Empowering Young Women Through Coding

Spotlighting Maharah School's self-starting Libyan coders, Durrah and Sokaina

April 25, 2024

Durrah and Sokaina young passionate developers

UNDP Libya

In an era defined by the whirlwind of technological progress, today's young generation is unveiling a remarkable level of self-initiative fueled by digital literacy. Unlike those before them, youth are carving out their own paths to success through digital tools and platforms. This transformative narrative finds vivid expression in the tales of Durrah and Sokaina, two extraordinary young women we met at Maharah Coding School.

The Maharah Coding School is an initiative to equip young people in Libya with coding and technological expertise. The initiative is developed by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in partnership with the Libyan Spider and with financial support from the European Union (EU). It supports the youth with technical skills in coding and as instruments of social and economic development. By using a curriculum that addresses challenges like market entry and regulatory navigation, it's a catalyst for sustainable peace and development. The approach is preparing a new generation of young Libyans innovators that are contributing to Libya's peace, stability, and a prosperous future.

Durrah Abdelmoula Elhareshi found herself embarking on an unexpected journey into the world of coding with the Maharah Coding School.

Durrah’s curiosity for technology started with sessions on machine learning and coding during high school, where she discovered the intricate logic and creative characters inherent in coding. Despite her initial doubts, Maharah's guidance instilled in her the confidence to pursue her newfound passion.

When asked about her journey and advice to fellow youth in tech, she emphasized "the importance of taking risks and seizing opportunities to learn” and highlighted “the wealth of resources and free courses available online to aspiring coders."

Durrah and her team "Cloud", took first the first place at Maharah's Demo Day in Tripoli. This success not only validated Durrah's dedication but also showcased the innovation and talent of young Libyan women.

Durrah's story exemplifies the transformative power of education and opportunity. Supported by UNDP's Local Peacebuilding and Resilience Programme, Durrah's journey underscores the importance of empowering women in tech, not just for personal growth but also for the advancement of society as a whole.

In Benghazi, we met Sokaina Kashbour, a 19-year-old software engineering student embarking on a journey of discovery and determination.

From a young age, Sokaina found solace in the intricate world of programming. To her, coding was not just a skill but a captivating puzzle waiting to be solved.

As she delved deeper into the realm of technology, Sokaina's passion only grew stronger. It was not just about programming; it was about utilising code to shape the future, one line of code at a time. "Wejha," the mobile app she showcased during Maharah's Demo Day in Benghazi along with her team, the app aims to unlock opportunities through digital skill-sharing, empowering young minds like hers to discover and disseminate knowledge.

"Through Maharah I learned how to hone many tools, such as front-end and back-end applications, as well as other skills that are most relevant to market needs. This helped me widen my horizons for the future and showed me exactly what I am keen on pursuing."

On women's role in tech, she adds, "Women have always played a major role in tech, whether in coding or beyond, since its inception."

With each keystroke, these young women write their own destiny, inspiring a new generation of technologists to dream, innovate, and conquer.