MENA Coding School

 

About MENA Coding School

 

Throughout our long years of experience in the nearshoring and freelancing field and our direct interaction with both global tech companies and Palestinian talents, we realized the chronic shortage of technical learning opportunities in Palestine and the growing demand for tech talents worldwide. Thus we launched a coding program in cooperation between MENA Alliances and CodeYourFuture. It’s an intensive & inclusive programming course for graduates, women, and unemployed youth in Palestine who want to become professional software developers in the tech industry.  It aims at reducing the unemployment rate in Palestine by equipping many students with the knowledge and skills necessary to become professional developers, creating global learning communities, connecting them with international and local tech companies to increase their chances of finding job opportunities in the tech industry.

 

Our Approach

 

The program includes a vocational blended (online & face to face) training that requires 30 hours a week of self-learning, group studies, practical training, and remote working. The students are going to learn two courses; a self-paced Intro to Coding course and an 8-month Full-Stack Development course. The program is flexible and inclusive, and it does not require the previous technical experience. It also offers support to cover any expenses needed to lower barriers for students to join the program. The program also involves events and workshops with local and international industry experts and business owners to promote Palestinian tech talents to the international market. 

 

The code training program stands on three pillars: 

Led by women

 

Provide a space for talented professional women to lead and thrive in tech. Based on our strong belief that women only need equal opportunities to shine and reveal their capabilities especially in the tech industry, we placed our training program in the hands of female leaders who showed potential for success and they never let us down!

 

Making Connections

 

In Palestine, youths and women are isolated and disconnected from the whole world due to political and social restrictions, which deprives them of having good opportunities to gain more experience and widen their horizons. Therefore, we launched “Ya3ni Talk”,  to provide a safe space for women and young generations to connect with the world while learning how to improve themselves both personally and professionally!
The program offers mentoring, soft-skills coaching, and a global and diverse learning community for our students. Throughout the previous months, we have delivered many Ya3ni Talk sessions on various topics, such as time management, learning new languages, building a professional online brand, setting Goals, etc. Through these sessions, we connect our students with local, regional, and international like-minded experts (writers, entrepreneurs, and tech recruiters, etc.) to help them build their diverse network and improve their hard and soft skills.

Learn & Earn

 

The program goes the extra mile by offering the students a unique opportunity to learn to code and earn money at the same time. As they work on micro-job projects, they will learn how to work on a team, respect deadlines, communicate professionally, manage their time, and improve their remote skills. As a result, they will have the opportunity to promote their self-sufficiency and sense of responsibility.

 

MENA Coding School Updates:


 

Technical and Personal Coaches  

 

Throughout this program, we aim not only at training our students on programming, but we are rather working on creating a diverse tech community in which students, mentors, technical and personal development coaches, and ambassadors all collaborate and support each other to reach their ultimate career goals. So far our program is led & supported by 11 ambassadors, 19 technical mentors, and 17 personal development coaches from the UK, USA, Tunisia, Jordan, UAE, and Palestine who are willing to support our mission in helping Palestinian women and youth pursue their dreams and land jobs in the tech industry. 

Awareness Workshops 

 

We conducted more than 10 awareness workshops (remote) to introduce the program to the women and young people in Gaza and the West bank and we collaborated with universities in the West Bank and Gaza. The workshops resulted in receiving more than 730 applicants. 

 




Students 

 

Over the past three months, more than 300 students from both Gaza and Hebron have joined the program; 241 from Gaza and 98 from Hebron. At the end of December 2020, 70 of them have finished the first phase (Intro To Coding), and they became eligible for the interview that separates them from the next phase. Finally, we ended up with 34 passionate students, who have the desire to master both technical and soft skills and complete this journey to become web developers.

 

Next Steps

 

We have started the program with the “Intro To Coding” phase that was available for anyone who has the desire to enter the tech field. It’s a self-paced stage where the students have a free online course supported by a community of tech professionals to help them get started. Students had to learn the basics of coding, build web projects and get an introduction to the five key employability skills needed for any professional job.



In the next phase (Fundamentals Course), 34 students will learn the fundamentals of coding and the key skills that will prepare them to enter the Full Stack course which will be the last and the most specialized and intensive vocational phase. They will build a core understanding of programming and computational thinking, learn advanced tools that are used by global tech companies, and practice interpersonal skills that all employers want; such as problem-solving, critical thinking adaptability, and teamwork which will get them an interview at tech companies. 

 
We’ll keep you up to date with our news, so keep tuned!! 

