Looking back on 2018 – A year in review

It doesn’t quite feel like twelve months have passed since I wrote my 2017 end-of-year blog. Like all years I’ve been involved in CoderDojo, 2018 has been a year of much change and growth across our movement. First things first: we welcomed 660 new Dojos to the community. Now, thanks to the combined efforts of our volunteers, the movement is reaching more than 60000 young people in 110 countries.


Some personal highlights

One of my highlights of the year was my visit the Dungarvan Dojo for their fifth birthday celebration in February. Meeting the champions Nora, Eoghan, and all the lead organisers who continue to work tirelessly to create opportunities for the youth in their community really inspired and motivated me. Likewise, hearing how Chinedum Ugorji travelled all the way from Nigeria to attend DojoCon in Kilkenny, Ireland, demonstrates the enormous commitment and passion that CoderDojo volunteers have.

We got things done for volunteers

Starting to give your time to volunteer for a cause you care about is often a significant personal decision. Deciding to continue volunteering week on week, month on month, is nothing short of admirable. That’s why it’s always been my primary goal to ensure that we equip all volunteers globally with the right tools, supports, and knowledge to keep their clubs running year after year as welcoming spaces for new and returning young people. This year we focused on several initiatives to make the experience of volunteers significantly better:

  • We moved our learning resources to an overdue new projects website, providing access to more than 200 educational projects covering multiple technologies
  • To give better support to our volunteers and youth who are not native English speakers, we made translation of our resources a priority
  • We also improved the online experience for both volunteers and parents trying to find a local club

Volunteers got awesome things done!

The achievement I am probably most proud of is that we are beginning to see the impact of the CoderDojo Girls Initiative. Preliminary results from the 2018 annual survey (full results will be published in the new year!) show that 33% of attendees are girls — an increase of 4% from this time last year. Thank you to all the volunteers in the community who are committed to promoting gender equality in their Dojos!

Community-led events continue to play a significant role in the movement, and to help you run more of them, we released a new handbook and suite of support tools in October for community members wishing to run regional DojoCons to connect their communities. In Bulgaria, Belgium, and Milan, volunteers came together to organise regional Coolest Projects, and I’m looking forward seeing many more of these events in 2019.

2019 is going to be great

As we enter the CoderDojo movement’s eighth year, I am faced with a new personal experience: towards the end of January, I’ll be going on maternity leave until autumn. Rosa, our General Manager who has been with the Foundation since autumn 2014, will lead the CoderDojo team in my absence. The team has big plans for next year, and I’m excited for what 2019 will bring for all of us in the CoderDojo community!

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