Refugees Code Week: MENA refugees learn coding skills

Published May 31st, 2016 - 09:19 GMT
Refugee Code Week builds on the success of Africa Code Week 2015, which trained 89,000 youth and thousands of teachers in 17 countries over 10 days. (File photo)
Refugee Code Week builds on the success of Africa Code Week 2015, which trained 89,000 youth and thousands of teachers in 17 countries over 10 days. (File photo)

More than 10,000 refugees in the Middle East and Turkey will receive training in coding skills to support the region's Digital Economy, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and technology firm SAP have announced at the recent World Humanitarian Summit.

In response to UNHCR's call for the private sector to share the burden across these countries, the Refugee Code Week program will run hundreds of free coding workshops and online training courses for youth aged 8-24 from October 15-23, 2016.

Younger participants will learn on the simplified coding platform Scratch. Older participants will learn how to build a website with HTML, CSS, Javascript, PHP, and SQL, along with an introduction to SAP Business One business enterprise software, and potentially a 15-week coding boot camp to become computer engineers ready to be hired. Currently SAP is training teachers for coding, and launching an open SAP platform of online courses.

Refugee Code Week builds on the success of Africa Code Week 2015, which trained 89,000 youth and thousands of teachers in 17 countries over 10 days.

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"Refugee Code Week is a practical example on the role of corporations in impacting the lives of refugees. The global ICT skills will point enormous career opportunities for young refugees. It will be an added value for the refugees themselves and their host communities," said Houssam Chahin, UNHCR's Senior Private Sector Partnerships Officer in MENA.

"By empowering everyone in the community - parents, teachers, volunteers, children, universities, schools, and nonprofits - Refugee Code Week is a unique leverage to put IT education at the heart of education programs for refugees," added Chahin.

Demonstrating their economic benefits, successful integration of refugees could increase countries' GDP by one per cent by 2020, according to the International Monetary Fund. The Open Political Economy Network shows that one Euro of refugee assistance can deliver two Euros in economic benefits within five years across jobs, trade and investment, and innovation. 


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