After four weeks of going through the Pre-Learning phase, completing the required number of courses on IBM Digital Nation platform, 50 ladies were shortlisted for the Pre-Mest training program. On Friday, 30th November the ladies converged at Soronko Academy and began their journey on becoming junior full-stack web developers with an orientation session. The program started with an introductory message from the CEO of Soronko Academy Mrs. Regina Honu. She introduced herself and spoke about what Soronko Academy stands for and the goal of the academy to train and equip young people especially women with relevant tech skills for the job market. She later handed over to the Mest Team virtually, which was led by Mrs Liana Tamakloe. Mrs Liana introduced the Mest Team and mentioned every individual’s name and their various roles. Later, the Director of training, Mr Femi Adewumi, explained the various programs offered by Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST) and the goal of each programme. Mr Femi Adewumi handed over to the Soronko Team to also introduce themselves. Afterwards, there was an ice breaker activity called “the two truths, one lie” to help the ladies familiarize with each other and to know themselves better. This activity was very interactive and fun to watch. Mrs Liana Tamakloe then took the participants through the course outline, what is expected of them as students throughout the entire training process. She later introduced the trainers and added a brief background of the trainers for the training. There were questions and answers sessions where the ladies asked questions about the program, the soft skills session and the entire selection process. The session ended with the participants signing a commitment form and splitting themselves into two batches to allow room for social distancing as per the COVID19 regulations and precautions. We keenly look forward to the amazing projects that would yield from this 4-weeks training program.
It’s been six weeks of learning digital skills, social media management, how to code using HTML and CSS, and also build responsive websites with WordPress. The participants of Soronko Rotary Girls Coding Project have gone through these weeks also learning how to write a concise CV, gaining soft skills in public speaking and equipping themselves with the skills and knowledge to become entrepreneurs. The participants of the second cohort for the Soronko Rotary Girls Coding Project held their graduation ceremony on Friday, 13th November 2020. The CEO of Soronko Academy, Mrs. Regina Honu, moderated the event with members from Rotary Club Accra-Airport, the staff of Soronko Academy, friends and family of the participants in attendance. The event kicked off with an opening prayer by the HR of Soronko Academy, Ms Annette Agyare, after which they took turns in groups to present their project work. The presentation saw participants presenting websites based on themes assigned to each group. These themes included a website for the Year of Return, which had a bookings page and gallery to guide visitors. There was also a website for a Ghanaian celebrity, Sarkodie which serves as a one-stop location for everything Sarkodie where fans could purchase new music, tickets to events and get alerts and news around the artiste. Another group presented a theme on an e-bakery website and a wine shop where you could order wines from top brands around the world. We were honoured to have Mr Cardoc Mills Lamptey, the past president of Rotary Accra-Airport City, to give a speech at the graduation ceremony. He started by showing the audience a glass with water filled to half its capacity then asked the audience, “is the glass half-filled or half-empty?” Mr Cardoc used this analogy to explain the importance of perspective and how it helps one to be discerning as an individual because, just like the water in the glass, it is right when you say it’s half full and also right when you say it is half empty. Mr Cardoc motivated the ladies to be determined in all spheres as they venture out to put their skills acquired to use. He tasked them to be agents of change and make themselves, Soronko Academy and Rotary proud. The e-counsellor for the project also gave a brief talk on the need for the ladies to make use of counselling and therapy sessions to help them become better individuals themselves. She later presented an award for “Dedicated Distinction” to Ms Patricia Mensah for making efficient use of the career and guidance counselling office at Soronko Academy. Benedicta Dormenyo, Eva Boamah and Bernitta Achaa, were also awarded for their commitments on e-counselling. The best-built website and well-presented project, “Girls In Zongo” a website to highlight the challenges faced by young ladies in Zongo Communities took the third place. The website for a Ghanaian musician, Sarkodie took the second place and “Henry’s Bakery” a website for a bakery that allows its users to place orders and view its available menu, took the first place. The participants were then presented with “Certificates of Completion” by representatives from Rotary Club Accra-Airport City. The event ended with a vote of thanks by Ms Josephine Offei, the Career and Development Advisor of Soronko Academy. The participants, together with the staff of Soronko Academy and representatives of Rotary Club Accra-Airport City took a group picture and networked amongst themselves.
After an extremely thorough selection process, 25 ladies have been selected to partake in the second cohort for the Soronko Rotary Girls Coding Project in collaboration with Rotary Club Limburgerhof/Vorderpfalz and Rotary Club Accra-Airport.
