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Coding Initiative in Afghanistan Fights for Equality

Coding for EqualityCode to Inspire gives female students in Afghanistan equal opportunity.

For three decades, conflict has stunted Afghanistan’s education systems. Just 13 years ago, women and girls in Afghanistan were excluded from educational opportunities, according to USAID. The country continues to suffer from low life expectancy, high under-five mortality rates, illegal drugs and gender-based violence.

At the same time, Afghanistan has managed to improve through the turmoil. With the help of the Afghan government, USAID and international donors, education reforms over the past few years have improved the country’s school systems.

“Today, more than 8 million students are enrolled in school, including more than 2.5 million girls,” reports USAID.

This is exactly what Code to Inspire, a nonprofit that teaches female students in Afghanistan how to code, is building upon. Code to Inspire provides Afghan women with the skills they need to attain technological jobs and start a career in coding.

Fereshteh Forough, the organization’s founder and CEO, champions digital literacy and communication without borders, along with the empowerment of women. Having received a bachelor’s degree from Herat University in Afghanistan and teaching as a professor in its Computer Science Faculty, she saw a gender gap in the computer science field and filled it.

The organization is currently in the fundraising phase, seeking funds to establish a programming center in Herat, Forough told Women in the World. According to the article, Code to Inspire has already met its goal to purchase hardware and equipment for the labs.

However, the coding initiative is not without obstacles. According to the organization, educating women in Afghanistan is still controversial, and many people are still trying to prevent these efforts.

That is why Code to Inspire prepares for local adversity. Their goals include giving their students the opportunity to market their skills to companies outside Afghanistan, where the local wages for such work are not as much as those found elsewhere.

Code to Inspire has already made great strides for women in Afghanistan and is providing high school girls with the tools they need to be successful, independent technological entrepreneurs.

Ashley Tressel

Sources: Code to Inspire, USAID, WarChild, NY Times
Photo: Wikimedia