Web and mobile app development skills are among the top in-demand skills for businesses in the post-lockdown era. Acquiring proficiency in these areas will help young people get more jobs and reduce the unemployment rate in the country. Tech startups that create an easy way for people to learn these skills in the north are serving to bridge the tech gap between countries in Africa.
The most widespread way of building tech solutions and becoming a tech bro has always been by learning how to code. Across Africa, programs like She Hacks Africa, She Hacks Kenya and Africa Code Week provide training for people who want to learn how to code and innovate in the tech space. However, the focus is also now shifting to those who want to innovate in the tech space but have no affinity for in-depth coding.
Kabakoo is the very first no-code school on the African continent. Through its training and partnerships with other international no-code companies, it is able to teach young Africans how to build software solutions without knowing how to code. It was founded by Yanick Kemayou in 2018.
Building without coding
Building solutions require knowledge of the relevant tools and the problem that is to be solved. The startup’s model heavily encourages students to explore the world around them, know themselves, communicate effectively as well as create, connect and share their tech products with others.
Kabakoo teaches students how to build tech solutions without requiring them to know how to code. Its programs are available to entrepreneurs, students and employees and anyone can apply by filling a form on its web app.
A number of no-code tools are used to teach students in the course of Kabakoo’s 6-month long program. The tools include Zapier, Airtable, Adalo and Glide. While working on projects, students are able to connect apps like Gmail, Slack and Mailchimp together to automate repetitive processes that will take place in the solution being built.
The solutions built at Kabakoo are usually targeted at local problems. Previous solutions by students include setting up a decentralized supply chain for the local production of fabric masks in Mali, open-source devices to monitor air quality and a machine-learning algorithm to recognize the origin of African masks.
Traction and Funding
Zoom invested an undisclosed amount into the edtech startup after it emerged winner of the Zoom EdInnovation Award. It was the only startup that was selected from Africa.
Kabakoo has also secured partnerships with key software companies to further facilitate its no-code training for students. One of the companies that have partnered with Kabakoo is Notion, a software company with a no-code app for building tech solutions. It supports Kabakoo’s activities through its impact program.
The edtech startup has trained about 530 students in its campuses across Ghana and Mali. It has no branch in Nigeria yet but takes applicants from Nigeria into any of its campuses. For the duration of the program, the sustenance of the students is the responsibility of the student. At the point of applying to join the training, applicants are required to supply information about their plan for feeding and taking care of themselves while the training goes on.
In summary, by combining a knowledge of local problems with no-code solution-building skills in African countries, Kabakoo is making it possible for a wider range of people to develop an interest in tech. Through the innovations of these students, 81% of whom have learned in some other tertiary institution, challenges such as unemployment and high illiteracy as well as high levels of inequality and poverty are solved in communities.
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