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Coding Bootcamp meets Refugee Camp

Southern New Hampshire University will bring coding bootcamps to its refugee campuses, providing pathways to apprenticeships & employment.

Photo of Chrystina Russell

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EXPLAIN YOUR IDEA

The refugee crisis – with 65.3 million displaced worldwide – is a dramatic acceleration of a decades-long trend. The average duration for protracted displacement is now 26 years, leaving generations without higher education or employment opportunities. 6.7 million refugees remain confined to camps and informal settlements; others try to survive under the radar in cities. The millions of displaced E Africans - a majority of whom are youth - face uncertain futures and risk of becoming a “lost” generation. Without education employment credentials, disenfranchised youth are vulnerable to radicalization and recruitment, and also remain ill-prepared for leadership roles. To solve this problem, SNHU is committed to providing U.S. accredited Bachelor's degrees to refugee students in Rwanda. Additionally, the university is committed to not only educating students, but ensuring they have pathways to employment. In this context, SNHU plans to bring Actualize coding bootcamp to the campus. Students will be trained in web development skills for 12 weeks using the campus resources. Following, students will engage in a 6 week apprenticeship with Actualize and build a portfolio. Following, students will be supported in finding digital work and trained to teach other refugees how to code, increasing the number of beneficiaries with skills. Given the discrimination faced by refugees, this work will be tracked and disseminated to governments as a policy and advocacy brief.

WHO BENEFITS?

The primary beneficiaries will be Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) students at Kiziba refugee camp. However, students will also be trained as leaders and teachers, enabling for the web development skills created in the bootcamps to be spread to other camps that SNHU plans to expand to in Kenya. However, SNHU students need not be the only beneficiaries. The university plans to track and document student progress in the programs, creating a policy brief to advocate for refugee workers.

TELL US MORE ABOUT YOU

Southern New Hampshire Univ is a non-profit institution serving over 85,000 students across three different methods of degree completion. SNHU exists to transform lives, and has been meeting that mission in Rwanda since 2013; it is particularly proud of its participation in Kiziba refugee camp.

WHERE WILL YOUR IDEA BE IMPLEMENTED?

  • Kenya
  • Rwanda

EXPERIENCE IN IMPLEMENTATION COUNTRY(IES)

  • Yes, for more than one year.

EXPERTISE IN SECTOR

  • I’ve worked in a sector related to my idea for over a year

HOW HAS YOUR IDEA CHANGED BECAUSE OF BENEFICIARY FEEDBACK?

We held a workshop with students to prototype and redesign our idea and the user experience map. Main feedback from potential beneficiaries centred around concerns about the proposed coursework schedule, as university students felt they could not take a 12 week-intensive course on top of their regular coursework and responsibilities. Students brainstormed solutions in their prototyping group and suggested that the program be extended to 22 weeks or run during an independent summer session. Students also suggested that the pre-course work should be a blended learning module, due to challenges with internet. Another suggestion was to hold classes in the afternoon in order to better support female students. Students also requested that more support be offered to students to pursue additional internships and employment connections after the apprenticeship phase. We received positive feedback about the idea's focus on gaining practical skills, and students were excited to become instructors and mentors for refugees in other camps. Students were also enthusiastic about being able to work remotely for overseas companies, since refugees face discrimination for employment in East Africa.

HOW IS YOUR IDEA UNIQUE?

Our solution is unique because it works within an existing program bringing higher education to refugee students in East Africa. Students in our blended learning program earn a US BA degree from SNHU while living in a refugee camp, and develop strong technology skills and computer literacy. This means students have strong foundational tech skills that are critical for computer coding. An impact evaluation showed that students enrolled in the SNHU/Kepler university program greatly outperformed other Rwandan university students in comparative control groups in computer literacy, with an average difference of 25.0 pp (2.22 SD). This is a unique advantage of our program, since technological literacy for many youth in East Africa is a significant initial barrier to computer coding training. An additional advantage is our existing campus in Kiziba refugee camp, equipped with laptops, internet, and other resources which will greatly reduce the required resources for the project. Additionally our partnership with Actualize is key for our success; their US-designed courses train complete beginners to become fully-trained and employable computer programmers in 12 weeks.

WHY DO YOU THINK THAT THE PROBLEM YOUR IDEA SOLVES FOR HAS NOT BEEN SOLVED?

Although there is a great need for computer programming proficiencies - both in global marketplaces as well as within East Africa - it is difficult for many youth to obtain the training or skills necessary for developing competencies in computer coding. Many students - including national university-level students - are not equipped with sufficient skills in technology or computer literacy that makes it possible to build upon or utilise the resources available for learning computer coding. In addition, even for self-taught computer programmers, it can be difficult to find the necessary connections to employers; they need support to find initial opportunities to gain experience and employment.

WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR UNANSWERED QUESTIONS ABOUT THIS IDEA?

We are curious about how students who complete the computer training bootcamp may be able to use these skills in unintended ways and in unexpected areas. We know that our students are creative and resourceful, and that placing such skills in their hands will result in innovative externalities and spinoff solutions, such as development of new programs or mobile apps. We also want to learn more about the local market demand for computer coding skills in East Africa, particularly given the rapidly developing demand for technology-competent in both public and private sector institutions, in particular new tech start-up industries, to better prepare students for local labour markets.

IS THIS IDEA NEW FOR YOU OR YOUR ORGANIZATION?

This idea is new for our organisation, but builds upon our existing work in Kiziba refugee camp, and also fundamentally aligns with our mission and values to expand opportunities for higher education, technology skills, and employment opportunities to refugees in East Africa. Although our program has a strong focus on computer literacy, we have not been able to offer more specific training or courses in advanced computer training such as coding. By partnering with specialists to bring both their pedagogical and curriculum expertise to the program, our students will development a highly employable skill that will be needed to set them apart in the East African marketplace, especially given the disadvantages that they aleady face as refugees in the region. This idea also aligns with a previous track record of identifying and adapting skill-specific interventions to support students in developing in-demand skill sets for the local job market. Additionally, our existing program emphasises employment experience, with mandatory internships and employment counselling for all students. Therefore the apprenticeship component of our idea will build upon and expand our existing expertise.

WHO WILL IMPLEMENT THIS IDEA?

The partnership team for this idea will be led by the SNHU global engagement team, including the Vice President for Global Engagement and the Director of Refugee Programs. We will work with our university program implementing partners, as well as Actualize team members to deliver the course on-the-ground in refugee camps. Actualize will lead on course content and apprenticeships, with support from the SNHU team as well as trained student leaders from our Kigali and refugee campuses.

Introduction & Rationale

Actualize is a web development bootcamp and apprenticeship with cohorts in Chicago, NYC, and San Francisco. Actualize trains graduates to develop the mindset and skills to transition to full-time software engineering, empowering them to launch rewarding lives and careers.

The Actualize team are educators before all else, and their commitment to educational best practices and pedagogy enables our students to become job-ready web developers. Following the bootcamp, graduates work as part-time developers with The Difference Engine building projects for our clients, gaining real-world experience and creating portfolios that will be impressive to prospective employers.

Southern New Hampshire University is a non profit university program that first partnered with on-the-ground NGO Kepler in 2013. Our first campus, in Kigali, was designed to develop a low cost, high quality model for higher education that can be scaled across Africa over the next decade with the goal of delivering the skills that emerging economies need for a price that any promising student can afford.

SNHU currently offers U.S. accredited associate and bachelor degrees in partnership with Kepler. The first group of SNHU students in Rwanda graduated with bachelor’s degrees in June 2016. The program expanded within Rwanda in August 2015 through a pilot project at the Kiziba refugee camp in Western Rwanda.

A large focus of the degree work in Rwanda in partnership with Kepler is not only centered on earning a U.S. credential, but also a program that builds professional competencies, job readiness, and skills which prepare students for success as an employee or entrepreneur. The Rwandan government, with its Vision 2020 program, is focusing on development of a knowledge-based economy, with particular emphasis on supporting technology growth and entrepreneurship. A partnership between Actualize and SNHU, made possible by IDEO, would offer students an invaluable opportunity to gain web development skills that would increase their employment competitiveness in the emerging tech market and the ability to start their own web based enterprise. The partnership is also an opportunity for Actualize to expand the diversity of its student base and explore curriculum application and student learning in an unique environment.

Proposed Time Commitment for Initial Bootcamp--After receiving feedback from our beneficiaries, we have revised the proposed schedule as follows:

Option 1)

22 weeks of instruction

10-12 hours a week (2-4 hours of course time daily), 3-5 days per week

2 hours a week of Office Hours support (before/after classes)

(2-4 days of academic break & potential Rwandan holidays)

Following:

6 hours a week of class time (3 hours of course time 2 times a week)

(Additional time for students trained as leaders and teaching in expansion camps).

Option 2)

Optional summer break course which would include:

12 weeks of instruction

20 hours a week (4 hours of course time daily), Monday through Friday (10:30-12:30, 1:30-3:30)

4 hours a week of Office Hours support (before/after classes)

(2 days of academic break & potential Rwandan holidays)

Following:

6 hours a week of class time (3 hours of course time 2 times a week)

(Additional time for students trained as leaders and teaching in expansion camps).

Proposed Program Details

The proposed partnership between Actualize and SNHU would offer a coding bootcamp and full six week apprenticeship to students at the Kiziba refugee camp campus. The bootcamp classes would take place at the Kiziba campus with 50 students. Courses will use current student laptops, the internet provided on campus, and the televisions in classrooms.

The course would require a total of 48 hours of class time, with mandatory and optional office hours offered. The apprenticeship would consist of students working in small groups to apply their skills in computer programming to support local NGOs. This would require about 15 hours of work per week from students. Actualize will be fully responsible for locating apprenticeship partners and facilitating student work. Students would decide after the bootcamp whether to enroll in the apprenticeship, and their enrollment would require instructor approval.

Within the context of the SNHU program, the bootcamp and apprenticeship would be defined as “modules” and be subject to all current Kiziba module policies. Students who complete the module would earn credit for all of their technology module requirements.