On October 8, 2020, an orientation was held for the Soronko Rotary Girls Coding Project (Cohort 2) at Soronko Academy. Mr Cyril Agbewali, an in-house trainer, briefed the ladies on the mission and values of Soronko Academy. He organized an ice-breaker that allowed everyone to give a brief introduction about themselves and shared their expectations for the program. This gave room for the participants to know each other.
Next, the designated trainer, Ms Ore introduced herself to the participants and then shared a quick review of the training curriculum for the next six weeks. She also encouraged all participants to remain open-minded and motivated to learn. The ladies were taken through the fundamentals of the internet and a brief overview of several google services such as Google Docs, Google Sheets, Google Slides and Blogger. She mentioned that these things would be essential when the class begins.
On Friday, the 18th of September 2020, Soronko Academy graduated the first batch of Rotary Soronko Girls Coding Project. During the graduation ceremony, the ladies presented the various projects they worked on and certificates presentation.
The event drew audience which included Rotarians from Accra-Airport, the Soronko Team, project beneficiaries, members of the press and some students from other Soronko Academy programs. The graduation ceremony officially started with an opening prayer by Miss Beatrice Doku Seyram followed by presentations of project works by the various groups of the graduating Cohort. A total of 7 groups consisting of 3 students presented their works to the audience. We had blogs on Hairbuzz; RJV Recipe; Stay Healthy blog; Lifestyle doses; Steam Danza; KeySpeakup, among others.
Mrs Regina Honu, the CEO of Soronko Academy acted in the capacity of the M.C for the event.The keynote speaker for the occasion, Mrs Theresa Osei Tutu centred her speech on “becoming a change leader/Agent’ with highlights on her life experiences, inspiration, among others. Mrs Osei queried a student of an observation she made during her presentation, she asked why she used more western contents and images in their slides but did not consider the black contents. Among the answers given by the students included the fact that there were a few or no black contents on the internet concerning what they were working on.
In that regard, the keynote speaker argued that the women had the potential to manifest their realities and be more successful. She also encouraged them to get involved by bridging the gap of inadequacy or absence of black contents on the internet. Mrs Osei spoke on how complacency and lack of self-confidence had affected the minds of many and challenged the youth and older generations to accept things as it is, and retarded them from exhibiting their full potential. Wrapping up with her speech, she shared Marrianne Williamson’s quote “our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate, our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure, it is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us”. Mrs Osei ended her speech with the quote, “if it is to be, it is up to me” – by William Johnson.
The next speaker, Rotarian President Nana Gyamfi Acheampong of Rotary Club Accra-Airport, focused his speech on how the young girls and the youth, in general, could make maximum use of the skills they had acquired and solve societal problems. He attested to the fact that Soronko Academy had shown great capabilities in training and empowering young women to enter the workstream and create opportunities in the job markets.
The Hairbuzz group was announced as the group with the best presentation and project for the first cohort with prizes. Hairbuzz is a blog where individuals could visit and get hair styling tips and advice. Certificates were awarded to each participant, which were presented by representatives of Rotary Club Accra-Airport. There was a group picture taken with all beneficiaries and partners of the project.#mydigitalskills#rotaryopensopportunities#soronkostories#soronkoimpacts#soronkorotarygirlscodingproject
On Wednesday, 16th of September 2020, Soronko Academy hosted a training session on digital literacy for women farmers in collaboration with Network For Women’s Rights In Ghana(NETRIGHT). A total of 20 women were in attendance.
The project manager of Soronko Academy, Miss Delphina Agyare, welcomed the women into the academy and introduced Mr Cyril Agbewali as the lead trainer for the day. Mr Agbewali began with an ice breaker activity called 2 Truths,1 Lie. The women were asked to write down two truths and a lie about themselves, after which they picked at random to read out loud and identify who it belonged to.
After this, the women were taken through mobile photography and videography by Mr Jerry Aidoo, the media officer at Soronko Academy. He described mobile photography as the act of capturing images on a mobile device. He went on to discuss 3 basic features to look out for when purchasing a mobile device for picture taking purposes. The first feature he mentioned was Megapixels (Resolutions). The resolution or detail of an image is determined by the number of megapixels of the camera. A picture taken with a 5MP camera will not have as much detail as one taken with a 20MP camera. It’s a good start to find out the number of megapixels your device has before purchasing.
