Creating Change In Jordan Through Coding — Kids Can Code
By Taylor Chustz, Education Consultant
After the success of the Kids Can Code Program in Kurdistan for Syrian Refugees, Kano has been able to expand their work into Jordan for refugee kids from Iraq, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen, as well as local Jordanian youth.
World Learning and Kano are partnering with the Jordanian Hashemite Fund for Human Development (JOHUD) to provide a coding and English course to 450 children ages 10–15.
This was made possible by generous support from the Catalyst Foundation for Universal Education, which provided additional resources towards this program along with World Learning.
In this next iteration, refugee children all over Jordan are learning to code from home, exploring creativity, and gaining a knowledge of English through World Learning and Kano’s curriculum collaboration.
Working in Jordan
The Syrian civil war has resulted in the world’s largest refugee crisis, with more than 5 million displaced people fleeing their homes and seeking safety in neighboring countries. In countries such as Iraq and Jordan, this huge influx of refugees has created long-term policy challenges related to education and employment as well as an immediate need for informal education programs.
- As of September 2020, there are 750,195 refugees in Jordan representing 57 nationalities.
- Among them, there are approximately 660,262 Syrians, 66,835 Iraqis, 14,640 Yemenis, 6,098 Sudanis, 749 Somalians, and 1,611 from other countries.
- Of the refugees in Jordan, 83 percent live outside of refugee camps in urban areas.
JOHUD, established in 1977, is a non-governmental organization dedicated to promoting rights-based, sustainable human development in Jordan and works with a network of 51 Community Development Centres located throughout Jordan to create sustainable change on a local level. They are on the front lines addressing education inequality for everyone, especially refugees in Jordan.
Running the program
At the start of 2020, I traveled to Jordan with World Learning staff member Lois Scott-Conley to train the teachers who would be implementing the program at 5 locations including Amman. We were able to meet with two staff members from each site and provide instruction in English language learning and coding with the Kano Computer Kit Completes.
The teachers and staff really loved working with the Kano Computer Kit Completes, especially learning how to code in Make Art!
It was an amazing experience being able to be on the ground in Jordan and work directly with teachers to prepare them for the course. Every time I have the privilege to travel to a new country to share the Kano experience it always amazes me how educators think of clever ways to localize the curriculum and make it meaningful for their students. It could be giving a design challenge around a student’s favorite cartoon character or asking them to create a safer community. The staff at JOHUD are truly funny, intelligent, and passionate educators who are always thinking of their students and how to help them.
“I was excited when I participated in this program. The teachers also encouraged me a lot, I loved the KANO computers and the apps inside them. They teach us a lot of things in English that we could not understand it before, I feel so happy”
— Wasan Al- Hindawi, 15 years old Jordanian student in KCC Project
Unfortunately, the unforeseen COVID-19 global health crisis led to significant challenges for implementing an in-person program, especially as programs stopped due to a government-mandated lockdown.
Not to be deterred by the challenge, the JOHUD staff quickly thought of ways to continue the curriculum with their students to make sure they still had access to quality education. Each site created Whatsapp groups to share English lessons and coding content with the students. At home and on their own devices students accessed Kano World and started to code on their own. As well, each site created a Kano World account so all learners, no matter where they were located, could save their work online and share it with the rest of their class.
“I was very happy when I participated in this program; the teachers were very helpful and always tried to encourage us to keep learning[even though we were home]. I liked the apps on the KANO computers which were enjoyable and useful at the same time. The teacher teach us a lot of thing in English that we could not understand it before especially the grammars, I feel so happy”
- Yazeed Al- Hindawai, 15 years old Jordanian student in KCC Project
As these young creators continue to learn from home and use Kano World to code their own projects, the staff at Kano are excited to see what they make! I know I will be eagerly waiting to see their final coding projects and hear the inspiring stories from the staff on how they continue to work with their students even during a global pandemic.
Stay tuned to learn more about the work on the ground in Jordan and see what these coders make.