For those of you who are familiar with Indigo, you will know that our core focus is on how to leverage the power of new technologies for social change in Africa. It may come as something of a surprise, therefore, to learn that we have awarded a grant of £10,000 to the British organisation Young Rewired State(YRS). YRS is a network of developers aged 18 and under who have an aptitude for coding or designing for the internet. YRS aims to ‘find, nurture and support the next generation of tech entrepreneurs, helping them to build a better Britain’. Without the kind of support and collaborative atmosphere offered by YRS, young coders are all too often isolated. YRS exists to remove many of the barriers faced by young geeks and to bring young developers out of their bedrooms and provide a public platform that will allow them to showcase their talents and ideas. This video explains what this event means to those involved:
Each year, YRS organise a national hack week during which young coders are tasked with designing and building digital products for mobile and web that use at least one piece of open data. Our grant will be used to support various aspects of the nationwide hack week, which this year will take place between 6 and 11 August. The event is now in its fourth year and hopes to attract almost 400 young developers at a number of centres dotted around the country. This year, the coding week will culminate in a show-and-tell Saturday at the National Museum of Computing at Bletchley Park, at which the young coders from around the country will be given the chance to pitch their ideas to leading lights from the worlds of business, government and press.
So, why have we decided to sponsor them? The truth is that we think this is an incredibly valuable event and we don’t know of any similar such initiative anywhere else in the world. There’s no reason why other countries – including those in Africa – shouldn’t have programmes and events similar to this to help develop, nurture and stimulate young people with an interest in tech, coding and developing. If our work at Indigo has taught us anything, it’s that there is a wealth of tech talent across Africa and, given the right support, it can create products and services that are the equals of anything Europe or the US can produce.
If you’re a young coder based in the UK or believe you have the skills necessary to act as a mentor, then be sure to head over to the YRS website and apply. We’ll be at the show-and-tell and we’re just hoping that the young coders won’t make us feel too technically inadequate.