The second feature was Image/Video Stabilization. This feature is becoming common in most high-end mobile devices, image stabilization gives you very steady and sharp photos, this feature would also give great video movement without you needing to be a pro. The third feature was HDR/Zoom (Software Addons). It is good to look out for camera’s that also have good zoom and High definition (HDR) capabilities as they could also greatly improve your photos.
Mr Aidoo’s next topic was Creating a visual identity for your product or brand. He spoke about product presentation, knowing your target audience, messaging, understanding your brand elements and how to use them. He stated that every product or business should have a unique way to communicate its presence and engage an audience. He gave an example of a physical product such as jewellery. This would have to represented in a way that shows the most unique parts of the jewellery and also how it would look when worn. This helps your potential client imagine how it would look, he added.
A practical session of taking pictures was followed after this. The trainer aided the women in applying the few tips he had given on mobile photography into practice. The women were eager to show their photography skills at this point as they now acknowledged the importance of a good picture for a product or a brand. Mr Aidoo displayed a short video on how to photograph their farm produce and also took them through a few photo editing apps they could use to edit their pictures and images as well. The class went on an hour lunch break after this.
Mr Agbewali, the lead trainer for the day, took over after the break. He spoke on two Social Media platforms (Facebook & Whatsapp). He began by showing the women how to create a Facebook account and page for their businesses. He gave insights on how the women could use the social media platform to their advantage. Facebook goes beyond posting pictures and liking them, there are countless things you could do there, Mr Agbewali stated. He also showed them how they could gain attention to their pages.
He then also took the ladies through the tools and interfaces of Whatsapp for business. He assisted the women in setting up their accounts also. The next was how to use Mobile money to track their expenditure and requesting a statement on the account. Miss Delphina Aggyare, Project Manager of Soronko Academy, presented certificates of completion to the participants after their training and she encouraged the women to continue to apply what they had learnt from the academy in their daily lives from henceforth. They took a group picture with their newly acquired certificates to crown up the day.
The Soronko Rotary Business Solution Center was launched on 9th September 2020 on the Soronko Academy premises as part of the Rotary Soronko Girls Coding Project. The Soronko Rotary Business Solutions Center is a practical training space where participants of the Rotary Soronko Girls Coding Project upon completion of their Digital skills program would intern for a set period of time gaining industry skills in industry fields such as web design and development, digital marketing, social media management, software development and more.
The occasion began with an opening prayer from the founder and CEO of Soronko Academy, Mrs Regina Honu. Rotarian Governor Williams was the Chairperson of the occasion and delivered an exceptional speech and noted the importance and relevance of making tech inclusive for girls in Ghana and across the world, He stated the importance of the Rotary Soronko Girls Coding Project in achieving this goal. He also encouraged the participants of the project to take their studies seriously and become innovative in the tech space and take charge of building amazing products.
During his speech, he made mention of how the participants could draw inspiration from the country directors for IMB and Google who are also women and to strive for the very best in achieving success in a male-dominated industry. He ended by encouraging the girls to take advantage of the Rotary Soronko Girls Coding Project and the business solutions center to upgrade themselves with the necessary skills required for the industry.
The event continued with the tape cutting ceremony to officially Launch the Rotary Soronko Business Solutions Center, Rotarian Governor Williams did the honours of cutting the tape on behalf of the Rotary Club Limburgerhor/Volderpfalz, Rotary Accra-Airport and Soronko Academy. Members of Rotary Accra-Airport, the staff of Soronko Academy and other invited guest took turns in inspecting the centre and interacting with some of the beneficiaries who would be managing the center.
They were thrilled and loved the equipment and space provided for the beneficiaries to learn and upgrade their skills within the Tech Industry. The occasion ended on a great note, with our women eager to start providing solutions at the Business Solution Center.
After six exciting weeks of digital skills training which started on 20th, July 2020, came to an end on Friday, 28th August 2020. Throughout the course, students developed critical skills in Social Media Marketing, Website Development with WordPress, and Google Suite. The six-week course has equipped the students with a variety of digital and soft skills in Branding, Public Speaking, Mental Health Awareness and Resilience.
Being the last day, the students presented their beautifully designed portfolio websites which they worked tirelessly to create. Their websites were a portfolio about their businesses which included their CV, education, professional skills, technical skills, location and contact. The Staff of Soronko who were present were truly impressed with what the women had accomplished. After the presentation, the Project Manager of Soronko Academy, Miss Delphina Agyare admonished the students to use what they had been taught and also expressed how she loved their unity towards each other. She also presented an award to the student with the best website.