 

MENA Coding School | 2020-2021

2020: A tough Year and a Good Teacher

 

The previous year (2019) was a year full of successful achievements, and 2020 seemed to be even more promising. However, the beginning of this year has shocked us all with the quick outspread of the Coronavirus pandemic and the closure of many startups and established companies around the world. It was not easy for any of us, and we all tried to survive by all means. 

 

This year has taught us that success is not a stable state but it rather depends on flexibility, adaptability, innovation, hard work, and most importantly TEAMWORK.

 

As a nearshoring company, we believe in the high skills of our talented professionals. However, what made us keep going during this dilemma was our teamwork. We depended on each other, praised one another’s efforts, and even consoled each other when it was unbearable. Each and every member played their parts well. And as we knew that what every member does complements the work of others, we all felt responsible for our survival as ONE entity. During those times of uncertainty, our mutual trust and our dedicated, collective efforts took us to new places.  

 

This year taught us that the support of our mentors, partners, and clients is an essential factor for survival. 

 

The local and global network that we have created throughout the years played a vital role in keeping us going farther. We are lucky to have such supportive mentors. They were so generous as to provide hands-on support and gave us pieces of advice regularly.  They were always there for us whenever we needed consultancy. Our partners assisted us on the way, and our dear clients trusted the high-quality of our services.

 

The COVID-19 lockdown made it clear that having a great experience and innovative ways in offering solutions to tackle painful problems and good market traction are not the only factors that create success for a startup. Having great mentors, partners, clients, and friends proved to be equally essential to sustain and grow these fundamentals. They all made it possible for us to continue the journey we started to accomplish our mission “to create one million job opportunities for women and youth in the MENA region.”

 

This year taught us that a clear vision and a noble mission would lead us to safety, achieving financial and social sustainability as a for-profit company with a social mission.

 

Although it was a year full of twists and turns, we remained committed to our original vision and to our social mission. From the very beginning, MENA Alliances helped many talented and professional women and youth by creating and connecting them with proper job opportunities. This year, we became closer to achieving our mission as we launched a training program in collaboration with our partner from the UK “Code Your Future” to train Palestinian women and youth to become developers so they can catch jobs in the tech industry. This great mission made us meet great professionals from the tech industry who volunteered with us to pave the way for our students to start learning programming from zero. 

 

We also signed more than four (4) new contracts with different companies from Germany, the USA, and the Gulf region to bring job opportunities for more than 170 professionals of women and youth in the MENA region.

 

This year taught us that connecting with each other is precious and valuable, and we need to learn more from others.

 

Through different online meetings that we hosted or participated in, we learned that our differences can bring more benefits to us. We got to talk to students, mentors, experts, companies’ owners, businessmen, consultants, employees in diverse fields, volunteers, ministers, and etc. And after meeting each person, no matter how much expertise or what type of mindset they had, we grew both professionally and personally. Therefore, to bring this joy of learning and growing to our students, ambassadors, youth, and even to us as employees, we created “Ya3ni Talk” sessions series in which we provide a safe space for attendants to hold respectful conversations with experts, mentors, authors, professionals, business owners and intellectuals around the world. 

 

This year taught us – all of us, that we need each other to survive not only the current pandemic but also any other dilemma we might face in the future!

 

Why Do Micro-Jobs Matter?

The term “micro-jobs” existed many years ago, but its concept has recently grown to comprise more online tasks in response to the widespread use of the Internet all over the world. This has definitely brought a lot of benefits to different categories of people. However, many are still skeptical about this type of work and doubt it is worth being considered a reliable source of money.

In the beginning, it is so important to define micro jobs as a lot of people are unaware of their existence in the first place. “Micro jobs are a type of temporary work that involves completing assignments or tasks for a fee per assignment. Micro jobs can include work that is completed online or in-person.”[1] In-person micro-tasks include one-time babysitting, dog walking, handyman work, and so on. Online ones are so many; for example, writing blogs & articles, translation, transcription, data entry, graphic design, filling in surveys, designing websites, etc. 

In MENA Alliances, we believe that although micro-jobs are neither a full-time type of job nor a steady source of money, they still make a big profit for both the company and the workers. And here is why:

Source of good money

Despite the fact that a micro job includes doing small tasks for a tiny amount of money, it is worth mentioning that the sum of money one collects from this type of job mainly depends on the number of tasks one accomplishes. So let’s say that a digital task pays 0.20$ and takes 3 mins to complete. In an hour, one will most probably finish 20 of these tasks which means collecting 4$ on an hourly basis. If one works on this type of task for 6 hours a day, this will pay them 24$. Consequently, with continuous work on these tasks, one will almost earn a total of 528$ a month – taking into consideration 8 days of the weekend. That may not be an amount of money that one can rely on for a living – especially in developed countries – but it can help in one’s daily expenses.