Mark Richardson, an Actualize instructor, would be fully responsible for all instruction and assessment using Actualize curriculum. SNHU Kiziba students would sign a contract regarding the Intellectual Property of Actualize, which stipulates that all materials and documents provided in connection with the program are the sole property of Actualize and may not used or distributed outside of the program. Actualize will provide PDFs of current course materials, which SNHU may modify, rebrand, and use in any future courses offered by SNHU but usable only in East Africa. SNHU will sign a Intellectual Property agreement, specifying those terms. Mark Richardson will informally train staff working as co-teachers with him during the bootcamp and apprenticeship.

Once students have been accepted to the program they will meet with a Kiziba academic staff member to review the course requirements and policies and be given access to the three-weeks of pre-course work. All pre-course work must be completed before the start of classes in order for students to participate.

Following the class, the most promising students will be trained as teachers. They will be taken to SNHU's expansion to camps in Kenya, to ensure future students are also trained in coding while also helping to scale the program. Overall, students gain both economic and psychological empowerment through participation in the program. 

Additions to the proposal based on expert and beneficiary feedback & Prototyping

Further Definition, Development, and Explanation of Pathways to Employment

    Both beneficiaries and expert feedback suggest the Coding Bootcamp should further explain pathways and relationships to employment. On one hand, this means we are not clearly communicating the track record of success Actualize has with apprenticeships and employment, which is the reason we chose to partner with them on this project. On the other, it means we also need to consider the work we've done with pathways to employment in our Kigali program and build upon these relationships and systems for this program. To improve this, we met with a focus group of students to show our prototyped poster and explain that the reason we are working with Actualize is because they include up to a 4-month apprenticeship with employers to build the skills and a portfolio needed to lead to employment. After, they continue to utilize their employer relationships to post and offer jobs to graduates. Currently, Actualize graduates with apprenticeship portfolios in hand have a 90% employment rate. We then asked students how we could better communicate the employment pathways of the program. They suggested we should: 1) have graduates on hand to talk to the students, 2) better define the apprenticeships portion of the poster, 3) advertise employment rates, 4) better describe that jobs are digital and can be both within and outside of East Africa, 5) list the employers that Actualize graduates have worked with in the past, and 6) meet with ministries to demonstrate there is partnership and government support. Due to this feedback, we are now aware of how to better communicate the employment pathways available to Actualize graduates. 

    Additionally, SNHU's campus in partnership with Kepler in Kigali has a 96% employment rate of graduates. This has been created through building relationships, placing students in internships before graduation, and building modular learning that responds to the needs and feedback of employers. The coding bootcamp meets refugee camp allows for our employment pathways to be expanded to the digital realm. Using similar systems to the campus in Kigali, refugee employment pathways for coding will include: 1) contacting employers and discussing the skills that students have and advocating for internships, 2) actively posting and connecting students to jobs, 3) working with government ministries to get government assistance and buy-in in the employment process, 4) using the website to showcase student skills and create a platform where students and employers can connect digitally, 5) working in collaboration with Actualize to ensure refugee graduates of Actualize maintain the same employment rates as American graduates, 6) creating a digital employment advisory board, where employers give feedback on the skills of graduates, and what they'd like to see improved. Similar to the Kigali campus, modular learning units will be created to address employer needs and share feedback with the students, and 7) continuing to build upon employment relationships that are already developed through the Kigali campus to advertise student coding skills, as well as continue to grow the employment network for students. 

Creating Partnerships to Strengthen the Coding Bootcamp Meets Refugee Camp Plan

    Comments to the project and expert feedback suggested that meeting with government entities would be a strong way to improve the program and ensure its success. Therefore, during our improvement and prototyping phase, we also arranged to meet with the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Youth and ICT. They examined our proposal on the platform and offered feedback for improvement, which included some of the employment suggestions above as well as creative thinking around scheduling (reflected earlier in this proposal) give that was the most commonly mentioned piece of beneficiary feedback. 

    These meetings also indicated that ministries would be willing to support the program for refugees, as well as include the program on its websites and help with employment connections for students. As the program grows to other countries, the ministries were also keen on introducing us to ministries they work with in the East African region. Last, we all agreed that once instruction began, that the ministries come out and visit the program and meet with Actualize to offer additional feedback and synergy around partnership. 

Overall, the comments on the platform, beneficiary feedback, expert feedback, and our prototyping process offered us great insight into how to improve the program before launching. These insights have been invaluable and have greatly increased the likelihood of student success both in the program and in employment once completing the bootcamp learning and apprenticeship/portfolio portions of the program. 



SHARE ONE SENTENCE ABOUT THE IMPACT YOU WOULD LIKE THIS PROJECT TO HAVE FIVE YEARS FROM NOW, AND ONE QUESTION YOU NEED TO ANSWER TO GET THERE.

In 5 years, this project plans to impact the employment rate of East Africans by ensuring 5,000 graduates job placement through providing students with the coding skills, portfolio development through professional experience, and connections to employment required for success. One question we need to answer to get there is: Are the employment rates of international students in the Actualize program going to be the same as those of American participants?

MY ORGANIZATION'S OPERATING BUDGET FOR 2015 WAS:

  • Above $1,000,000

MY INTENDED BENEFICIARIES ARE:

  • Within 50 km of where our team does most of its work

HOW LONG HAVE YOU AND YOUR COLLEAGUES BEEN WORKING ON THIS PILOT PROJECT TOGETHER?

  • More than a year

WHY ARE YOU INTERESTED IN JOINING AMPLIFY'S PORTFOLIO OF INNOVATORS?

We are interested in joining Amplify’s portfolio of innovators because we’ve had a track record of success in the initial stages of our pilot, but we want to continue to iterate on the program and ensure we have a rigorous planning and design process that ensures we bring the best to our students. We know the amplify portfolio of innovators will offer us essential critical feedback to improve our programs as we move forward in ensuring students gain earn gainful employment as software engineers.
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Team (6)

Chrystina's profile
Ashley's profile
Ashley Haywood

Role added on team:

"Ashley is a leadership coach on the campus. She'll be invaluable in ensuring the successful implementation of the curriculum."

Mupenzi's profile
Mupenzi Rubangura

Role added on team:

"Rubangura is a part of the first cohort of students, and will be a leader in collecting and analyzing beneficiary feedback, as well as collaborating to design solutions according to student needs."

Nina's profile
Nina Weaver

Role added on team:

"Nina is the SNHU Director of Refugee Education Programs. She will lead the on-the-ground partnership with SNHU, Actualize, and our students to implement our project idea!"

Heritier's profile
Heritier Muhire

Role added on team:

"Heritier has worked in Kiziba with students and is also a technological expert. He'll add the perspective of understanding beneficiaries as well as technical expertise needed for the project."

Buranga's profile
Buranga Divine

Role added on team:

"As a female student in the Kiziba refugee campus, Divine will be a key informant into making sure our program meets the needs of female participants. SNHU's campus, in partnership with Kepler in Kiziba camp is proudly serving 50% male and 50% female students, ensuring gender equity."

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Attachments (7)

Prototype-SNHU-Kepler-Actualize.JPG

After going through the process of deciding what to prototype, our team decided to both hold meetings with key government ministries (included in the narrative section) as well as create this poster. The goal was to better understand how to use our communication with students to describe how the program leads to pathways to employment. The post and discussion that followed with students and experts enabled us to think about how to refine our message and improve this proposal.

Amplify Prototype 1.JPG

Amplify Prototype 1, 2,3 outline our team's process in thinking through what we needed to prototype. There was a lot of healthy debate about what was most important--great discussions!

Redesigned user experience map.pdf

This is our redesigned user experience map, which has been revised in collaboration with our student beneficiaries. During a participatory prototyping workshop, students offered suggestions and improvements to build a new experience map. As a result, our user Claudine engages in a coding bootcamp experience that works with her schedule while giving her the skills for work and equips her as a leader. Most importantly Claudine is empowered with choices through her participation in the program.

Re-designing our OpenIDEO User Experience Map.pdf

Students at SNHU's Kiziba refugee camp campus (some of our potential beneficiaries) offered comments and feedback on our original user experience map during the prototyping workshop. Students performed a gallery walk of the map before posting comments, opinions, and suggestions directly onto it. We recorded this feedback here, and it has been incorporated into an updated version of the user experience map that reflects the concerns and interests of potential beneficiaries around the idea.

Idea board.docx

This is the original version of our user experience map, which follows Claudine through the Actualize coding bootcamp at Kiziba refugee camp. We have revised this new map based on feedback and suggestions from our potential beneficiaries during a participatory prototyping workshop. Using the IDEO user experience planning system, Actualize and SNHU envision coding as directly impacting the life of a student earning a Bachelor's degrees through SNHU at Kiziba.

187 comments

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Photo of Alexandre Cecilia
Team

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Photo of Jean De Dieu Habaguhirwa
Team

It is very and very exciting especially for young entrepreneurs to study coding and be exposed to technology, a key factor leading to developement of Africa. Africa is being open to the world and it is a continent where we still have so many issues to solves. In other words, it is a continent with a full of business opportunities when someone understand technology. 
One of the greatest challenge when I started MeLife Ltd, an e-platform that allow patients to schedule appoitment with doctors and exchange files and resources,  was the lack of basic skills in coding and this was a very big barrier to me. 
Providing basic skills on coding to the young people in KIZIBA will be like opening a door to this community to millions of opportunities. 

Photo of Chrystina Russell
Team

Hi Jean,
Thanks for your feedback and for telling us about your experiences with a coding (or lack thereof) in your experience with a start-up. Once we have graduates, we hope you will vet them and consider them for your start up!

Chrystina

Photo of Jean De Dieu Habaguhirwa
Team

Thank you Chrystina,
I can't wait to see this program in actions. I know how you make Kepler successful and I do not doubt that you are going to bring this impact with the coding camp. I would say it is the highly needed.

Good luck,
Jean de Dieu

Photo of Tujiza Uwituze
Team

Hello Chrystina,
This is a wonderful idea that will help many Kiziba students gain practical coding skills. IT development being one of Rwanda's Vision 2020 targets, this is an idea that cannot only serve Kiziba students but also the whole Rwandan youth.

