At the University of the Western Cape, Dr. Carlos Rey-Moreno of Zenzeleni Networks has been working to reduce the costs of telecommunication in South Africa. Dr. Rey-Moreno approached one of the four Code Camp groups with a challenge to apply Zenzeleni’s local mission to South Africa at large: how might Code4CT enable South African youth to access telecommunication services as affordably as possible? To address this challenge, during Code Camp, the learners produced two projects: Telebright and Telewise.
Telebright is a WiFi locator. The web-based application that the young women created tackles the issues of lack of access to free WiFi and lack of awareness of wifi hotspots in Cape Town. Zenzeleni Networks provided the data set, which included pricing plans and store locations, and the Code4CT team used the database to create a web application that directs users to the closest public WiFi hotspots through an easy-to-use interface. All the user has to do is select a suburb name and a location from a list, and Telebright returns with WiFi points at the chosen sites.
Telewise provides data transparency to its users. The learners built a web-based application that calculates and recommends the cheapest data packages based on a user’s average usage of mobile phone services. Telewise also informs its users of how to change service providers.
Jody, one of the young women who developed Telebright and Telewise, shared her experience at Code Camp: “Learning at Code4CT is not just about sitting in front of a computer all day. It allows us to speak up and find solutions to everyday problems.” She continued: “[Code4CT] has influenced me to learn coding because I have heard that being a coder opens your eyes to real-life situations that you yourself might even deal with. Coding has become my life ever since. I am even working on a few of my own projects.”
A tutor Moses, a student at the University of the Western Cape, noted a change in the young women after one week of participating at Code Camp: “The girls I was teaching at Code Week, most of them had no idea about coding. After a week, I saw them creating their own websites during Code Camp. Some of them were even styling better than I style.”
Dr. Rey-Moreno gave insight into why he got involved with Code4CT: “I see a lot of value in the work that you do. I think that beyond the value it has for our solutions to be coded by the girls, and, so, them having more chances to be used in their communities, the value for the Computer Department as UWC is huge, as our students can see with their own eyes and apply the potential of the knowledge that they are gaining. Additionally, by having UWC students involved in the development and tutoring of the solutions coming from our research group, they get to know us and work with us, which increase the chances of them joining us for their research projects in the future.”
Team members: Afrika, Anele, Faith, Ipeleng, Janine, Jody, Jolene, Lauren, Manuel, Ncebakazi, Rebecca, Sonique, Tina
Tutors: Bruce, Bulumko, Delena, Moses