Creating a 21st Century Literacy
Founders Joe Friel, Oliver Smith-Wellnitz, Kristina Jaggard with Dan Sofer and Anni Rowland-Campbell
Founders and Coders started life as “Self Organising”, a MeetUp at the British Library which led to a 6 week pilot at the Camden Code Academy in March 2014. The next step was a crowdsourced 8 week programme in January 2015 (FAC4).
Founders and Coders are now about to graduate their 17th cohort FAC17, and have helped to initiate Coding bootcamps in Nazareth, Gaza and Hebron.
I met Dan in 2015 and quickly realised that his vision of bringing the ability to code to all those who are interested in developing a ‘literacy for the modern age’, and ours of developing 21st Century leaders, were closely aligned. This resulted in our support to help him create the Tech for Better Founders Programme and ever since we have been exploring new ways to work together and develop both the technical and social skills required to lead in the twenty first century.
Our second cohort, Oliver Smith Wellnitz and Kristina Jaggard finished their Founders work and are co-ordinating the 17th FAC programme.
Tech for Better – Founders 2 Projects 2019
Oliver and Kristina worked with a range of Palestinian Founders on three projects: Commons, HOWL, Business LaunchPad
The Commons: Networked City sought to progress work towards their ultimate goal of creating an online platform for supporting the development of communities and networks, both in a spatial (e.g. a local community) and interest (e.g. supporting at-risk youth) sense.
Team: Kristina-Talisa Jaggard, London Oliver Smith-Wellnitz, London Haneen Shahwan, Gaza, Ali Haj Ahmed, Gaza
HOWL (The History of Women’s Liberation (HOWL) group) is a group of aged 60+ women who were active during the Women’s Liberation Movement between the 1960s and 1990s who continue to contribute to the contemporary feminist discourse. Their central aim is to create a collection of stories, visual documentation and ephemera relating to the Women’s Liberation Movement in the United Kingdom
Team: Kristina-Talisa Jaggard, London Oliver Smith-Wellnitz, London Orjwan Al-Rajaby, Hebron Muhammed Shareef, Hebron
Business Launchpad aims to support young entrepreneurs (16-30) through running free workshops and mentoring sessions with groups and individuals. Part of their work involves collecting and digitizing information related to each individual’s journey in order to both better support them and to inform the future direction of the organization. They sought to create an app that would help to facilitate their data collection while also providing something that would be useful for young entrepreneurs.
Team: Kristina-Talisa Jaggard, London Oliver Smith-Wellnitz, London Salwa Mugh, Gaza Shaima Azmi, Hebron
Gaza Sky Geeks Second Cohort Founders
Haneen Shahwan – Graduate Coder
Haneen Shahwan is a software engineer who graduated from Gaza Sky Geeks Coding Bootcamp in 2016. She worked in the management field for one year then decided to return programming. Code Academy has challenged her and helped her develop her software engineering skills together with her skills in systems analysis, and her English and communication skills. She returns to Tech4Better so further develop the skills she began developing during the first round of projects.
Ali Haj Ahmed – Graduate Coder
Alis has a Bachelor of Engineering in Mechatronics Engineering, from Al-Azhar University, Gaza. He graduated in 2012 and joined the Business and Technology Incubator (BTI) at the Islamic University (Mobaderoon 2 project) before starting his own business in CNC Zone. He then decided to learn programming and joined Gaza Sky Geeks in mid 2018. He is keen to further develop his technical and communication skills as a team and community member.
Muhammed Shareef – Graduate Coder
Muhammad graduated from Palestine Polytechnic University in Aug 2018, with a BA degree in Computer Science. He joined the GSG Founders and Coders program to strengthen his programming, management, and social skills, and also to make good relationships with people out of his country.
Orjwan Al-Rajaby – Graduate Coder
Orjwan heard of Gaza Sky Geeks after being unable to attend College and then entered the Coders programme after hearing about them on Facebook. She is now a Fullstack Developer.
Salwa Mughessib – Graduate Coder
Salwa studied Electrical Engineering at Islamic University of Gaza and applied for Gaza Sky Geeks Code Academy shortly afterwards. She enjoys the community and meeting new and interesting people.
Shaima Ihdoosh – Graduate Coder
Shaima has an information technology degree from Palestine Polytechnic University graduating in July 2018. After graduation she was unable to find work and then did volunteer work to gain experience before hearing about Gaza Sky Geeks when browsing Facebook. She was keen to learn programming and communications and work with a team of students from other fields and joined the first GSG Cohort in the West Bank.
All Tech for Better Project GitHub Repositories and Descriptions:
 Initial meeting – Self-Organising Meeting at British Library – http://selforganising.org/
 Crowdsourced programme for FAC4 – https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/founders-coders-a-free-coding-academy-in-london#/
 https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/jul/05/wireless-in-gaza-the-code-school-bringing-hope-to-the-strip and https://medium.freecodecamp.org/something-within-me-whispered-be-the-builder-9a47fcc013f
 See https://www.yallacooperative.com/, https://www.freecodecamp.org/news/the-most-international-micro-agency-how-two-london-bootcamp-graduates-built-a-remote-3eeda0be1b2a/ and https://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/indyventure/founders-coders-software-developer-academy-islington-gaza-yalla-a8907586.html