Coder Girls 2018

The 3rd session of Coder Girls Initiative, Coder Girls: Getting started with Robotics, took place between 25th February 2018 and 3rd March 2018 at Naya Yatra’s office at Sitapaila, Kathmandu. Coder Girls, an initiative that started as an experiment in 2015, has now grown into a platform where girls of different ages and background come together to learn the basics of Computer Science and share their experience with other girls.

Coder Girls Initiative started in 2015, when Naya collaborated with Women Development Society (WODES) to organize an internship program for selected students from various colleges around Kathmandu to change the way people look at girls in technological fields. The 3-month internship program focused on Javascript/Application development and gave the girls an opportunity to implement their knowledge in real-world programming scenarios. At the end of the program, as their final project, the participants explored the possibility of creating an inexpensive interactive whiteboard. The project examined the possibility of turning any surface into a touchscreen. Expanding on this idea, the girls created an interactive application that could turn any surface into a whiteboard where the user could write using an IR pen and the information written on this whiteboard could be securely broadcasted to the computers connected to a network. Many of the students continued working on the application even after the end of the internship program and one student went on to expand the concept as a part of her final year project under the name “Shikshyalaya” (“House of Education”). The project focused on broadening the whiteboard application so that it could be used to reach and teach the students in rural areas where resources are extremely limited. Since the completion of this project, two rural schools in Chitwan are using Shikshyalaya. The classes are being delivered from the premises of St. Xavier’s College, Kathmandu and the students as well as the teachers of the schools in Chitwan are extremely happy and satisfied with the quality education they are receiving with the help of this distance-learning project.

Encouraged by the success of the first two sessions of Coder Girls Initiative, Coder Girls 2018 decided to go a step further and introduce more complicated concepts. In the joint collaboration of Naya, Women Development Society (WODES), SOS Kinderdörfer Weltweit and Axis International, the 3rd session of Coder Girls focused on introducing the basics of Computer Science, Electrical Engineering and Mechanical Engineering to help the participants get started with robotics. The 7-day fun workshop was centered around micro:bit, an ARM based embedded system designed by the Micro:bit Educational Foundation. Coder Girls 2018 focused on using micro:bit to develop gesture controlled mini-bots that could compete in a game of football.

Through intensive selection, girls with varying degree of knowledge in programming and microcontrollers were chosen for the Coder Girls 2018 workshop. In order to cater to the wide range of knowledge levels among the participants, the basics of programming were first explained before more complicated concepts were explored. Since Coder Girls Initiative strongly believes in the concept of learning by doing, each theory session was followed by practical session to allow the participants to put the theory to use.

The program started with the very basic ideas but by the end of the workshop, the participants were able to build complex gestured controlled mini-bots. The last day of the event featured a football match between the mini-bots as a grand finale. The participants as well as the audience thoroughly enjoyed the match and were in awe of how the gesture-controlled mini-bot, that was seemingly complicated, could be accomplished in a short period of 7 days. The participants had a lot of fun during the workshop and were very excited and enthusiastic about continuing with robotics. We look forward to their creations in the future.

The commitment and the spirit of the participants as well as our supporters have encouraged us to continue with the Coder Girls. We promise to come back with even better program in the future.

More information regarding the Coder Girls Initiative 2018 can be found at: