Sonja’s Top 5 Community Highlights of 2019!

Our Senior Community Manager, Sonja, shares her highlights of 2019 from the CoderDojo community.  

I joined CoderDojo in the summer of 2018 after returning to Europe from 5 years in Washington, DC.  I am originally from Germany, where my love for international non-profit endeavours couldn’t keep me. But I certainly enjoy going back to visit family and the occasional Christmas market. This was my first full year at the CoderDojo Foundation, and what a good year it was!

My first Coolest Projects: Belgium and Ireland

I was lucky to be able to go to two Coolest Projects events this year. In Belgium, I had the chance to talk to young creators and learn the thoughts and ideas that went into their projects — I was so impressed! 

Coolest Projects Belgium in May

And then there was Coolest Projects International — practically in our backyard, as it was held in Dublin. I rarely get to see the output of my everyday work at the office, so to see our community of outstanding volunteers and the brilliant, whimsical, intricate projects of the young people was amazing, and a definite highlight of my year.  

Coolest Projects International at the RDS, Dublin, in May

Sonja chatting with two young creators at Coolest Projects International

Starting the Growth Partner programme and work on the global stage

Last year, the global team thought about ways to bring CoderDojo to more young people all over the world. Taking our inspiration from CoderDojo Regional Bodies, we set out to partner with like-minded organisations to start Dojos in their networks. And so the Growth Partner programme was born! We have enrolled 14 organisations into the programme so far, such as SoteHub in Kenya, and met some inspiring individuals along the way. 

Students taking part in a Dojo through Growth Partner, SoteHub, in Kenya


Earlier in the year, we did a sprint on global partnerships with our long-time partner Accenture. It was wonderful to get together and brainstorm about new opportunities within our shared network, as well as reignite excitement for our shared mission. 

Working with the Research team

Did you know that we have a dedicated Research Team at the Raspberry Pi Foundation? It’s great to be in a place where the goals of fostering learning and focusing on impact are backed up by dedicated research.

I collaborate with the team mainly when designing and analysing the data from our annual survey, making the survey the most useful tool it can be. It brought me great joy that almost 80% of community members said they are happy to be contacted about participating in further research to advance CoderDojo. 

Our Annual Survey 2018 infographic

Meeting our community

I may be cheating slightly by combining these into one highlight, but the greatest joy for me is meeting community members and hearing about what CoderDojo looks like in your life. This may happen at events or in 1-1 interactions — I have even had chats in an airport with someone who saw me wearing a CoderDojo shirt! 

These face-to-face interactions truly bring the CoderDojo movement to life. Among some of my outstanding experiences this year were:

  • A trip to Techpoint Indiana in April  
  • A visit to a Dojo in Athlone in October
  • A little road trip to Limerick with Vanessa, Nicola, Josh and Daragh to train up 100+ young Mexican educators
  • Manu from Belgium dropping by our Dublin office to say hi! 

The team visit CoderDojo Indiana in April

Giving CoderDojo training to over 100 young educators from Mexico

All of these meetings, big and small, make me grateful for another great year in this amazing community. 

Sonja and the team being happy campers in September

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