You mentioned that advocacy for employment will be one of the interventions put in place in order to help Kiziba students, after going through the program you are proposing, use their coding skills.

I do not know if you thought about this (and if so I would like to know how this is or is not feasible): What if you partner with different organizations that work in the IT fields (K-Lab, RwandaOnline, Jumia Rwanda, etc.)? In the initial phase of the coding bootcamp, these IT organizations can offer feedback on the specific computer skills that students can learn. A partnership with the companies can help students gain recommendations as well as internships and jobs. Also, partnering with companies that are in need of coders, web designers or editors could be another way to create employment for these students (restaurants, hotels, fashion houses, small starts-up).
Also, it would be beneficial if students in the bootcamp can learn a bit on social media skills. Rwandan companies and organizations are still developing in terms of using social media as a competitive advantage. Therefore, equipping the Kiziba students with these skills can be an added value to their coding skills.
I remember you being among the people who made Kepler to be as successful as it is, and I can imagine how impactful the coding bootcamp is going to be. I mean I cannot wait for this program to start and succeed.
Good luck with everything!
Best regards,
Tujiza

Photo of Chrystina Russell
Team

Hi Tujiza,

These are all brilliant ideas! I especially like your thinking around partnerships. Do you have any direct contacts to these organizations? And do you have any thoughts on which ones might be most interested?

Thanks for your support and great thinking!
Chrystina

Photo of Justin
Team

This is an innovative proposal that will really transform the opportunities afforded to those living in refugee camps.  Thank you for developing a dynamic proposal!

Photo of Chrystina Russell
Team

Hi Justin,
Thanks for your feedback! As an experienced English as a New Language educator, we'd love to have you take a look at the curriculum and give us feedback on how it can be improved with some language objectives, given that most of our students are still learning. Let me know if this might be a possibility...

Thanks for your support!

Photo of Audrey
Team

Chrystina Russell That is key, most programming languages require a knowledge of English (in some cases, French). That will change in the next few years.

Am I hearing that Actualize is providing the 6-week intensive tuition-free? The package for US students is $12,500 for 12 weeks. I was recently teamed up with four female developers at the GDI hackathon in Seattle who had just graduated from different coding bootcamps and while hanging out, started talking about the application process for different programs and jobs were not a guaranteed thing. You therefore have the right idea to pair these young refugees with a focused internship opportunity, which hopefully gets them to develop applications that have real impact in their current situation. Awesome work!

Photo of Chrystina Russell
Team

Hello Audrey,
Thanks for this! Actualize has been kind enough to not charge us their regular tuition rates. Instead, we just have to pay the tuition for the instructors. They have also allowed us to use and brand their curriculum, which will ensure sustainability and that we can train our students as teachers to ensure the program grows. So exciting!

Thanks for your support!

Photo of Chelsea Takamine
Team

Hi Chrystina and Team! Amplify and our experts have some comments and questions for you - we encourage you to think about this feedback as you continue to improve and refine your idea.

The program really empowers youth in making them real actors of their life. In a very smart way, the program helps youth overcome discrimination by giving them skills that businesses really need. We would suggest that partnerships with recruiters be developed for financial support and more job opportunities for youth. An other idea would be to provide youth with micro loan to help them develop their own business.

Questions:
Are these the skills users have been saying they want? What kind of jobs/opportunities do you envision users getting? How might you help youths find initial opportunities with employers?

We’re also curious to learn how you might engage advocates in government to support this project?

In case you missed it, OpenIDEO and Amplify hosted a Storytelling Office Hour - https://youtu.be/g0gZRR6T9tA. Storytelling is an incredibly useful tool to articulate an idea and help make it come to life! Don't forget - December 18th is your last day to make changes to your idea on the OpenIDEO platform.

Looking forward to reading more!

Photo of Chrystina Russell
Team

Hi Chelsea,
Thanks so much for your awesome feedback and questions! We'll be incorporating those into our final improvements, which we are working on together as a team. We're really enjoying the experience and learning so much from the feedback that the platform is enabling us to collect!

We watched the storytelling workshop (and have passed it to other organizations we collaborate with--great advice in the session!). Our only challenge was that we're working from a more remote area in East Africa right now, which makes bandwidth a bit challenging. We were able to download the session on YouTube over night, but if there might be any more low-bandwidth methods to access the workshop, it would be great to help us share it with others, as well as access it in the future!

Thanks again for the great questions and helping us to refine our ideas. We're looking forward to continuing to work on this until the 18th, as well as exploring the other amazing ideas that other shortlisted candidates have shared.

Best,
Chrystina

Photo of Chelsea Takamine
Team

Thank you so much for your kind words! We are so glad to hear that you're finding the process informative and useful for your organization and idea - that's what we hope for!

I really appreciate your feedback on the bandwidth issue. It is something we think about a lot, and there are certainly some inherent barriers with being a online platform. I would love any thoughts that you may have on an easier way to share something like the office hour with you and your colleagues. Are there different platforms that work better for you? I have lived in a community with limited access to internet before and know that it is a very real challenge. If you have any further thoughts on this - I would love to discuss more. Let's connect via e-mail - amplify@ideo.org (address to Chelsea).

Photo of shannon winter
Team

This type of program gives me hope for refugees! So often it seems that money is thrown at refugee situations only to solve for short-term issues rather than investing in long-term education. Introducing coding and tech to those who are motivated to contribute to their community could lead to a thriving industry. Imagine all of the problems that could be solved in this region with people skilled in tech - website development for small businesses, travel and ride sharing, buying and selling goods, etc... A suggestion for the future might be to supplement the coding courses with design courses for those who are creative as programmers tend to partner with creatives to deliver a final product. 

Like Nelson Mandela said - "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." 

What an excellent program, thank you Chrystina and SNHU for your efforts! 

Photo of Chrystina Russell
Team

Hi Shannon,
Thanks for your enthusiasm and support! I love your idea of bringing in design to some of the training for students who are interested. I wonder if you might be wiling to consider some of our students for virtual internships with you? Also, given your background in design, do you have any thoughts around good programs or trainers we could work with once students have mastered their coding skills?

Thanks!
Chrystina

Photo of shannon winter
Team

That sounds like a great idea! Check out Career Foundry, they have great online programs setup for mastering UI Design, UX Design, Website Design, etc... I'm currently taking the UI course to sharpen some web design skills. It's 3k for a 6 month course, but maybe they could be a program partner? Lynda.com and Skillshare.com have great tutorials that you can watch with a membership at a nominal cost (Skillshare does have free tutorials as well).

Photo of Chrystina Russell
Team

Hi Shannon,

Thanks so much for sending us these resources! We've been in touch with Actualize and it looks like we should be able to integrate it into the curriculum, with a small core part, and then an extra option for students. We appreciate the recs!

Chrystina

Photo of Murutampunzi Abraham
Team

Computer coding is a good skill I think the refugees will benefit from. This is because the skills learned in coding helps the user to be innovative by thinking how to create some apps that can help other people to achieve their work. In return, those skills can help them to generate money.

Photo of Chrystina Russell
Team

H Abraham,
Thanks for your comment and support. What kinds of apps do you think will be most useful in the East African context? Additionally, how do you think people will feel about creating apps in an international market through digital work?

Photo of Murutampunzi Abraham
Team

Thank you, Christina, for good question. Actually, Rwanda has integrated with East Africa Community and the main economic activity that is taking place in those countries is a trade. So, I think if apps that help them to manage their stocks this can be a good idea. Again, thank you for the second question. You know if refugees have the keys of development to a country and the regions (EAC), I think they will feel happy and interested in exploiting that opportunity and make changes in the region.

Bests,
Abraham

Photo of Chrystina Russell
Team

Hi Abraham,

Great idea for us to think about how we might be able to incorporate these ideas with the stock exchange. We'll make an appointment with them and see if we can get a Kiziba representative to join us as well.

Thanks for your great suggestions! Keep them coming our way!

Photo of Doriane Ndayisaba
Team

Dear Chrystina ,

I personally like the idea because I believe that this program will help refugees to expand opportunities on the market . As Rwanda, it is a country which is growing in technology field this will give a higher chance to the refugees to be employed at a higher level and create their own economy as well as their lives . In fact , I still have some questions about how the program will work : will the program be applied in Kiziba camp only? or in all refugee camp in Rwanda and Kenya ? will SNHU be in charge of searching the job opportunities or internship to the students in the program?

Photo of Chrystina Russell
Team

Hi Doriane,
Thanks so much for your helpful feedback and questions! As of now, we'd like to start in the Kiziba camp and then extend the program to camps in Kenya. I'd like to hear your opinions around this. Do you think we should also extend to other camps in Rwanda (we are open to this, and many have suggested this). If so, which camp should we go to and why?

SNHU will certainly help with the internship and employment placement. However, the main reason we chose Actualize as a partner is because they do such a great job with apprenticeships, internships, and helping students to create portfolios. So, basically after the students complete the program, Actualize uses their network to ensure that students have internships, apprenticeships, and build a portfolio. Because Actualize has a global network in this area and a proven track record of ensuring students get work and build a portfolio, we're really confident in their abilities to make sure students get the employment connection! However, SNHU is fully committed to tapping its network and ensuring that the institution assists with employment placement in collaboration with Actualize and beneficiaries.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on that as well as on the camp expansion! Thanks for taking the time out to give us your thoughts.

Chrystina

Photo of Doriane Ndayisaba
Team

I understand that you want to start the program in Kiziba due to the fact that you already have a campus there. however , I think it would be better if in the middle of the project you think about expanding the program to other camps which are in Rwanda such us Gihembe and Mahama so that you can give a chance to a large group of refugees to improve their lives and also you can think about training a group of refugees who will teach others, that will facilitate the development of the program itself but also improve refugees self-confidence.

Photo of Nyirabuntu Tantine
Team

Hello Chrystina, this is a good project in terms of improving refugees's lives especially youth.This will build their future with a big hope. Thanks!

Photo of Chrystina Russell
Team

Hi Tantine,
Thanks for your support! Do you have any thoughts on how we can ensure there are equal male and female participants in the program? Or any other thoughts on gender to ensure the program is successful?

