I just finished my first year of college at KIIT University in India, where I study computer science. For the summer, I worked as a Program Analyst for Code for Nepal. Code for Nepal is a U.S.-based organization that works for digital empowerment in Nepal. Digital empowerment means raising awareness about how to use social media and technology to make your life better and to have more access to information online.
My main job as a Program Analyst was to conduct a survey in Nepal to determine what women wanted to learn about computers and the Internet. The survey was done online and offline via paper. In Nepal, only a few cities have good Internet service. I went to several schools such as Sathya Sai School in Kathmandu, and Siddharth Shishu Sadan School and Model Campus in Janakpur.
I also asked my friends from high school who are pursuing their undergraduate degrees in Kathmandu to ask their female classmates to take the survey. My friends are from different colleges like V.S Niketan College, Global College of Management, and Apex College. I distributed the form to them and gave a speech about Code For Nepal and they returned it back after students finished them. I gave the survey to high school, undergraduate, and graduate-level students.
It was a good experience conducting the survey in Kathmandu and Janakpur over six weeks. More than 200 women completed the survey, sharing their goals and interests for digital training.
While completing the survey, many students asked me questions, such as: what is a “hackathon”? What is “code” or “programming languages”? Students were curious to learn about HTML/CSS and Java. For students who had never heard of code, the concept was difficult to understand.
To explain, I told them that the next time when they played a game on their phone, they would see the Java logo as the game loaded – that was an example of code being used to build a product that students used in their everyday lives.
Overall, I found that it was very hard in rural area for girls to use the Internet and to know about social media. Girls in the Janakpur region also explained that they used the Internet infrequently because it is too slow. The power is often out there due to “load shedding.” Nonetheless, they were interested in Code for Nepal, and hope to participate in a training program in the future.
And I welcome your thoughts about our project. Looking forward for your comments below!
Shashi Adhikari, @AdhikariShashi
Shashi is a social media and technology enthusiast. He is pursuing bachelors in computer science at KIIT in India. He likes to visit new places, make new friends and read tech blogs.