourages girls in STEM subjects more specifically to get them inspired, educated and equipped with computing skill.

WareFab: http://warefab.com/

WareFab of Mercy Ngoiri is a digital fabrication lab (I would say) that makes educational kits, 3D printing, and other digital technologies in Kenya. Mercy and team have and scratch-n-sketch which can help Scratch export their codes in this board and interact with physical objects.

Cod Cod Codet: www.codcodcodet.comhttp://makermind.ma/

Started in Morocco and now expanding in Angola, Cod Cod Codet of Fleur-Eve Le Foll aims to promote innovation from early childhood through learning how to code and tinker with physical programming.

Kepler Tech Lab also being renamed I4Fab (Innovation for Fabrication): http://keplertechlab.wordpress.com/

Kepler Tech Lab is a social innovation center and engineering teaching laboratory introduce after-school engineering enrichment programs in electronics, computer programming, and Creative Capacity Building to students and local communities in Kigali, Rwanda

Sugar Labs:  https://www.sugarlabs.org/

Sugar Labs represented by Samson Goddy, makes a collection of tools that learners use to explore, discover, create, and reflect. It helps children create their own applications through computer programming. Need to learn more about Sugar Labs.

Easy coding: http://easycoding.tn/

Easy coding of Adel Kassah introduces and teaches students computational thinking, coding microcontroller using Adel’s own Arduino Blocs and other computer programming related subjects.

The host Max at United States International University, Nairobi, Kenya, talks about the most recent coding bootcamp at USIU

Neema Gichaara talks about Tinker Education and its promotion of children and the youth to develop critical thinking, problem-solving, reasoning and communication skills through Computer Science centred STEM education. With its headquarters in South Korea, Tinker Education Ltd. is the Nairobi branch of global educational technology company, EMCAST.








Variety of workshops

Makey Makey

IoT (Internet of Things)


Swahili Version of Scratch

To facilitate over 100,000,000 Swahili speakers be able to use Scratch easily, Scratch Nairobi meeting considered to translate Scratch in Swahili and it is available very soon


We had great convos with Mitchel Resnick and Kreg Hanning.  Mitch is the Professor at the MIT Media Lab, director of the team that develops, coordinates, and supports Scratch and Kreg is a Graduate Student and Research Assistant at MIT Media Lab. Kreg works with a team of developers on Scratch. They both shared with African community the historic background of Scratch and plans for a future version of Scratch (Stay hungry with improved features).

Plan for Bordeaux

Without a plan for Bordeaux, this meeting would not otherwise take place in Nairobi; maybe it would happen but with different purpose. After all activities, there was a room for opportunities to explore how Africans can better be represented in Bordeaux this July 2017. Whoever is going to make Scratch2017BDX should expect incredible presentations, posters, and or ignite talks from Africans.

Did I say movie night among highlights? 🙂

Code to learn: Case of Tanzania- Shecodesforchange

Shecodesforchange started in 2014 and it was an idea born with a focus to inspire girls to take on Science, Technology,Engineering and Mathematics career. I am an engineer and my partners were in experts law and medicine. I was one of two girls sitting in a science class in high schools and again one of two at the university pursuing computer engineering. Despite being out numbered that didn’t not stop us coming out of the top 5% of the class. This shaped my view that girls too can take on STEAM and excel. All that is left to do is to give girls this information through training, mentorship and career guidance.


Photo: 2017 Zonal training at Dar es salaam-Tanzania

Our first support came from the United states department as part of the US Alumni engagement fund which my partners and I qualified for by being Mandela Washington Fellows 2014, from President Obama Young African Leadership Initiative (YALI). We used the funds to train 45 secondary school girls, most of whom had never seen a computer before. We trained in three streams development web, games and makertronics. This landed She codes for change a partnership in implementing Girls in ICT 2016/17 program with the Universal Communication Services Access Fund (UCSAF) – in the Ministry of works, transport and communication in Tanzania. The Girls in ICT programs have been run in two consecutive years, training close to 480 secondary school girls countrywide. Three tiered approach is used, first zone wise six in total each hosting about 40 girls coming from schools within the zone. Then National training that takes on 30 students , a team of 5 from each zone that had a winning project. And the summit is held at the International Telecommunication Unit (ITU) regional headquarters in Addis Ababa. The trainings are mostily focussed on inspiring first timer computer users and we mostly use MIT mobile app inventor in teaching. In Tanzania the mobile phone penetration is about 80%, which makes a mobile application the most understood product.

SCC makes use of scratch in its holiday camps that are up to four weeks long. In the camps girls spend time learning and work on challenges to build prototype solutions using the knowledge gained in the trainings. Our next camp is planned for fourth quoter this year and we plan to make use of some of the boards secured in the Nairobi scratch conference, the makey makey and SparkFun.

One of the huge takeaway from the Nairobi scratch conference is the network of like minded people that are doing various things from design to programing and internet of things to a variety of students from little kids to teenagers and above. I personally did rediscover scratch and understood from talking to father of scratch Mitchel Resnick (via web) that its not a mere programing but rather learning experience and way of expressing oneself.