Hackathon participants work on their solution. ©

British Council Malawi

Using a computer for the first time, children from Mtandire village were invited to mHub, Malawi’s first technology hub, to learn about the UN’s Global Goals and enjoy coding working together using the micro:bit. With support from UK charity Institute of Imagination, the children were inspired to think creatively and collaboratively about digital solutions to real-life problems their community faces.  

 A micro:bit is a pocket-sized computer designed for children to learn the basics of coding. It can be programmed to flash messages, display shapes, play sounds and create games.

In February 2020, the Institute of Imagination delivered teacher training with the micro:bit to 25? adult educators at mHub. The training workshops explored effective techniques of how to engage students using the micro:bit to inspire creativity and ignite imaginations. Putting this creative pedagogy into practice, the mHub educators then led a one-day coding hackathon for thirty students from Mtandire, a peri urban village in Lilongwe.

After the children learned the basics of computer coding using the micro:bit, they were tasked to work together to invent prototypes of innovative solutions to problems their community faces. The students created inventions to address issues such as electricity-shortages, water pollution, bullying, child marriages, and violence against women and girls.

The inventions created by the children during the hackathon were entered into the micro:bitchallenge do your :bit, a global innovation competition. 

We are excited to add this new digital skills training to Our Shared Goal, a project working to empower adolescents by challenging gender stereotypes through Life Skills training on Human Rights and strengthen reporting mechanisms. 

 “I have learnt skills that I did not know. Like how to measure atmospheric temperature and how the weather is outside. I have also learnt how to code the micro:bit to count steps when you're walking. I have programmed an alarm to remind a patient of the time to take their medication and the time to go to the hospital… all this using a computer and a micro:bit” 

Christina Maliwadi 14 years old student from Mtandire. 

“British Council is committed to making sure young people from Peri-urban areas like Mtandire are supported. Most of these young people are excluded from digital education, which makes it hard for them to access different opportunities. This project aims to change this.” 

MacDonald Nyoni, Head of Programmes for British Council Malawi. 

Leveraging digital to put their ideas into action is a better and innovative way to engage and empower adolescents as agents of change. #DigitalSkills #OurSharedGoal

“The impact that we hope to have with these kids is that they will continue to learn about the computer skills and apply them to real life situations… They are feeling very inspired and excited to learn more.” 

Lissa Bhagwanji. Trainer 

British Council Malawi partnered with mHub, Thangathe and Institute of Imagination on this digital literacy initiative, supported by our global partners Arm, The Micro:bit Educational Foundation and The World's Largest Lesson. 

Kids from Mtandire work on their digital solutions. ©

British Council -Malawi. 

Micro:bit Hackathon participants pose for a group photo ©

British Council Malawi