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Insight's Brendan Smith bringing coding to young people in Africa and the Middle East

Insight's Brendan Smith had a busy summer again this year. He was seconded once again to continue his work as one of the lead mentors for the Africa Code Week (ACW) and Refugee Code Week (RCW) initiatives that are organised under the auspices of SAP supported by the Galway Education Centre.

Brendan has been doing this since 2015. He has worked in seven African and three Middle Eastern countries providing workshops in coding to teachers, NGOs and business volunteers. His training manuals and videos on the OpenSAP site have benefitted thousands of teachers and mentors not just in Africa and the Middle East but also in South America and Europe.

In 2016 Africa Code Week introduced more than 426,000 young people across 30 countries to basic coding. This was the largest digital literacy initiative ever organised on the African continent.  Brendan’s work in the Middle East includes training in Syrian and Palestinian refugee camps as well as with teachers and schools in the host countries. This summer he was in Tanzania, Botswana (pictured left), Lebanon and soon he will be returning to Jordan. He also recently provided workshops via webinars to teachers and volunteers on the Greek island of Lesbos and to Irbil in Kurdistan Iraq. 

Later this month, he will return to Tanzania to continue his coding mentoring as well as to take part in the official launch of Africa Code Week in Dar es Salaam on October 18th attended by members of the Tanzanian government and by Ciaran Cannon TD Minister of State for International Development.

Building on contacts made in Africa, Brendan is liaising with Adegboyega Ojo, head of the eGovernment unit in Insight@NUI Galway, in an effort to establish sustainable partnership programmes with governments, third level colleges and innovation centres in areas such as developing and implementing Open Data strategies and infrastructure.