Photo of Kajyambere Felix
Team

That it is a good idea. I really excited to hear that student refugees are going to benefit from the coding program. This skills from the Bootcamp will help youth in camp to get jobs and be a good computer programmer within East Africa. The program will train students to leaders and teachers. That is a great opportunity.

Photo of Chrystina Russell
Team

Hi Felix,
Thanks for your support. Do you have any thoughts on how we might be able to choose which students should become trainers?

Thanks,
Chrystina

Photo of Manirafasha Eugenie
Team

Thank you for asking me a clarification on how this coding is the valuable skill to refugees. I say this because the refugees will get the opportunity to benefit from this program by helping themselves through making into a practice of all those skills.

Photo of Chrystina Russell
Team

Hi Eugenie,
Thanks for your support. Do you see an areas where we can improve the proposal?

Photo of Nsengiyera Sendegeya Emmanuel
Team

Thank you for thinking about Kiziba refugees as well as others

Photo of Chrystina Russell
Team

Hi Emmanuel,
Thanks for your support. I'm really interested in hearing how you think we might be able to serve the non-refugee population after implementing this program. Do you think there might be eager or willing participants in the host community?

Photo of Heritier Muhire
Team

Dear Chrystina, 

This camp is a brilliant project to leverage the lives our fellows across the E Africa refugees camps. I believe that Coding Camp comes in the real time as well as the vision of Rwanda- empowering technology in youths, the next generation that's going to transform Africa. Through this program, students won't only be developing computer literacy, but also will be getting ready for employment. I like the fact that the beneficiaries are also happy for this outstanding program that coming to help them restore their rhythm of lives. With no doubt, this camp is going to create a significant impact in East Africa. 
Speaking of the project, in general, I would like you to help me understand these two questions:  1. How will student cope with the Coding Class and their CfA projects or the regular classes?2. Given that it is hard for refugees to go out and work, is there any approach that might be used to help them showcase their skills outside of the camp?
Suggestions:1. The Coding Camp is good, but it needs to strengthen student's ownership for it to excel. 2. It might be helpful if, during the camp, a student can be enrolled in the program having a mission(what do you want to do after this camp) rather than taking it as an actual camp where you go and sit waiting for a teacher to guide you. 
Thanks for the utmost work that you are doing.
Best, Heritier

Photo of Chrystina Russell
Team

Hi Hertier,
Thanks for taking the time to read our proposal carefully and give such valuable feedback. In terms of your questions, one of the biggest areas of concern has been how students will balance their regular coursework/CfA projects and the bootcamp. Beneficiaries have given us a couple of suggestions, which includes having students take only the bootcamp, splitting time between classes, or offering it just in the summer time. Do you have any thoughts around which one of these would be best?

For your second question, we will plan to build in an apprenticeship that ensures students are connected to employers as well as to build a portfolio that shows employers that graduates have skill sets, not just a piece of paper for attending a class. I would like your feedback on how you think we can best market the skills of graduates as well as help to work on employment.

I really like the thought you have around students taking ownership in the program. Would you be able to give me any specific ideas on how to do that?

In relation to your second point, how do you feel about students making a big goal or employment goal at the beginning of the class. Would this meet what you have in mind?

Photo of Manirafasha Eugenie
Team

Great idea!!! Coding is a good skill to possess especially as Refugees.
Keep it up.

Photo of Chrystina Russell
Team

Hi Eugenie,
I'm so glad to hear that you think coding will be a valuable skill for refugees. Can you tell me why and how you think it will help refugees? Is there anything we need to add to make this proposal and program better?

Thanks,
Chrystina

Photo of Bahati
Team

I like this idea because it will bring opportunities to young refugees. Again, refugees will benefit from learning high tech technology to help them generate income in the future.

Photo of Chrystina Russell
Team

Hi Bahati,
Thanks for your support. Do you have any suggestions for how we can improve this proposal?

Photo of Dukuzumuremyi Jean Bosco
Team

Waoo!!!!!! I like this Idea. Keep it up

Photo of Chrystina Russell
Team

Hi Jean Bosco,
We love your enthusiasm! Can you tell us more about what you like? Also, we really like to receive feedback on what we can do better. If you can make at least one suggestion for improvement, that'd really help us out as we make improvements to our proposal!

Photo of Umuhoza Anuarite
Team

This idea is most important because many people think about employment after graduate. I think this is hope to all students

Photo of Chrystina Russell
Team

Hi Anuarite,
I appreciate your support and noted you had two comments. I responded to your first comment and look forward to hearing from you!

Photo of Umuhoza Anuarite
Team

I like this idea.

Photo of Chrystina Russell
Team

Hi Anuarite,

We're so happy to have your support! Can you tell us more about why you like the idea? Additionally, if you could change one thing, what would it be?

Chrystina

Photo of Ndayambaje Innocent
Team

I really like this idea of bringing this program to kiziba campus. This will remove our mindset of thinking that we will no long get a job. With coding, the solution of being self-employed is coming to kiziba refugee student. We do like to take this case in summer. Now is the time for refugees to stay in the world of technology

Photo of Chrystina Russell
Team

Hi Innocent,
I really appreciate your suggestion of holding class in the summer, as I know students are busy and facing many demands. Is there anything we should be aware of that might be a challenge for summer scheduling?
Thanks,
Chrystina

Photo of Chrystina Russell
Team

Hi Innocent,
This is great feedback. I'd like to learn more about the mindset around employment that's present in the camp. Specifically, in relation to this project, what are the psychological barriers that we might face in terms of hopelessness and employment? How can we navigate these challenges?

Photo of Stella Bonard Ibango
Team

What a good idea! Rwanda and Kenya are two African countries which are under technology revolution. They need programmers so bad. Therefore, student refugees who will attend the bootcamp will get skills which are needed on the job market of their host countries. Then, they will get jobs. As result, they will sustain themselves and their families. Also, they will be able to develop their communities in some ways. 
One question: will this coding bootcamp happen every year?

Photo of Chrystina Russell
Team

Hi Stella,
This is a great question. Ideally, we'd like to hold the program every year if this one is successful. This means that we will have to monitor the program and ensure there are funds available. Do you have any thoughts on our monitoring and evaluation process? For example, what are the top three things we need to look for to know that the project was successful? How do we know if it is not successful? I'd love to have your thoughts around this very important point.

Photo of Buranga Divine
Team

Thanks to Christina, for thinking about refugee youth. This will help every refugee members to have a future hope and they will never been give up.

Photo of Chrystina Russell
Team

Hi Divine,
Thanks so much for your response. I agree that the refugees in Kiziba are so resilient and won't give up! Did you see anything in the application that would make our idea better?

Photo of Kazege Hyacinthe
Team

Thanks Christina for your good idea which gives all refugees hope that their future will brights because they will be able to find out the job after graduation for improving their life standard. As the refugees are ready for this program and help us to overcome all challenges that we expect to meet while implementing this program.
thanks,

Photo of Chrystina Russell
Team

Hi Hyacithe,
Thanks for your support and also mentioning that there will be some challenges. Which challenges do you think are most likely to come up in this program?

Photo of Sadiki Anicet Gptn
Team

Wow, this is a great idea. I cannot wait to comment on this. I had this in my dreams. I hope that this will open new opportunities too.

Photo of Chrystina Russell
Team

Hi Sadiki,
We appreciate the support! How do you think we can help ensure refugee students that complete the program will have access to jobs?

Photo of Alain Muhekera Joel
Team

I am very excited to see this article which is talking about Kiziba Kepler Campus.

Photo of Chrystina Russell
Team

Hi Alain,

Thanks for your feedback. What do you think will be most helpful about this program for Kiziba? How can we improve?

Thanks,
Chrystina

Photo of Sylvain Nayituriki
Team

This coding Bootcamp is a great idea! Given that refugees at Kiziba have access to technological resources, it is going to be a great opportunity for them to learn web development skills that will not only transform their lives, but also their countries. The coding and web development skills will allow refugees to get internships and collaborate with other web developers. 

Photo of Chrystina Russell
Team

Hi Sylvain,
Thanks for your support! I really like your idea about collaborating with other web developers. Do you have any specific references or developers in your network that we might be able to talk with to flush out this suggestion further?

Thanks,
Chrystina

Photo of Heritier Muhire
Team

Hi Chrystina, 

To help Sylvain, I believe that partnering with other well-known web developers in Kigali can contribute to the success of this amazing program. For example, HeheLab, FabLab, NetInka, RwandaYP, and kLab. 

Photo of Eric Nshimiyimana
Team

In developing world where technology is developing, having computer literacy and skills are essential not only for the well-being of people, but also their countries. This bootcamp is an excellent idea or project that will help to unleash Easter African young generation's potential in terms of computer and coding skills. This will help them to contribute in the advancement of technology in their countries. In Rwanda where SafeMotos, the company I am working with as Marketing Manager, based, we still face the issue of having experienced and computer skilled employees.

I believe having this bootcamp will help to nurture the next generation of computer skilled people and the bootcamp will be the foundation to leveraging computer and coding skills across East Africa and the whole African continent. Therefore, technology companies in East Africa and Africa can be able to benefit from those skilled guys and work to transform Africa through the benefit that can be provided by the bootcamp. Yes for it!

Photo of Chrystina Russell
Team

Hi Eric,
Thanks for your support. Hearing from a manager at a tech company here is invaluable. We'd like to hear more about how you're trying to find qualified young coders. For example, how do you post your jobs? What are the strengths and weaknesses you find in prospective employees? What skills in graduates would best help you in your hiring as a manager? I hope you might be open to observing our program, giving us feedback, and considering opening Safe Motos as a location to have interns and employees from Kiziba!

Chrystina

Photo of Salomon Beza
Team

AMAZING!!! As someone who has started learning from Actualize, this is one of the greatest way to expose students to problem solving, and critical thinking skills that I think all refugees and students in general need.

I am learning alongside people who never did programming before, and I am amazed to see how passion and commitment can push students to ask the right questions and produce quality work. I also know how committed Kiziba students are and I think this is going to be a dream come true for many students there.