Each participant was awarded a certificate of completion by a Soronko Academy staff member. The students also dedicated a citation to the CEO of Soronko Academy, Mrs Regina Honu for giving them such a remarkable opportunity to learn digital skills for free and also for all her time and dedication toward helping women. The women also presented a gift card to their trainer, Cyril Agbewali for his dedication and commitment to teaching them.
The celebration culminated in a group photo to capture everyone’s achievements. At the end of class, there were some sad goodbyes as the students parted ways, but everyone was grateful for the experiences and education they had received.
We thank them for their eagerness to learn and constant enthusiasm to explore new skills.
On Monday, 10th of August 2020, the much-anticipated opening ceremony of the Soronko Rotary Girls Coding Project came off.
The project which is in collaboration with Rotary Club Limburgerhof/Vorderpfalz and Rotary Club of Accra-Airport
with support from Rotary International was launched by Rotarian President Nana Gyamfi.
20 young women were selected to be part of the first cohort. Before the opening ceremony, there was as an orientation session. The participants were allocated laptops to take an initial digital skills assessment test in the bid to help the academy better understand their digital skill-level. As part of the project, 10 new laptops were procured to ensure that each young woman is assigned a personal laptop to be used for the duration on the class.
After the president’s address, there was a presentation of 100 face masks donated by the Rotary Club of Accra-airport.
We had a special video message from Daniel Schmid of Rotary Club of Limburgerhof/Vorderpfalz. As a way of ensuring the sustainability of the project, and also to provide the opportunity for the participants to gain some practical experience, Rotarian Holger Adam outlined some details of the post-training Business Solution Centre. The project beneficiaries would work at the business solution services providing B2B digital services to businesses in Accra.
The ceremony ended with hearing from the ladies on why they wanted to be a part of the program and what they hoped to do with their new digital skills. There were post-event networking activities which included some delicious lollipop pancakes from Petite Dejeuner. All-in-all, it was a successful opening ceremony.
Special thanks to all the partners for making this happen
Orientation for the Women in Digital Skills 9.0 Cohort was held on 20th July 2020, with a presentation by Soronko Academy’s Trainer Cyril Agbewali. They began with an icebreaker session to break the silence and warm-up conversations among the participants.
The trainer posed several questions to those in attendance, to better understand the aspirations of the participants.
It was soon evident that many hoped to open businesses of their own, and look for the skills and tools provided by Soronko Academy to help them to succeed in their various fields of interest.
The trainer then gave them insights into the course outline and the development opportunities provided by the Academy. They ended the class with a Kahoot session with excitement and determination from the ladies to get the right answers to the questions.
Day 10 is finally here. This marks the last session of the National Female Pre-Tech Training Program. As usual, the class began with a recap on some subject matters that the trainer had talked about on the subsequent days, this was to ensure that, as much as possible, no participant was left behind.
At this point, all the participants were conversant with creating websites. However, these websites they had developed could only be accessed on their laptops. This called for the need to treat the topic, deployment.
Deployment of a website is the process of uploading one’s website from a computer to a server so it can be available to the public. The trainers also discussed with the participants how to purchase a domain and some of the processes involved.
As the class progressed, there was the need to apply the concepts; ” stage a change” and “commit a change” when using Git and Github. The ladies also learnt how to use Netlify when deploying their projects.
The trainers, being convinced that the participants were now familiar with the processes involved in deployment finally tasked them to deploy their websites. Few of the ladies had challenges in doing this but the trainer did his maximum best to help them rectify all those problems. They also gave room for open questions and attended to them all.
Today being the final day, the ladies got treated to a sumptuous meal, after which they took turns in presenting their websites. At Soronko Academy, Mrs Regina Honu, with the assistance of Baaba from Ghana Tech Lab, awarded certificates of completion to the participants. The ladies took pictures together and exchanged contacts as this was the last day some might see each other.
On this note, the National Female Pre-tech Training Program, which took place at Soronko Academy, Grassroots Hub, Northern Innovation Lab, Dansyn Innovation Social Organisation, Eastern Hub and Yison Tech Hub from 22nd July- 3rd June has been duly completed.
Special Thanks to Mastercard Foundation, Young Africa Works, The World Bank, Ministry of Communications Ghana and Ghana Tech Lab for making this possible.#PretechDiaries