Founders and Coders Tech for Better

In November 2018 Intersticia UK began supporting the Founders and Coders Tech for Better programme.

The programme seeks to design, test and build new digital service ideas using developers in London and Gaza which not only gives the opportunity for graduate coders to gain experience working on real, needs based client projects, but also for those clients to take their initial ideas and turn them in to a testable pilot service.

Founders and Coders aim to encourage and develop diversity in coding, focusing not only on the coding itself, but on the entrepreneurship and community building.  They seek to be an early stage incubator and accelerator for Tech for Good through actively providing education and experience, as opposed to Venture Capitalists who provide funding.  It is very hard to build a business model through the learning process itself, and therefore F&C are encouraging graduates to work on real projects aims to draw key lessons from early stage projects, as well as develop intercultural skills and team processes.

This is precisely why Intersticia is supporting the Tech for Better programme, to both enable the development of prototype services that will have social benefit, and to support the graduate coders in working on real challenges.  In addition the cross-cultural learning between London and Gaza is a unique learning experience for everyone.

Finally, Intersticia is keen to work with Founders and Coders and their graduates to help develop much more of a contextually driven social conscious around the business of building technology.  By bringing coders from different cultural backgrounds together in a deliberate way the participants have to learn to understand differing viewpoints, value frameworks and norms of acceptability in the work that they do.  We will work with them to further consider the ethical and moral questions that underpin their work, and interrogate the business models that accompany and support any technology solution.

This is just our first group of graduates and we are excited about the potential they have to truly become better leaders through the work that they do.

Our sincere thanks to Dan Sofer for inviting us to be a part of the team, and to Jo Kerr for her ongoing participation as one of our Intersticia Fellows.

Tech for Better projects 2018 – see Connect 5, My Pickle and Nightingale

Connect 5 is a UK-wide mental health promotion training programme developed from a unique collaboration between Public Health England (PHE) & Health Education England (HEE). It is designed to increase the confidence and core skills of front line staff so that they can be more effective in having conversations about mental health and well-being, help people to manage mental health problems and increase their resilience and mental well-being through positive changes.

Connect 5’s system is highly reliant on ongoing monitoring activities to ensure trainings are effective, and one crucial element is to collect and evaluate participant’s feedback. After each training session participants are supposed to fill out a survey form and this process can be cumbersome and difficult.  The Connect 5 App aims to tackle this by creating a tool that focuses primarily on trainers to easily share survey forms with course participants and to collect results. Moreover the App shows and visualises individual and overall average survey results.  Finally trainers can export and download all of their results. Using the app Connect 5 trainers can gain insights about their teaching outcomes over time.

My Pickle is a new social enterprise platform that helps people find support and in doing so, funds are raised to help more people access the services they need & support VCS services.  Cat Divers’ (My Pickle 5 Founder and Product Owner) basic aim was to create a platform related to integrated wellness which addresses multiple health & well-being factors rather than a single issue. It is an holistic, person-centred approach and uses a combination of services, activities & technologies across all eight dimensions of wellness.  The objective was to help My Pickle develop to become a Minimum Viable Product.

Nightingale is an innovative analytical software tool for the early identification of mental health and wellbeing concerns in schools.

2018 Tech for Better Graduates London

Course Facilitator:  Michael Watts

Michael is the course facilitator for FAC15, who started their cohort on 29th October. In previous lives he has been a musician and teacher, and discovered his love for coding through teaching coding to children using Scratch. He was drawn to Founders & Coders as a place to train because of the emphasis on social impact projects and is now overseeing the Tech For Better programme to help develop it into a consistent and sustainable pipeline of meaningful projects for students in London and in Gaza.

Graduate Programmer:  Simon Dupree

Simon comes from Berlin, Germany. Having studied politics, economics and natural resource management he has determined work towards improving social and environmental conditions through the use of technology.

