Volunteer network Code Club has gone global, with the aim of having coding communities in 50% of the world’s countries by the end of 2018.
Code Club World has estimated it will create more than 14,000 clubs, reaching nearly 600,000 children, and the organisation is on the hunt for international partners willing to offer support.
Code Club is a network of after-school clubs run by volunteers in UK primary schools. The initiative was founded in 2012 and now has more than 2,000 clubs throughout the country, having taught 28,000 children how to code. It is funded by Raspberry Pi and Google.
Former head of Code Club Pro and now head of Code Club World Sophie Dean said the organisation is not able to develop on its own.
“Code Club by its nature is a community grown grassroots movement and we’re searching for people to continue the movement in their own country,” she said.
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Code Club World is looking to replicate its network on a global basis, which requires volunteers willing to talk to schools and raising awareness of computer science in education, engineering, academia, the government, as well as with regulators, schools, parents and children.
Countries wanting to set up Code Clubs can download and translate the organisation’s materials and create their own website using Code Club’s source code.
“We provide materials, a website and a volunteering framework,” said Dean. "We also offer any advice and support needed to grow each country’s community. We are a sharing community, so we ask if you translate and build material please continue to share them with us so others can use them."
According to Dean, Code Club World is providing the necessary tools, but they need to be put to work in a way that suits the location.
“Localisation is so important,” she said. "There are nuances from some countries that you cannot understand unless you are from there. Each country has different attitudes to education, coding and volunteering so each country needs people locally who understand that.”
Code Club World is already in 50 countries, including Hong Kong, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Kenya, Latin America, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Philippines, Pakistan, Poland, Spain, South Africa, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, USA and Vietnam.
Code Club Brazil started a network of clubs in early 2014 and already has 45 clubs running across the country, while Code Club Australia has just started a pilot and already has 20 clubs up and running.
Dean added: “We didn’t realise there would be such a huge appetite for it. It’s such an important global issue and a global movement towards coding will make a better future.”
She said both Code Club and Code Club World does not encourage every student to take up careers at programmers, however it aims to stress the importance of digital skills needed in a range of jobs including animation, architecture, journalism, music and the arts.