Uncommon , a non-profit tech organization, is offering free tech courses in Zimbabwe.

Emma Zihonye

In a groundbreaking effort to bridge the digital divide and provide equal opportunities for youth in lower income communities, Uncommon , a non-profit tech organization, is offering free tech courses in Zimbabwe.

With a focus on areas such as Dzivaresekwa, Mbare, Mufakose, Kuwadzana, Warren Park, Kambuzuma, as well as Bulawayo and Victoria Falls, Uncommon is equipping young adults with essential digital skills through a comprehensive 12-month bootcamp.

The program encompasses a range of digital disciplines including web development, web design (UI/UX design), and digital marketing. Uncommon recognizes the significance of these skills in today’s fast-paced technological landscape and aims to provide participants with the necessary knowledge to excel in the digital world.

The average Zimsec passrate for Ordinary level in Zimbabwe is only 25% meaning most people do proceed with their studies however Uncommon is reducing the level of idolness by enrolling even those who were not able to pass 5 O level Subjects as required by the Zimbabwean government.

For Rose one of the Uncommon alumnisher life was shattered when her father passed on which forced her to drop out of school.

 “I have always wanted to design websites but i had no opportunity to persue my dreams,Uncommon gave me a chance to learn web design and digital skills and now i work at YouPro contact in London England,” said Rosewiter Mamvunda.

Uncommon welcomes individuals from diverse backgrounds, including school leavers and those who may have faced academic challenges. Whether one has completed Form 4, A-Level, or is a university graduate seeking to upgrade their skills, Uncommon.org provides tailored educational pathways to suit each participant’s specific needs.

By taking into account their prior educational achievements, the organization ensures that individuals receive targeted training to enhance their existing knowledge.

Munyaradzi Mamu, Design Instructor at Uncommon, said Uncommon is more worried about the digital divide and wants to reduce it.

“Our aim is to teach Zimbabwean youth how to code and leverage the AI tools that are shaping our world at a rapid speed. Our goal is to expand nationwide and help everyone learn how to code,”said Mamu.

One of the unique aspects of the program is the mentorship component. Each student is paired with a mentor who offers guidance and support in their chosen field. These mentors come from reputable Tech  companies in the world such as Amazon, Econet, Facebook, Microsoft, and others, ensuring that the students receive invaluable insights from industry professionals.

Muyaradzi Mamu is also one of the alumnis who benefited from the Uncommon initiative,after not finding enough money to pursue his education.

“So now l was home doing nothing and l was growing too kkkkk, responsibilities started calling me , so l was now forced to look for a job because of the situation at home . So l went out looking for a job and l get it, l started working in a construction  company for for a year 5 months as Dhaka boy and truly speaking l  almost lost hope for my future until i met a friend who introduced me to uncommon,” said Mamu.

As the bootcamp progresses, in the 11th month, students are given the opportunity to intern at various partner companies. This hands-on experience not only allows them to apply their newly acquired skills but also increases their chances of securing employment upon completion of the program. Successful performance during the internship often leads to job offers from the partnering companies, further enhancing the students’ prospects for a successful career in the tech industry.

According to Unicef half of the adolescents in Zimbabwe aged 13 to 19 are not in school. Only one child out of ten children with disabilities is in school. Poverty and disabilities are among the main triggers for children in primary school age out of school.

Poverty and disabilities greatly hinder children from accessing education in Zimbabwe. The lack of financial resources due to poverty prevents parents from paying school fees, leading to a significant number of absences and dropouts among children.

The Uncommon initiative comes at a time when tertiary education costs in Zimbabwe have become increasingly burdensome, with fees ranging around $450 USD depending on the program. The economic hardships faced by many individuals in the country have made it difficult to pursue higher education, exacerbating issues such as poverty and substance abuse. Uncommon.org recognizes the urgent need to equip today’s youth with essential tech skills irrespective of their chosen career paths, as technology continues to permeate every industry.

The digital divide in Zimbabwe is a serious concern as  67% of Zimbabwe’s population live in rural areas which has limited access to electricity and internet.Data is also expensive  to most  citizens living in the cities with mobile data costing almost 2usd one gigabyte.

“Computer Engineer Tinotenda Mhindu said that web designing is a practical skill that, once learned, remains permanent for the rest of your life.

“Even when not employed, one can do freelance work without the need for any formal education, which is commendable.One can even start their own startup if they are passionate hard workers,”said Mhindu.

Through their dedication to empowering Zimbabwean youth, Uncommon.org is making significant strides in narrowing the digital divide. By offering free tech courses, mentorship programs, and internship opportunities, they are providing young adults with the tools to thrive in the digital era.

 As the organization continues to expand its reach and impact, it is transforming the lives of countless individuals, paving the way for a brighter and more inclusive future in the technology industry.

Africa Change Stories platform is established to tell African stories which are empowering and are at variant to stereotypical views of wars, famine, diseases. At African Change Stories, we believe narrative and angle matters. So we responsibly tell stories ethically. The platform therefore pushes forward great and energizing stories which will propel its people to consciously strive to do more. You have a story? Info@africanchangestories.org

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back To Top