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Clifford Chance

Clifford Chance
Responsible Business Insights<br />

Responsible Business Insights

Future Focus

Coding and computer skills with NGO Women in Africa

One pro bono project truly inspired our volunteers – the coding and computer skills training programme run in partnership with NGO Women in Africa. Nearly 100 colleagues from our offices around the world have signed up to be mentors to teenage girls from Groupe Scolaire of Kimisange in Kigali on the project. The aim of the project was to equip the girls with the digital tools, skills and resources they need to become solutions providers to entrepreneurs, close the digital gender gap, improve gender equality and provide opportunities for girls from lowincome communities in Information and Communications Technology (ICT).

“Like many of my colleagues, I was keen to get involved in the mentoring side of this project,” says Gail Orton, alumna. “Many years ago, I spent some time in Uganda. I’ve also mentored girls before when I was in London, and I’m passionate about helping young women, so this project ticked lots of boxes for me. I had expected it to be like the mentoring I’d done in London, but it was a completely different world. The technology was patchy, which made communication quite challenging, and this was compounded by the language barrier. As a result, the greatest gift I felt I could share was English skills.” 

Gail and her mentor partner Tosin Murana, also an alumna, spent months mentoring Ignacia, helping to improve her language skills and finalise the website she produced as part of the programme.

“I volunteered in part because I wanted to demonstrate what’s possible for someone with an African background who’s had the opportunities education can bring,” Tosin says. “I think we helped Ignacia make great progress with her language skills, which, as Gail says, was an area where we could bring the most value. 

“What I didn’t realise at the outset was what I would get out of this. Getting to know Gail has been amazing. She’s introduced me to her contacts at the firm and helped me establish connections with colleagues in Dubai, so this pro bono opportunity has made a big difference to me too.” 

Through this and its other projects, our flagship Cornerstone initiative has the potential to establish a new model for how businesses can achieve sustainable impact through community investment programmes.

“I think this is why lawyers and business professionals from across our firm are getting involved and using their skills to help deliver our ambitious projects,” says Global Pro Bono and Community Director Tom Dunn. “Helping communities overcome the barriers to improving wellbeing and developing the skills and capacity of the partners we are working with in Kigali is enabling us to achieve our overall objective of positive change that endures.”