Ali was one of the successful examples we had in MENA Alliances. 

He was a university student when he joined our latest micro-job project in which he had to accomplish several mini digital tasks based on AI. He spent his first days of work getting trained on how to carry out the assigned tasks. Later on, he started the real work and increased the number of hours and amount of time he spent accomplishing the work which paid him 500-1000 $ for several months. Thanks to this large income, he could pay off his university’s debts. 

For a student who has no technical skills or experience that could qualify him to land a job in his field of study, that was absolutely a large quantity of money. More importantly, this experience didn’t only pay Ali enough, but it also made him believe in the existence of remote work and how it could be a good source of money if one pays adequate attention to it.

Stepping stone for students and fresh graduates

It is quite hard for students and fresh graduates to land full-time jobs with zero practical experience and no skills. Therefore, they usually search for internships and volunteer opportunities in which they can cultivate their skills and enrich their CVs. Micro-jobs usually do not need any complex skills or experience, and this makes them a perfect learning experience for many.

Since we – in MENA Alliances- are committed to discovering the talented women and youth in the MENA region, we consider micro-jobs as a stepping stone for the talents to start and build a thriving career. Consequently, we established our MENA Alliances training coding program to upskills our talents who are passionate about investing in their soft and technical skills to gain sustainable job opportunities in the tech industry.

Moreover, as our workers accomplish their tasks completely remotely, they get adapted to remote work – which is the recent trend of the business world- as a plus profit!

Huda from Gaza is a great example of this case.

Huda has graduated from English Department and worked as a teacher in a small local teaching center in her neighborhood. Working on one of our micro-job projects was her first remote job ever. This opportunity didn’t only pay her enough to cover her individual expenses, but it also opened the doors of the world of freelancing and remote work; the approach which she adopted for her career life later on.

Convenient for housewives and mothers

Women who got married right after graduation and focused too much on their families are usually totally detached from the work mode. And to put them back on the work track, they need a cushy type of job as a warm-up. Micro-jobs projects will not only improve women’s soft skills to ease their return to work, but they also can make them gain money independently increasing their self-confidence and motivating them to invest their free time and efforts in a real job. Moreover, a lot of mothers choose not to go out and work for the sake of their children, so working on such easy tasks at their homes on their own schedule will certainly be all that they ask for.

“My advice to all moms is to invest well in themselves by organizing their time and working remotely at home. As long as they plan their day, they can do anything!”

This is Amal, one of MENA Alliances’ ambassadors who previously worked on one of our micro-job, AI-based projects. Through this experience, she learned how to take care of all her household duties while being a productive person on her job, as well.

Amal is one of our inspiring examples of how our micro-job projects could change women’s lives and encourage them to get back to work after long years of hiatus. And as we know for sure women everywhere need a chance to show off their abilities, we keep on bringing such projects to the Middle East and North Africa opening doors to thousands of women in the region.

Discover hidden gems

A lot of passionate and talented youths are buried either because of the rareness of opportunities or their lack of experience on how to position themselves in the labor market. Therefore, if nearshoring and outsourcing companies bring micro-job projects into their countries, more young people will have the chance to shine and see the light; especially that such projects usually need a large workforce to finish on time.
Yasmeen from Gaza is a great example of this! 

Yasmeen is a diligent, smart, and hard-working English Education graduate whose first work opportunity was with MENA Alliances. She basically worked on micro-tasks of transcription and stood out as the most passionate and active member within a team of 20 youths, thus was granted a position of team leader for another project. And recently, as Yasmeen showed a high degree of proficiency in communicating and dealing with employees’ matters, she is appointed to the position of Human Resources Director. Such energy and dedication wouldn’t have been invested if such an opportunity was not given to her. Yasmeen is one example, but we have actually got many of MENA Alliances’ hidden gems throughout similar projects of micro-jobs.

For that reason, we in MENA Alliances believe that micro jobs do not only bring benefits to those who work on them individually, but they are rather advantageous for outsourcing and nearshoring companies as for the talented youths they uncover.

In the MENA countries, micro-jobs are unfortunately not as famous as they are in other countries. Therefore, as we are aware of their benefits, we work on these types of projects engaging as many women and youths as to catch up with the great progress that the developed countries have achieved throughout the previous decades.