Code for Humanity

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Code for Humanity: Empowering global entrepreneurs through technology education and web development

Seattle, United StatesMadagascar
Year Founded:
2014
Organization type: 
hybrid
Project Stage:
Established
Budget: 
$1,000 - $10,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Our first program opened in Nosy Be, Madagascar in the summer of 2014. Students of all ages learn the basics of computer skills, coding, and web creation. Through these skills, they are able to build sites to promote entrepreneurial ventures and make a positive impact on their society as a whole.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

people all over the world could create web sites to share their ideas and enterprises with us and with each other?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Although Nosy Be is one of the wealthier regions of Madagascar, it remains one of the poorest in the world, and foreign-owned businesses and investors capture the majority of the wealth. Locally-owned hotels and businesses suffer from a lack of international publicity and are overshadowed by their foreign-owned competitors. With over 77% of Malagasy people living under the poverty line, many individuals have lost all autonomy and hope.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Empowerment of entrepreneurship is a means to end these problems, and Code for Humanity sets out to create an infrastructure and a community that can create their own futures. Our mission is to empower individuals on Nosy Be to create their own opportunity for economic, personal, and community growth. Our strategy to accomplish this is through provision of computer education that is practical, affordable, and relevant. Particularly, we provide courses in technology and web development which allow new organizations to build a foundation and existing organizations to grow.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Our initial 10-week program in Nosy Be was a huge success: with 11 graduates who created websites supporting entrepreneurial endeavors ranging from hotels, to restaurants, to dance clubs, to eco-tourism. One woman in particular stands out: at the onset of the course, she had never used a computer, but was soon busy creating not one but two entrepreneurial web sites. Her plan was to create an enterprise that provided local housing and tours for visitors to Madagascar who did not want to stay in posh resorts, but rather wanted to get a taste of "authentic" Malagasy life. Through her website, her organization has been able to launch, and she is hoping to continue scaling it to offer further services.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

Code for Humanity graduates are not only able to support themselves and better their economic situations through entrepreneurship, they are also empowered to realize the validity of their own ideas and are given the sense of their ability to write their own futures. In addition, the organizations and services they set up through their websites create a positive impact on their community at large, providing locally-owned options for much needed services. Our future looks bright: we are continuing our work in Nosy Be, Madagascar, and hope to expand to another school in the north of Madagascar this coming summer of 2015. We are currently opening our pilot program in Rabat, Morocco, and plan to have it fully established by the end of November 2014. The more students who learn these skills, the more they can share with others, creating a sustainable model of circulating empowerment.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

Our programs in Madagascar and Morocco are just the beginning. We plan to continue our sustainable model in which former students become future teachers, paid by scholarship money and small inscription fees. The potential for global spread is nearly endless: we plan to focus largely on these two countries, but will be open to the developments and partnerships we discover along the journey. In 5 to 10 years, we hope that our students will be creating attention-getting web content and enterprises that connect global entrepreneurs and provide empowerment for locally-owned companies.
Sustainability

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

Our startup costs are minimal-- simply computers (often donated) and internet fees-- and after initial establishment the program is nearly entirely self-sustaining. In addition to small donations, we gain enough money to continue paying teachers and internet fees by building websites for local organizations for a fee. We also charge a small fee from participants to cover ongoing internet costs (scholarships are available).

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

To our knowledge, there are few other organizations in the global space who work to address the lack of coding and technology knowledge in the world, and none in Madagascar. In particular, our organization is unique among educational systems because of its sustainable and scalable model. The results are manyfold: students gain an education, marketable skills, the ability to create their own livelihoods through entrepreneurship, and the possibility of becoming paid teachers for Code for Humanity. Without having to rely on constant donations, CFH will be able to continue this model.
Team

Founding Story

While studying abroad in Madagascar during the fall of 2012, I was impressed by the incredible creativity and entrepreneurial drive I found in individuals there. However, at the same time, I noticed that nearly all of the companies in the country that were turning a profit were foreign-owned, particularly in the tourism sector. As entrepreneurs ourselves, we were struck by others' inability to have these same opportunities to create a business and write their own futures: no matter how much passion we encountered, there simply were not the resources to act on their ideas. That's when we realized what was missing: a way to communicate their ideas and organizations to the rest of the world. And all they needed to do this was basic code.

Team

Our administrative team consists of two co-founders: Nora Studholme and Jared Thomas. We run expansion operations, set up and teach new courses, provide materials and logistical support, and manage finances. In-country in Madagascar, our team is managed by Felana Ramasy, Joel Soatra, and Elias Hassan. These three Nosy Be community members manage the local infrastructure and set up and manage ongoing courses in Madagascar.