Can't wait to see this started and to visit the camp. I find it very fascinating to see the reasoning that students put into coding. I also can't wait to see the web applications that will be built by Kiziba students. I Hope to contribute in any capacity

Thanks Chrystina and SNHU!!!!!

Photo of Chrystina Russell
Team

Hi Salomon,

We're glad you're having a good experience with the camp in Kigali, and we REALLY hope to bring it to Kiziba in partnership with IDEO. I hope that as you go through the program, you'll let us know how we can make it better for Kiziba. For example, so far, what in your experience would make your learning better or would help us connect you better with employers?

Thanks,
Chrystina

Photo of Peter LLoyd
Team

I am impressed! Technology could offer a path for Africa to leapfrog the steps to global development but there are few skilled people to act on this! We need skilled, tech savvy, passionate young people to implement!

Photo of Chrystina Russell
Team

Hi Peter,
Thanks for your support! As an employer of young people in East Africa, we hope you'll work with us to both refine our program and continue to employ graduates. We are grateful for your support!

Photo of Hatungimana Francis
Team

WOW! Best program, big project! I hope Kiziba students will take this opportunity together with your team to make this project a grand success. I would love to see the expansion of this project in many more refugee Camps (Mahama, Gihembe, etc.) My worry is about the accessibility of internet and laptop to Kiziba’s students. I would suggest, if possible, extending the availability of computer and internet access to the student to have enough time for practicing and exploring as well. Wish u best of luck!

Photo of Chrystina Russell
Team

Hi Francis,

Thanks for your comments. A couple of others have mentioned we should spread this to other camps as well. I'd be interested to hear your opinion on which camp we should go to next and why. Let us know what you think!

Chrystina

Photo of Joel Ngendabanga
Team

This is an amazing idea because coding is the cornerstone of the internet architecture.  Based on my observation, I found out that business people are moving from traditional markets to online markets. It is obvious that the online markets are the results of coding. Coding contributed more to building amazon, e-bay and other popular online selling points. In these days, businesses need people who are competent in coding as the business people are moving from traditional markets to online markets. Those who will be able to build the online markets. This is how the coding boot camp stands out. I am thrilled to join a coding class this program will be expanding. 

Photo of Chrystina Russell
Team

Hi Joel,

Thanks for your enthusiasm! If, as you're experiencing your own coding class, or are thinking about this proposal please let us know if you have any ideas for improvement!

Photo of Nshimiyimana
Team

Great idea. This is really interesting to support refugee students to get access to quality higher education as well as making sure they are ready to get jobs. I think that as Africa is improving in adapting advanced technology, coding is the most important skill that is needed to improve technology use on our continent. Working with Actualize to give such a skill to students in refugee camps is to open a door for employment. Keep it up. 

Photo of Chrystina Russell
Team

Hi Nshimiyimana,

Thanks so much for your support! I'm glad to know that you think coding will be useful for East Africans. Can you tell me more about how and why you think it will work well, as well as any challenges you feel we might face in implementing the program and ensuring employment once the program is completed?

Thanks,
Chrystina

Photo of Monique Nibagwire
Team

For sure the boot camps will help refugees students to improve their technology skills, and I believe that due those skills they will be able to transform their lives as well as the lives of everyone in the camps.
As a feedback, it would have been better if you highlighted how learning coding will increase their chance to get employment opportunities as it is hard for people in camps to get jobs in EAC.

Photo of Chrystina Russell
Team

Hi Monique,

Great suggestion. How do you think we can help both employers and students link over how digital work can benefit both groups? Do you think we should have a marketing and research branch? Or other ideas?

Photo of Soline
Team

Hi Chrystina,

This is a good and helpful project. Equipping refugees with those technology and practical skills, especially competencies in computer coding will help them to be competent at the labor market .   In addition, it is  another way of making them regain their time taken by wars in their country of origin. To make it more practical, I suggest that you will tie the practices to real life projects to introduce students to challenges that they might face while working in that career.

Good luck!

Photo of Chrystina Russell
Team

Hi Soline,

Thanks so much for your support and thoughtful feedback. I think you're making a really great point about trying to anticipate the challenges that might come about in the workplace. Given your experience as a young Rwandan professional, can you tell us about what has been most challenging moving into the world of work? And how can we best address those? Additionally, how do you think virtual work might be different from in-the-office type of work?

Photo of Janvier Ishimwe
Team

That's a great idea. SHNU is doing an amazing work in Kiziba where students are getting coding skills in addition to SHNU degree. I liked that students will also be trained to teach the same skills to other refugees in the camp.

I also think that students can gain from connecting them to other developers outside the camp so they can share skills and discuss coding projects. Students can also some sort of independent projects on designing programs and mobile apps. 

Janvier

Photo of Chrystina Russell
Team

Hi Janvier,

Thanks so much for your support and feedback. What do you think is the ideal amount of time inside and outside of the camp? I'd like to hear more about your perspective and thinking around this!

Chrystina

Photo of Ange Gloria Umuhoza
Team

Dear Chrystina,

I really love this unique idea. It will radically change refugees' lives as well as East African Community as a whole. I am sure this is one of the main changes that our community, EAC, needs. Can't wait to see its implementation.

Ange

Photo of Chrystina Russell
Team

Hi Ange,

Thanks for your comments and enthusiasm! Given your experience teaching youth in Rwanda, can you give us some feedback on how we can improve the idea?

Chrystina

Photo of Mupenzi Rubangura
Team

That is an amazing chance which can make refugees to build their future.

Photo of Chrystina Russell
Team

Hi Rubangura,
Thanks for your positive feedback. Is there anything you see that could make this proposal stronger? We'd love to hear your thoughts!

Chrystina

Photo of Mupenzi Rubangura
Team

Hello Chrystina,
I hope you are doing well. On my side think that the idea should  insist on how it improves their life of students and the society in general. and there should be the clarification about the feasibility of the implementation. 

Thanks for your great work you do.

Photo of Chrystina Russell
Team

Hi Rubangura,
Can you say more about feasibility? For example, what should the schedule look like? What other concerns and ideas do you have about how we can ensure this is feasible?

Chrystina

Photo of Andrea
Team

Dear Chrystina,

Your reference to the risks of a "lost generation" of refugees really resonated with me. In an era of growing right-wing politics and anti-immigrant sentiment both in the US and Europe, this kind of work is so important. Cudos for coming up with a creative solution to a truly global crisis. 

Best of luck, Andrea

Photo of Chrystina Russell
Team

Hi Andrea,

We really appreciate your support and are both happy and saddened by the ways that the term "lost generation" resonates with you. We look forward to keeping you updated on the project. Please let us know if there are any ways you see that can help us improve!

Chrystina

Photo of Justin Lomont
Team

Hi Christina,

I saw a link to your project through a friend on FB.  It looks super interesting and sounds like a great idea.  I'd be interested in being kept up to date on what opportunities there are to help out.  My background is in chemistry and I mainly have coding experience as it relates to science research.

Best,
Justin Lomont (jplomont@gmail.com)

Photo of Chrystina Russell
Team

Hi Justin,

I'm really glad to hear that you heard about us on FB--we love the support and that people are sharing the idea. We plan on making a group to update people on the progress of the project and will add you to the list. Given your background, would you be willing to chat with us about the idea and offer some feedback and expertise? We'd love to have a team of experts giving us feedback.

Thanks,
Chrystina

Photo of Justin Lomont
Team

Hi Chrystina,

Sure of course, please feel free to send me an email with questions or to set up a time to chat (jplomont@gmail.com).

Best,
Justin

Photo of Chrystina Russell
Team

Hi Justin,

Will do! Looking forward to the conversation. Thanks again for your interest and support.

Chrystina

Photo of Samora Legros
Team

Hi Chrystina,

The coding bootcamp is a great idea. The implementation of technology will help bridge educational gaps, especially because many books and other resources are in digital formats. Hopefully, Dell, Apple, Lenovo, and other computer companies will show support and assist with efforts to support this project. They may be willing to help if they are aware of such a great project. 

I do have a suggestion that builds on this great concept. Building information modeling (BIM) is a form of specialized software that is used by construction managers in order to create and design blueprints for building projects. From an infrastructural point of view, it would be really cool if students learned coding and learned about becoming professionals in areas such as architecture, engineering, and construction. By learning about BIMs, refugees could learn how to design and build their own series of beneficial, construction projections.

Keep up the good work! You are making a positive impact in the lives of others.

Respectfully,
Samora Legros

Photo of Chrystina Russell
Team

Hi Samora,

We really appreciated your feedback. I'd love to learn more about the BIMs and how they can help our students gets the skills needed for employment opportunities. Do you have any suggestions about where I can learn more? Or any contacts that have experience with BIMs?

Thanks for your support!
Chrystina

Photo of Lauren
Team

This is an amazing opportunity for students at Kiziba to gain tangible skills that will hopefully help them to earn income that can truly change the lives of their families and communities. The Kiziba students are working so hard already and care deeply about their education; I am so excited to see what they are able to do with this community!

Photo of Chrystina Russell
Team

Hi Lauren,

Thanks for your positive feedback and energy! If you think of any ways we can improve this project and proposal, please don't hesitate to let us know.

Chrystina

Photo of Billy
Team

Hi Chrystina,

While at WPI my cousin spent a few months in Namibia building out a mobile platform for dashboard based submission (admission, course enrollment, etc.) for students. He was on the technical end but the team did a lot of work to figure out why mobile was the right move. In the end it was a relatively easy decision since 80% of students had a mobile phone and only 30% had a laptop but they also had similar issues to what is outlined in the videos in the below link. It might be valuable to enable mobile connectivity as part of the project plan for this initiative. That would increase the availability of the network to do the coding boot camp, give them a platform to be able to work from anywhere, as well as alleviate all of the outlined concerns or feedback from the interviewees.


Regards,

Billy Peters

Photo of Chrystina Russell
Team

Hi Billy,

If at all possible, we'd love to talk to your cousin. Since we've only had the students working on laptops so far, it'd be great to hear from someone that could help us compare both platforms. Do you think he might be willing to share his thoughts and experience with us?
Thanks,
Chrystina

Photo of Billy
Team

I'll see if I can make that work!

