Sisters of Code, Cambodia’s first female coding club, receives two international awards

Sisters of Code, a non-profit educational program in Cambodia, has received prestigious international awards in the field of skills development, becoming the first Cambodian program to receive such important international recognition and attention.

Sisters of Code won the EQUALS in TECH Award 2020, international competition to support the integration of girls and women in the IT industry, for the organization and successful development of the first programming club for girls in Cambodia.

The project was competing against 360 initiatives from around the world and was highly praised by the jury from UN Women, UN Information Technology Unit, GSMA, United Nations University, and International Trade Center.

This has been the second international award given to IT Academy STEP Cambodia for the educational project Sisters of Code. Just a month ago, in October 2020, the initiative was recognized as one of the best in the international SOLVE MIT competition held by the famous Massachusetts Institute of Technologies. Sisters of Code made it to the top 7 in the category ‘Learning for Girls and Women’.

“It was an amazing experience to present Sisters of Code in front of international judges and to meet fellow innovators from all around the world. The fact that Sisters of Code has received such outstanding international recognition will allow the growth of the Sisters of Code community according to the best international standards and create new partnerships,” said Ms. Natalja Rodionova, founder of Sisters of Code.

Sisters of Code programming club for girls aged 10 to 20 was founded by the IT Academy STEP Cambodia in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport of Cambodia, with the support of USAID and Development Innovations, The British Embassy, and The Australian Embassy in Cambodia.

It was through this institutional support that Sisters of Code was able to deliver coding lessons to the girls free of charge. Cambodia has one of the lowest participation rates in programming among female students in the world, with only 7% of young women choosing technical specialization and only 30% of graduates continuing to work in the IT field.

“We hope that these awards would help us to discover new possibilities to support our mission to provide a safe and supportive environment for female students to learn coding skills and grow their presence in the digital economy. It is an outstanding fact that Sisters of Code is the first program from Cambodia that has received such important recognition and attention”, Ms. Rodionova added.

Sisters of Code was established to push back against the widespread stereotypes in society that only boys can learn programming. In just a year, 150 female students have successfully completed the training course and many graduates have decided to continue their education in the field of IT. Sisters of Code aims to double the number of female students in Cambodia enrolling in tech related majors in the coming 3 years.