Zandile Mkwanazi


What does your company do?

GirlCode is a registered Non-Profit Organisation (158-642) aimed at empowering young girls and women through technology. It creates an overview, interest, and excitement about technology and more so about coding to young girls and women. It empowers them with the skill that they can harness and enhance within the ICT sector thus bridging the gender participation and inequality gap in the sector. Furthermore, GirlCodeā€™s aspire to reach 10 million girls within the next 10 years by equipping them with the necessary skills to be able to compete globally and fill the gaps in the labour market. GirlCode was established in 2014 and it is a Level 1 BBBEE contributor, founded by long-time friends who believe that the more women get involved with technology, design, development and leadership, the more successful and diverse companies and their products will be in the future.

What is your biggest success?

It is difficult to name just only one because we constantly work towards creating a bigger impact in our sector. In 2018 we hosted the largest all female hackathon in SA connecting over 300 female IT students to companies for bursary and job opportunities. In 2019 we participated in the SAP Africa Code event where we introduced coding to over a thousand girls between the ages of 10-18 years. We also facilitated interviews for 48 female graduates in a UK based technology company; 8 of which were successful thus relocated to the U.K for work. In 2020 we provide 20 female University IT students with laptops to assist them during the COVID-19 lockdowns to access online classes and to enable them to have personal laptops to continue their studies. Lastly, since 2015 we have built successful partnerships with various tech giants including Deloitte, SAGE, and AWS in support towards our initiatives.

What has been your biggest hurdle?

Funding has been our biggest hurdle so far and COVID-19 accelerated our need to pivot towards becoming a social enterprise as we realised that often CSI budgets are the first be reduced or halted when the economy is weak. The lack of funds deems us under-resourced financially and from a HR perspective. We are not able to scale teams up and infrastructure; most of the communities we serve do not have computers/laptops or even internet access making it difficult to deliver our programs unless we provide all three. Hence, we strive to become a self-sustaining organisation by offering some of the programs at a cost to selected markets that are likely to afford the minimal fees. We believe that having income generating services that can support our programs will differentiate us from many NPOs and allow us to continue our work.

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