I live this idea. Hope to see the outcomes!

Photo of Chrystina Russell
Team

Hi Billy,
Thanks so much! That's great and we look forward to learning from your contact. We plan on setting up a group to continue to inform interested parties on how we're doing with this idea, and we'll be sure to include you!

Chrystina

Photo of Landry
Team

Dear Chrystina,

It is clear that technology is a vital tool towards development in today's world. It is an amazing opportunity for Kepler students and Southern New Hampshire University students in Kiziba camp to learn coding. Website development and other related skills are specific skills that can help a graduate to be competitive at labor market. I really appreciate your effort, and I am sure that this project will produce astonishing results.

Best,
Landry

Photo of Chrystina Russell
Team

Hi Landry,

Thanks for your feedback. Given your work with students in Kiziba, what do you think about this proposal in terms of what will serve students well and what we need to improve? Given your brilliant mind and insightful commentary, I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Photo of Landry
Team

Dear Chrystina,

I think that  the idea is well designed, especially for the fact that students would need to learn in the afternoon considering different factors like some of them who teach in Secondary Schools. Secondly, I would say that it might be helpful for students to take this kind of course after they have a good progress in CFA projects. I think that coding is something that requires a high level of commitment, and it can be hard to do both that course and working hard at the same time to earn competencies towards completing AA degree.

I once tried to take the course called Cs50 offered by Harvard teachers, and I realized that It is not that easy to learn coding at the same time doing other many things! I am not sure if there might be an opportunity to train instructors first, and some instructors can work with those experts to offer support to students. Instructors can work better with students in terms of after class support compared to those coding teachers. Otherwise, I think that this is a really astounding opportunity to students.

Best,
Landry

Photo of Chrystina Russell
Team

Hi Landry, 
This is a really good point. How far do you think students should be along in their CfA projects before starting? Should there be any other requirements or pre-skills acquired before starting? 

Photo of Landry
Team

Dear Chrystina,

I would say that it can be better for them to take this course when they have at least 60 competencies or above. I think that if Kepler has to put some requirements for students to attend this course, it can limit others to enjoy this opportunity. That is why I think considering the readiness of all students would be better instead of putting some requirements.

If I am not mistaken, the idea explains that students would be 50 while taking the course. I guess that this would include some students in 2016 cohort. I am really worried about their readiness in terms of taking coding class. They are still struggling with basics in technology even though they have made some progress. I assume that the grant is the one which is needed soon but not starting the course now! If possible, students can even take this class without taking other classes apart from maybe taking sometime to work on projects.

Photo of Chrystina Russell
Team

Hi Landry,
Thanks for this feedback. You make a lot of excellent points! What would be your thoughts on creating a readiness survey for students? I wonder if we could make it competency based, similar to the ones around CfA. What do you think about this idea?

Additionally, what are your thoughts around instructors at Kiziba taking this course? Would this be a benefit to working there? And do you think that instructors would have enough time in their schedules to make the course happen? I'm interested to hear your perspective on this as you are balancing a lot with your own work on projects as well as working at Kiziba.

Thanks for your input and suggestions, these are really helpful things to consider!

Photo of Landry
Team

Dear Chrystina,

I do agree with you. I guess that coding class would not change the fact that Kepler wants students to gain ability to do something instead of grades. On the readiness survey, I am thinking of different things! First of all, if Kepler set some requirements like competencies or other things that few of the students will not meet, I guess that those students would be really missing a good opportunity. If Kepler is setting the requirements that will make few of the students take the course, there should be a plan of how those students will help the rest of kepler students to also learn. For me, I really take this opportunity serious and something that all students should benefit from.My idea would be that all students get ready and take the course. If maybe there is a course that is needed to prepare them before coding class, this course can be taught.

On the side of instructors, taking coding class would absolutely be the benefit of working at Kiziba. On the side of instructors availability and the course structure, I think that people who are taking the course in Kigali can give us an idea of how the course is. It can help instructors to see whether they can get that time for the training. Again, this can require to hear from instructors' views because not everyone has the tasks which are similar to another one. Considering an instructor who only teaches, he or she can take the course in the morning as we teach in the afternoon. However, some of the instructors have other responsibilities.  

Thank you,
Landry

Photo of Chrystina Russell
Team

Hi Landry,
I'm really glad to hear you think this might also be useful to instructors. How do you think that we might be able to navigate some of the workload and scheduling challenges?

Photo of Landry
Team

Dear Chrystina,

You are right that it seems challenging and complicated because of tasks that instructors are supposed to complete at Kepler Kiziba. However, it all depends on the commitment of instructors and how helpful they find coding to be in their career life. For instance, this week instructors have been teaching in the morning, and they are leaving the camp not later than 4:30pm. It means that if instructors get back to the usual schedule, some of them who are committed can still take that course in the morning as they will be teaching in the afternoon. Due to how helpful the course can be, I think some of the instructors would even accept to take the course in the week-ends if possible. Therefore, I agree that it is a challenge, but I think that instructors at Kepler Kiziba are familiar with scheduling changes.

Best,
Landry

Photo of Cory Rodgers
Team

Great project idea (as usual)! Your model for refugee education brings together tech, curriculum and on-the-ground teachers in a way that is both innovative and practical. Student performance so far speaks to the success of your delivery model, so this should be well-suited for the material in the coding bootcamp as well. Excited to see what kinds of opportunities this opens up for your students. When will you be able to make your way to Oxford? I'm sure many of the students and academics at the Refugee Studies Centre would be keen to here about your experiences so far!

Photo of Nick Navarro
Team

I love this idea - super innovative. I think now more than ever we should be investing in new concepts re: refugee education. Bravo, SNHU! 

Photo of Chrystina Russell
Team

Hi Nick,
Thanks for your support! We'll keep you updated on the process, and hope your awesome team might be able to help us with some of the electricity challenges!

Chrystina

Photo of Mbanda Innocent
Team

This is a super amazing opportunity for million of youth in the camp. Thank you , Chrystina, SNHU, and other partners. I hope this is going to be long term project which will be even expanded to all over the Africa. This Bootcamp is going to help millions of youth to develop their potential talents, creativity and solving the problems surrounding them. Based on what I know about the Bootcamp, I would recommend the student to use this chance to explore their talents and use it for future success. I and My team ( Kepler Students) we have founded the organization that is intended to teach youth and women about business and creativity. I would love to work with Kiziba Students to develop different business ideas and promote creativity.
Thank you Once again  Chrystina and SNHU for the great work!

Photo of Chrystina Russell
Team

Hi Innocent,
Thanks for your positive feedback!

Based on your experience creating a program for business and creativity for women, we'd really love to hear your thoughts on what the specific needs of women might be for this program. Do you think there are different ways we should structure it for men and women participants? Should this impact the learning? What about the phase where students get internships and work? We'd like to learn from your experience and expertise in this area.

Thanks!

Photo of Christophe Rukundo
Team

Hello Chyristina, 

This is a good idea! Teaching teachers who will teach the next generation across Rwanda and Africa at large. It was too late to introduce this program as it is a game changer in Rwanda. The implementation of this idea will help to close the gap of the problem our country is currently solving by setting some strategies to promote education for all humanities. Refugees are people like me, like everyone'else. 
 
Thank you, Christina Russel

Photo of Chrystina Russell
Team

Hi Christophe,
Thanks for your positive feedback! Where are the areas that you see strengths and areas of improvement for this proposal? We'd like to hear your thoughts.

Thanks!

Photo of Christophe Rukundo
Team

Dear Chrystina,



The area of strength in this project is that it will prepare the students to unlock their potential through the use of technology and its applicability. They students will also have access to learning how to use different programming software such as Python, HTML Etc which is one of the ways to go beyond of the expectation after the implementation. One challenge I found is to adjust the number of hours the students should take the courses of "ACTUALIZATION." These courses should be demanding in terms of attendance because the students will also have to attend other classes. So, it should be better to establish a smooth timetable to avoid conflict between studying hours.



Excitedly,

Christophe

Photo of Chrystina Russell
Team

Hi Christophe, 
We got a lot of feedback during our beneficiary session about the schedule as well. What do you think is the ideal number of hours for a student to engage in coding per day? And how many hours of school work can that be balanced with in your opinion? 

Photo of Christophe Rukundo
Team

Dear Chrystina, 

This is a great question. I know that a student is required to spend 8 hours per day to complete daily classes. I do believe it should be better if a student may use 6 hours for daily classes and 2 hours for coding classes. That is how i think the ideal number of hours for a student to engage in coding per day should be. On your side, what do you think about my point of view? Do you think is the best? How can we adjust it? 

Excitedly, 
Chris

Photo of Chrystina Russell
Team

Hi Chris,
Based on the beneficiary feedback session that we ran in Kiziba, it seems there are a few options. One would be to have coding classes be the only class that students have for 12 weeks. We would also build some time in to work on CfA projects. Another is to have less time spent on coding as you suggest. The challenge that we're balancing is keeping the cost of the coding instruction as low as possible while also meeting the needs of participants. For example, if we only have coding for two hours, this means we would double the time it would take for the coding class to be completed, which may also mean that we have to pay the instructor more. We worry this might mean that our grant funding will not go as far. One option might be to have the first class be an intensive, and once the Kiziba students have some experts trained as teachers, to integrate a more flexible schedule thereafter. I would like to hear your thoughts on that scheduling idea, as well as how we might navigate scheduling challenging once students are made teachers.

Thanks for your valuable input!

Photo of Sereverien Ngarukiye
Team

I don't understand the reason to why there hasn't been a project like this before! Many thanks to SNHU's Global Engagement Team for this opportunity to refugees in East Africa. It's really obvious that SNHU has found innovative ways to incorporate technology in Education, especially in reinventing higher education. From my experience working with Kiziba students, they're ready and eager to adapt to the new curriculum brought by SNHU in partnership with Actualize. Based on how the project is designed in terms of expansion, I would also suggest to also think about other refugee youths in other refugees camps in Rwanda. Please let us know if there is any support you may need to make this project implemented.

