UK-South Africa Tech Hub empowers mothers in marginalised communities with digital skills

The UK-South Africa Tech Hub announces the launch of Coding Moms, a programme aimed at providing young mothers and women from marginalised areas, including those who may have suffered gender based violence, with basic digital skills to participate in the digital economy, whilst simultaneously creating an enabling environment for their children and communities.

For this important initiative, the UK-South Africa Tech Hub is partnering with FURTHER, specialists in the capacity-building of community-based entrepreneurs, and Coding Mamas, an organisation which provides mothers with the necessary skills to participate in the digital economy in a safe and welcoming environment for mothers and their children.

 “Women from marginalised areas experience very high levels of exclusion when compared to other segments of the population. Additionally, only 23% of digital jobs are held by women in South Africa. By bringing vulnerable mothers from excluded communities into the digital economy through upskilling in key digital skills, we aim to create an empowering and enabling environment for them and their families.” says Shirley Gilbey, Director of the UK-South Africa Tech Hub.

The programme will provide training in foundational digital skills such as basic coding knowledge, app and web development, business and job-seeking skills to mothers in marginalised communities in Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape. The programme will also partner with local community organisations who are already working with women, with a focus on survivors of gender-based violence.

 “Our vision is to provide an inclusive programme that not only provides a broad base of women  with foundational digital, business and employability skills, but equally builds their self-belief and self-efficacy, and the ability to visualise a better future for themselves.” says Lindsay Cilliers, co-founder of FURTHER. “Through our capacity building work with grass-roots social entrepreneurs and young community leaders, we’ve seen the impact these programmes can have in broadening the horizons of what is possible. We’re excited to be collaborating with UK-South Africa Tech Hub and Coding Mamas on this important initiative.”

“As Coding Mamas, we aim to create safe spaces and experiences that allow moms (and their kids) to prepare for the digital economy, by upskilling themselves, connecting with others and get access to the necessary resources.” Says Elisja van Niekerk, co-founder of Coding Mamas. “We’re pleased to be partnering with the UK-South Africa Tech Hub and FURTHER to make this a reality.”


(To be added: boilerplate on UK-SA Tech Hub, FURTHER and Coding Mamas)

About the UK South Africa Tech Hub:

The UK-South Africa Tech Hub forms part of the International Tech Hub network delivered by DCMS (Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport), under a UK government initiative designed to promote digital inclusion and inclusive growth of the digital ecosystems in partner countries. The International Tech Hubs are expert teams which work to stimulate local digital economies, build high-end digital skills, and forge innovation partnerships between local tech sectors and international businesses. Alongside South Africa, there are Hubs operating in Nigeria, Kenya, India, Indonesia and Brazil. Through the Hubs’ activities, entrepreneurs and founders, acquire the skills, resource and support needed to turbocharge their entrepreneurial journey. 

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About Further:

FURTHER designs and implements holistic development programmes for impact entrepreneurs and their organisations, to grow them into high performing leaders and sustainable businesses. The starting point is the personal capacity-building and wellbeing of the entrepreneur, combined with the technical business support needed to grow a sustainable impact enterprise. We combine proven methodologies and tools, a team of multi-disciplinary, multi-cultural experts, and strong peer-to-peer engagement and support. We also run capacity-building programmes for wider groups of community-based leaders and organisations. 

For more about FURTHER visit 

For enquiries email


Coding Mamas is a tech startup aimed at teaching moms to code through face-to-face and virtual programmes. The business aims to create a safe space and experiences that allow moms (and their kids) to prepare for the digital economy; by upskilling themselves, connecting with others and have access to the necessary resources. Coding Mamas was founded by Nelisa Ngqulana and Elisja van Niekerk

Read more about Coding Mamas on

For enquiries email:

“Zoombombing” or Teleconference Hijacking
By: Elisja van Niekerk (Winner of Woman in Technology, Woman of Stature Awards 2020).

Please be careful of “Zoombombing” or teleconference hijacking – The coronavirus pandemic has led to people applying social distancing and staying/ working from home. Allot of people are conducting school and business online, and attending virtual meetings or workshops. With this an increasing focus has been placed on certain technologies and their ability to facilitate hate and harassment.

It is unfortunately that the Coding Mamas have been subject to this type of harassment during one of our virtual workshops and would like to raise awareness and caution everyone that is using video conferencing technology. We would like to make sure that everyone is aware of you and your children’s vulnerabilities when attending virtual meetings. This type of online hate and harassment is referred to as “Zoombombing,” which is a reference to the popular video conferencing platform zoom in which virtual meetings are disrupted by graphic or threatening messages.

There has been multiple incidents reported where virtual classrooms (Schools and Universities), religious services, government meetings as well as children’s storytelling sessions that have been targeted and interrupted by these malicious perpetrators. These reports have become so widespread that the FBI issued a warning about the hijacking of video conferences and online classrooms on March 30th 2020. These video conference hijacking is considered cyber crime with serious consequences.

We have done some research and found some helpful articles to help you stop “Zoombombing.”

Please be cautions and please stay safe, even online.


hese video conference hijacking is considered cyber crime with serious consequences. We have done some research and found some helpful articles to help you stop “Zoombombing.” Please be cautions and please stay safe, even online. References:

Covid-19 a push for the 4th Industrial Revolution (41R):

By: Elisja van Niekerk (Winner of Woman in Technology, Woman of Stature Awards 2020).

Many conferences, concerts, events, university graduations, birthday parties and on-site meetings are getting cancelled not only in South Africa but around the world in an attempt to stop the spread of Covid-19. Aside from social gatherings getting cancelled many businesses are requesting employees to work remotely and schools and universities have closed.

The managers that lived by the “bums on seat at work” mentalities are now forced to learn how to manage their employees remotely and employees are forced to learn how to manage and juggle their “work-time” and “family-time” even with the kids at home.

4IR has been transforming the way we work. Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, and 3D printing has been considered the leading edge of 4IR thus far, but with businesses now realising the benefits of remote working and forcing them to digitise their organisaional processes this view is rapidly going to change. Although South Africa is characterised by its inconsistent supply of electricity and low internet penetration, the impact of 4IR is being felt here just as much as anywhere else in the world. One of the impacts of 4IR relates to the tools that businesses use and create.

Some of the popular tools that businesses are turning to for remote work include “unified communication and collaboration platforms” like Microsoft Teams. Trello a project management tool which is a platform that help keep track of workflow and tasks via a tracking board system. Zoom a video conferencing tool. GitHub a software development tool and Google Drive a file management app.

Covid-19 is not only going to push South Africa into the 4IR faster but will also teach managers that their employees are happier and working more productively when working from home. In return employees will learn how to manage “work-time” and “family-time” when working from home and that they do not need to go to the office every day to be productive.

The impact of Covid-19 and 4IR will be felt across every brand but more importantly it will dramatically impact how and where we work in the future.