“Having recently graduated from Founders and Coders I am very eager to use my software development skills within the Tech for Better programme. I am sure that together we can make huge impact and I am very excited about the chance to work together with like minded developers in Gaza and the UK.“

Graduate Coder:  Joe Friel

Joe worked in media and digital advertising where he helped build the children’s radio station, Fun Kids, into a national award-winning brand and set up an influencer marketing division for one of the UK’s leading advertising agencies. Having spent most of his career working where technology and young people intersect, Joe is keen to develop technology in a responsible way that will help drive positive, sustainable change. 
“Tech for Better is a truly unique and fantastic opportunity that connects like-minded developers – across the UK and Gaza – with people looking to address important social issues, to bring to life solutions through technology that can deliver real impact. I am so excited to have the opportunity to be a part of Tech for Better and help it to continue to grow so we can help many more non-profits in the future.“

A major outcome of the Tech For Better programme thus far is that five of the coders (Michael, Simon, Jo, Ramy and Asala) have formed a Co-Operative to take their collaboration further as The Yalla Co-Operative.

2018 Tech for Better Graduates Gaza

Gaza Sky Geeks is the leading co-working space, pre-seed accelerator, and technology education hub in Gaza which brings together online freelancers, outsourcers, and startup founders together under one roof.  It is one of the most women-inclusive startup communities in the world (42% of the community is female) and was founded in 2011 in partnership with Google and the international NGO Mercy Corps.

Graduate Coder – Connect 5 – Ramy Shurafa

Ramy was born in Gaza-Palestine. and attended Islamic University – Gaza where he studied Science and then both Mechanical Engineering and Civil Engineering.  He graduated as a Civil Engineer and then received the Surveying and GIS Diploma before working as an engineer.
“I applied to work on Tech for Better so that I can have the opportunity to improve my technical skills. Working with remote clients and remote developers are invaluable experiences that will allow me to see how other developers think and to learn new techniques.“

Graduate Coder – Connect 5 – Marwa Jomaa

Marwa is from Gaza and having graduated from the fourth cohort Code Academy is now a Javascript web developer working on community projects.
“The thing that made me like programming is that it doesn’t believe in boundaries and constraints, while it enables me from home to communicate with people from different parts of the world, and this is my dream, which I found in Tech for better, where I can communicate and work with talented developers and clients remotely, share ideas and do great work as if we are in the same place. Also to have the chance to enhance my technical and communications skills, so I think I’m lucky to be a part of this community as I’m looking for working with such talented developers from the UK.“

Graduate Coder – My Pickle – Haneen Shahwan

Haneen studied software engineering before working in management and has returned to programming.  The experience of working on the Tech for Better programme has enabled her to focus on both her technical and communication skills, and to gain experience working remotely as part of the team where people think differently.
“So far the code academy is one of the most challenging things and the best experience for me. It’s really helped me to become a good software engineer because this experience is not just focusing on the technical side, but also involves your (English) communications skills and how to analyze any system.  GSG encouraged me join to Tech for Better to learn more and know how different developers are thinking. It also created the first remote client experiences and also supports me to build my portfolio.”

Graduate Coder – My Pickle – Ismail Al-Salehail

Ismail attend Al-Azhar University-Gaza, initially studying software engineering before moving to computer science in the third year.  Ismail is excited by the challenge and reward of writing code and building something to solve problems and brings this to work on new projects and enhance his technical and communication skills.
“The main thing that makes me love programming are the challenges and the competition that faced me when trying first how to learn to programme. After I finished university and learned the basics of programming I felt that it is not enough for me to reach my goals. Friends advised me to come to GazaSkyGeeks and join their program and being a part of the Founders and Coders community. It was the most amazing thing in my life. It’s a great community and they are a great people.  Joining Tech for Better was an amazing opportunity to learn new things and also to meet great people from the community and clients in London.”

Graduate Coder – Nightingale – Asala Kamal

Asala is a 2018 graduate of E-business management from Khan Younis Training College, and part of the 5th cohort of the Gaza Sky Geeks Coding Academy.
“My top interest in work and learning is work in teams, faced challenges, work in complex projects which offer opportunities for gaining new experiences and have fun 😄 . So, I applied to work on Tech for Better so that I can have the opportunity to improve my technical skills. Working with remote clients and remote developers are height experiences that will allow me to see how other developers think and to learn new techniques. I also thrive on challenge. I am motivated about new challenges and tasks and always attempt to take original approaches to achieve success in all project..”