Keep up with this great work, Chrystina! 

Thanks, Sereverien

Photo of Chrystina Russell
Team

Hi Sereverien,

We really appreciate your support as well as your work in Kiziba! I like that you're already thinking forward about the other refugees in Rwanda that could benefit. In your opinion, where would be our next best camp to integrate the Actualize program into?

Chrystina

Photo of Sereverien Ngarukiye
Team

Hi Chrystina, Gihembe would be a good place to take Actualize. Gihembe has also been existing for a long time, and there are more youths that would be interested in Actualize coding Bootcamp. Of course, there are also other refugees in Kenya that are needy. 

Photo of Chrystina Russell
Team

Hi Sereverien, 
Can you say more about why Gihembe would be the next best choice? For example, why would it be a. Ether choice over Mahama? I'd love to hear more about your selection and the reasons why. Thank you also for the corrections and comments you emailed to me. Very helpful! 

Photo of Mukunzi Dieudonne
Team

Hello Chrystina,

This is the one viable opportunity that can change lives of young Africans in camps. I myself have been accepted in the first class of Kigali Actualize bootcamp. It is a life-changing opportunity in this technology age, to have access to an american bootcamp that is worth more than 12, 000 US dollars. The rewards after the bootcamp are so much more than being job-ready web programmers, but because coding is about solving problems beneficiaries of this program will have the ability to run their own tech startups. I am so excited to be part of Actualize first class in Kigali, and I will be willing to help my fellow Keplerians in Kiziba Campus. 

I hope this program start soon.

Good Luck!
Dieudonne

Photo of Chrystina Russell
Team

Dieudonne,
I am so happy to hear that you're participating in the program in Kigali. If you can keep a daily or weekly reflection journal about what you do and do not like about the program, we'd love to review this with you and apply your feedback in the Kiziba context. I wish you luck in the program and look forward to hearing about what you can teach us based on your experience!

Chrystina

Photo of Mukunzi Dieudonne
Team

I can sure do that. I will keep a weekly journal of what I do and do not like about the program, for the program to be the best for Kiziba students. It has long been my hope for refugees in Rwanda, to have a way to learn to code. So, fell free to get in touch with me anytime.

I hope this to be a success.

Dieudonne

Photo of Chrystina Russell
Team

Great! I can't wait to hear your thoughts and about your experience! 

Photo of Geofrey Mugisha
Team

Hi Chrystina, 

This sounds like an amazing project. I am very sure that this will be an incredible opportunity for less privileged youth living in refugee camps in East Africa. As Rwandan economy is moving towards a digital industry and the government's education policy  emphasizing  and encouraging tech classes and smart ideas, I believe that this is a good timing to bring this solution in East Africa. Also as a beneficiary of one of your earliest projects with SNHU, I believe with no doubt that you are the right person to implement this project and make it a success. As always, we are very excited to support you in case you  may realize that there is a way we can contribute to make this project a success. 

Good luck,
Geofrey

Photo of Chrystina Russell
Team

Hi Geofrey, 
Thanks for your feedback! As an SNHU student, I'd love to hear what you think we can do to improve our program and services for students. Additionally, do you see any areas where we. An make our proposal stronger? 

Photo of Nina Weaver
Team

So excited for this idea! Students already have such highly developed tech skills through the SNHU program, which makes this idea feasible but also gives them the opportunity to pursue more diverse careers and engage in creative problem-solving. From speaking to students at the workshop, there is a ton of enthusiasm and excitement for this idea, and we are looking forward to continuing to work with Actualize and our student partners in the next round!

Photo of Chrystina Russell
Team

Hi Nina,
Thanks for your feedback and for engaging in our beneficiary feedback session! We're looking forward to including you on the team and hearing your insights and perspectives as to how we can improve the proposal and program.

Thanks for all of your awesome work!

Photo of Jess Rentsch
Team

Chrystina- 
This project sounds amazing. Having seen the power that a coding bootcamp can have on middle school students in the states, I can only imagine how much more powerful such an experience will be for adult learners to build professional skills and connections through this program. I have some connections to folks in Boston who are doing coding bootcamp work who may be interested in contributing, volunteer or consulting on this project as well- if that would be of use!

Photo of Chrystina Russell
Team

Hi Jess,

Thanks so much for this amazing offer--I would love to be introduced to your contacts and learn more about volunteers who might be willing to contribute to this project. In our ideal world, we'd love to have a dedicated mentor for each student. Having experienced mentors from your network would be an amazing benefit! 

Photo of Moise Rwibutso
Team

Hello Chrystina,

I am so grateful for your continued commitment to bringing innovation into East African higher education. I am one of  other students who want to take coding lessons here at Kepler Kigali and I hope it will be a productive and employable skill to us,  as well as to Kiziba camp's students. Keep up your good work and many thanks to SNHU!

Best,
Moise.

Photo of Chrystina Russell
Team

Hi Moise,

As a leader of students in Kiziba, we hope you'll be willing to join the team and help us digest, understand, and apply the feedback that we receive about this program. Thank you for all that you do on behalf of the residents and students at Kiziba!

Chrystina

Photo of Tresor
Team

Hello Chrystina,

I hope you're doing well. First of all, I would like to thank you for bringing out such a great idea. I truly know the value of helping refugees since I've experienced such life once upon a time. Summing up my idea, Chrystina is a living hero to me since none except her thought of bringing higher education to refugees.

Sincerely,
Tresor

Photo of Chrystina Russell
Team

Hi Tresor,
I appreciate your support and kind words! Given your experiences as a refugee previously, I'd like to hear more about what you think will work well in this proposal and what we can improve from the beneficiary point of view. Thanks in advance for your feedback!

Photo of Jean Pascal Piaget Asifiwe
Team

Thank you so much Chrystina. I am impressed by this project. To come up with a project that benefit both citizens and refugees is so brave. I am sure this project will expand the economic opportunities for East African youth. Good job and keep it up! 

Photo of Chrystina Russell
Team

Hi Jean Pascal,

Thanks for your positive comments. Please let us know if you have any feedback about how we can improve the proposal!

Chrystina

Photo of Habyara M. Alphonse
Team

Hi Chrystina,

I am unable to describe who you're depending on how much you care a lot about Rwanda. Thanks for your initiative. Back in March this year, you gave me an opportunity to conduct an engineering workshop focused on energy with Kiziba students. This was an experience ever in my life to teach refugee students. Just skimmed through the ideas looking for http://bit.ly/2dBPDSM and found a life changing idea of yours. I've already got accepted into Actualize Coding Bootcamp and I'm enjoying web application development with the hopes to use coding experience at the Tech Lab.

Look forward to collaborating with you in any way.

Best,

Photo of Ashley Haywood
Team

Alphonse,
We're so excited to have you participating in the Actualize program on the Kepler Kigali campus.  I will be interested in hearing your feedback about how we can modify the curriculum to best meet the needs of the students in Kiziba.  It would also be great to get you and some other Kigali students out to Kiziba to share your experiences and newly gained programming skills with the Kiziba students.

Photo of Chrystina Russell
Team

Hi Alphonse,
As Ashley mentioned, we are really excited to hear about your experience with Actualize. We'd love to hear about your experience and use your feedback to improve it for the refugee campus. If you can take notes during your learning journey, we'd love to have a meeting at the end of your training to hear about what wen well and what can be improved. We can then apply that feedback for the Kiziba context.

Thanks for your feedback!

Photo of Habyara M. Alphonse
Team

Hi Chrystina,

You have my words! I'll definitely love to share my learning experience with you for Kiziba students to soak it all!

Thanks,
Alphonse

Photo of Jean Baptiste Ukwizabigira
Team

I cannot get the way to express my gratitude to that bravely act of SNHU team to give such opportunity to refugees that might turn them into ethical citizens for change and contribute to the development of their areas in coding. This will help to increase the number of people who are aware of advanced Technology at work place with a productive result that everyone appreciate. This idea is the best and keep on bringing more opportunities to Refugees and E Africans for getting brilliant future Tech Savvy managers at work force.  

Photo of Chrystina Russell
Team

Hi Jean Baptiste,

Thanks for your positive support. We'd like to hear more about how you think coding will work as a path to employment in East Africa, as well as where you think we might run into challenges. We look forward to hearing your feedback!

Chrystina

Photo of Nico
Team

The project is on point as technology is a part of dayly life. To have an oppertunity to be exposure or trained in ICT is crutial. 

I am excited, supportive and thankful for all the work.

Photo of Chrystina Russell
Team

Hi Nico,

Thanks for your feedback and we hope you'll continue to support the project in the future. We'd like to hear how you feel the proposal could be improved.

Thanks!

Photo of Ashley Haywood
Team

This is such an incredible opportunity to expand the life choices open to refugee youth.  You can't find a more dedicated group of students and staff than you will in Kiziba, and I have no doubt they would help turn this project into something that could impact youths in camps all over the world!

Photo of Chrystina Russell
Team

Hi Ashley,

Thanks so much for your support! We hope you'll give the curriculum a look and give us some feedback on how it can better meet the needs of the students you know so well in Kiziba!

Chrystina

Photo of Ashley Haywood
Team

Hi Chrystina,
I'm very excited about the work Actualize will be doing with students in Kigali over the coming months as it can help us modify the existing curriculum to better meet the unique needs of students at the Kiziba campus.  We will also be training local staff, who will then help us contextualize the material and determine the best models for delivery in a refugee camp setting.

Photo of Cyusa Luc
Team

Great project to support refugees in East Africa, one of the regions that experienced some of the most dramatic conflicts in the world. Strong appreciation for SNHU, KEPLER and Actualize for giving an unprecedented opportunity for the refugees in ICT where there is plenty of opportunities in this region. ����

Photo of Chrystina Russell
Team

Hi Jean Luc,
We appreciate your support. As a business leader in Rwanda, we hope you'll consider students from Kiziba for internships and employment opportunities. We're pretty sure you'll be really happy with their work ethic, ability to apply critical thinking, and technological skills.  Thanks for your ideas and direct mentoring with our students, which has resulted in great learning and employment outcomes!

Photo of Julia Fisher
Team

This idea is a brilliant way to overcome the obstacles of isolation and stigma to employment, while training students with a highly demanded skill locally and globally. And having met some of the students and staff, I know they'd implement it beyond expectations. Such inspiring work with incredible potential expand!

Photo of Chrystina Russell
Team

Hi Julia,
We really appreciate the enthusiasm. As you've done some mentoring work with students in the past, we hope you might consider to continue that work with some Kiziba students! Let us know if you're interested.

Photo of James
Team

I would love to have more resources to help others. They need it so much.

Photo of Chrystina Russell
Team

Hi James,
Thanks so much for your comment. I'd love to hear more about the resources you're thinking about to help others. Can you say more so that we can determine if there's an opportunity for collaboration?
Thanks!
Chrystina

Photo of Ayla Schlosser
Team

Hey Chrystina,

I love the way you guys are brining your expertise directly do the camps where the refugees have access to these important skills. How exactly do you find the students within the camps that you're working with?

Thanks for all of your excellent work!

Photo of Chrystina Russell
Team

Hey Ayla,
Great question! We use the Kepler admissions process to identify our students. Right now in Kiziba, SNHU is offering degrees to 25 students per year over 4 years. We would love to have you come out and visit the program and offer your gender expertise on what we're doing well for our female students and what we can improve! In fact, perhaps there's an opportunity to get Resonate out to Kiziba to give us some feedback!

Chrystina

Photo of Naila Umutoni
Team

This is really great! I am sure this will bring a positive impact to students. 
 
Good job!

Photo of Chrystina Russell
Team

Hi Naila,

Thanks for your support. Given the work you've done teaching in Kizba, we hope we can reach out to your for feedback on how to make the program better! In fact, if you take a look at the application and see any areas for improvement, we'd love to have your thoughts!

chrystina

Photo of Jah Yute
Team

This is the news that should get the main story at 5pm 6 pm and 11pm. Just what we need love and positivity,that's how we the people can rise above all the negative behavior of the world today . This is a powerful article and Ms Russell is and will always be an ambassador to the education system. Salute to her and the NSHU for there dedication and hard work. Good luck ����

Photo of Chrystina Russell
Team

Hi Jah,
Thanks for your positive feedback. We hope that with your positive outlook that you might be willing to e-mentor a student once he or she begins the program!

Chrystina

Photo of Riman Douedari
Team

Amongst all the negativity and pain happening across the world, education seems to be the essential core of hope and positive transformation. I can't imagine someone with stronger gratitude than a refugee receiving an opportunity to earn a high-quality degree from a U.S remarkable institution such as Southern New Hampshire University.
Such a tremendous work SNHU team is doing. Keep it up! 

Photo of Chrystina Russell
Team

Hi Rimi,
Thanks for your positive feedback. Given your knowledge in the Middle East, how do you think this would translate in that environment? What would work well for the students? What might we need to change given the cultural context?

Photo of Jackie Lavorgna
Team

This is a great way to bring wicked marketable skills that can be used remotely into a region in need of an economic boost! 

Photo of Chrystina Russell
Team

Hi Jackie,

Thanks for your enthusiasm! Given your research skills, perhaps you could help us think about where to take this next if we find success with the Kiziba pilot. The areas we're thinking about are: 1) The Middle East (Turkey, Iraq, Afghanistan, Jordan), 2) Colombia (focusing on internally displaced individuals), 3) resettled refugees in the United States, and 4) Continued expansion in East Africa (Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda).

We'd love your thoughts!

Photo of Andonis Marden
Team

I am always impressed to learn about the exciting opportunities that Kepler staff and students work to create amidst the many challenging conditions present in Kiziba camp. Your students would be so fortunate to have access to the Coding Bootcamp and I have no doubt that they'd be prepared to make the most of the opportunity, which builds off of so many other Kepler Kiziba successes. Best wishes!

Photo of Chrystina Russell
Team

Hi Andonis,
Thanks for your support! As a researcher of refugee issues, we'd love for you to take a look at our proposal and tell us what you think the challenges might be, as well as what might make it better. We're particularly keen on the IDEO philosophy of putting humans at the center. From the student point of view, and what you know based on research, what are we missing and what's on point? Thanks for your expertise!

Photo of LJF321
Team

 I am so passionate about the dynamics of this program and the impact it will play in so many lives.  I would like to know how I can get involved in any mentorship opportunities or other opportunities to help support!

Photo of Chrystina Russell
Team

Hi LJF,
We're so excited to hear about your passion! Can you tell us a little bit more about your background and interests? Our students always need mentors, which can be done virtually, or there are opportunities to come and work directly with students. Additionally, if you've got any coding, tech, or curriculum skills to offer, we'd love to collaborate around that. On the other hand, if you've got some ideas on how you may be able to contribute, please feel free to share--we're eager to hear!

Thanks again for your support,
Chrystina

Photo of Barrett Nash
Team

Access to opportunity is the largest critical element missing in refugee camps. Building on top of SNHU's unique digital capabilities to educate, and then more importantly create paying work via digital means from within the refugee camp is not just a powerful social good, but represents a potential transformation of access to the digital economy in the poorest places on earth.

Photo of Chrystina Russell
Team

Hi Nash,
As the founder of a start-up and employer in Rwanda, your comments are so valuable! I know you had a list of possible digital employers you had researched. Would you be able to share those so that we can include them in our beneficiary feedback session?

Photo of Rachael
Team

This program looks fantastic! It will make invaluable contributions and provide life changing access to education and careers. Please let me know if there is anything I can do to help. 

Rachael Sears

Photo of Chrystina Russell
Team

Hi Rachel,
Thanks for your support! As a communications specialist, it would be great to have you practice interviews with the students as we prepare them for employment. It would also be great to help the students craft and practice messages that clearly communicate the skills they would learn in the bootcamp to employers. I appreciate your willingness to help!

Photo of Jackson VUGAYABAGABO
Team

I can't think of a best program beyond serving refugees. I am very confident that having coding skills will raise their professional profiles, and put them on good position for employment competitiveness. Really great project. Wish you best of luck! 

Photo of Chrystina Russell
Team

Hi Jackson,
Thanks so much for your input. We'd love any ideas on how we can make the proposal stronger. Are there any weak areas that you think could be improved? Especially from the beneficiary point of view? We'd love your expertise!

Chrystina

Photo of Jackson VUGAYABAGABO
Team

Hi Chrystina, 
My small comment was on 4 hours/day of instructions. It could be hectic (especially for coding classes) to do 4 hours almost in a row.  I would probably suggest you put a space for a different activity (i.e the first class 10:30 - 12:30, then second starts 3:30-5:30) particularly in the first 4 weeks.  Just thinking...

Photo of Chrystina Russell
Team

Hi Jackson,
This makes a lot of sense. I will be interested to synthesize our beneficiary feedback and get their thoughts on the schedule. Another thought I had was--is it worth it to stop our regular instruction for some time and have this be the sole class? What are your thoughts on that? What would be the advantages and disadvantages?

Photo of Lynda
Team

Having visited both the Kigali campus and the Kiziba refugee camp in Rwanda in March of 2016, I cannot emphasize enough the dedication of the facilitators, especially Chrystina Russell, and the determination of the students who have been given the chance to further their education. Given the lack of opportunities In their previous years, I was amazed at the QUALITY of the work by the students. Having been a college instructor, I can assure you that what was being accomplished at so high a level speaks volumes about both programs. Please support Ms. Russell and her experienced judgement and commitment.   Seeing what was being accomplished in Rwanda brought tears of joy to my eyes and impacted me in ways I will never forget. Your full support of Ms. Russell's initiative would be both wise and appreciated. These future students deserve our full support--they will make you proud!
Lynda Bronzetti

Photo of Chrystina Russell
Team

Thank you for your support! We're really happy about the quality of work students are producing as well. Given your academic background, we would love your support in looking at the curriculum to get feedback and ensure it meets the high standards we want to continue to hold for students.

Photo of Dennis Russell
Team

As we prepare for our Thanksgiving feasts here in the USA , we need only examine the programs developed in Rwanda over the past 3 years to recognize people whom are really thankful for just a chance! The work, commitment, and courage to give those less fortunate than we needs to be recognized and rewarded. I visited both Kigali and Kizaba in Jan. of 2016. I met many students and some of the parents and there was a universal feeling of gratitude and as one parent explained-for the first time in there lifetime-HOPE. In Kiziba, I visited the home of a student and his parent and we discussed the school and their current situation. The student's Mother concluded our conversation,telling me "GOD has answered our prayers", He sent us your daughter,SNHU and Kepler. This kind of success needs support and nurturing. Thank You for every day and everything you do.  Dennis C. Russell

Photo of Chrystina Russell
Team

Thank you for your support! It'd be great to have you check-in with some students and mentor them on their pathway to employment once they gain the web design/coding skills. I hope you will come to Kiziba again soon to see the students growth--they're doing amazing work as you mention!

Photo of Heather Mullally Joines
Team

Sounds amazing 

Photo of Chrystina Russell
Team

Hi Heather,

Thanks for your feedback. I saw that you work in human resources and headhunting. We'd love if you might be willing to look at the ways that our students will design their resumes around this experience and give them feedback on their strengths and weaknesses. If you might be open to this, please let me know!

Chrystina

Photo of Adam
Team

Very well laid-out proposal, worthy of support....

Photo of Chrystina Russell
Team

Hi Adam,
Thanks for your thoughts! Over the next few days, we'll be incorporating beneficiary feedback. I hope you'll give the proposal a look then and tell us what you think about the changes.

Thanks,
Chrystina

Photo of Suzana Brown
Team

It is a great idea to educate people in the camp and coding is a skill that can serve them anywhere. I would suggest that as an exercise they make an app that is useful in the local environment, something that would improve life in the camp. Good luck!

Photo of Chrystina Russell
Team

Hi Suzana,

This is a great suggestion! Do you know anyone that's worked on apps in fragile environments (or non-fragile) that we might be able to speak with to learn more? We'll also bring this idea to our beneficiary feedback session to get further feedback and explore this idea.

Thanks so much for your input!
Chrystina