Yvann Nzengue, PMP and CoderDojo
Number of Hours Pledged: 300
SDGs Supported: #4 Quality Education, #5 Gender Equality
Summary: Eager to make a difference, Yvann Nzengue, PMP, was looking for an opportunity to use his IT and coding skills in a way that would benefit children of Valbonne, France. A portfolio project manager, Nzengue had grown up with parents who always looked for ways to give back, so it was natural that he might do the same. “I love teaching,” Nzengue says. “And I like doing something that can have a big impact on the community.”
In learning about the global nonprofit CoderDojo in 2018, Nzengue saw his opportunity. Its mission? Give young people around the world an opportunity to learn to code in a social and safe environment. Nzengue approached the staff at his local library, and they agreed to let him start one of CoderDojo’s free programming clubs there.
Meanwhile, he’d recently completed his Project Management Professional (PMP)® certification and learned about PMI’s Hours for Impact program. Inspired, Nzengue pledged his time launching the Valbonne program to Hours for Impact, to advance U.N. Sustainable Development Goal 4, which aims to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.”
Participants in the CoderDojo program work individually or in groups on projects ranging from web development to game creation—giving young people access to technology and the opportunity to gain new skills.
From a project management perspective, Nzengue’s skills have been put to the test, too. Early challenges ranged from filling out loads of paperwork to facilitating background checks required for those who work with children. The payoff? He’s now leading and instructing his own class along their coding journey, with students as young as 7 years old.
“They’re very challenging,” he says. “Sometimes they want to do the coding projects, and sometimes they just want to play on the computers, which is also fine! The goal is to motivate them to develop their own games.”
While Nzengue hopes his students may one day enter coding competitions, for now, he defines success as introducing as many people as possible to computers and coding.
On that point, he can report some big progress. While Nzengue started Valbonne’s CoderDojo program with only a few kids, these days the program is at capacity, with 10 children per session—and a waitlist.
Along the way, he’s also seeing some unexpected connections being forged. “Parents from different professions—computer developers, farmers, drivers—meet and have discussions about computer technology, and sometimes discover it,” Nzengue says. “We have all of these people from different social categories in the same place. That might be the best part of the project.”
Seeing that positive social impact, Nzengue encourages other project leaders (or aspiring ones) to consider how they can help foster change through an Hours for Impact pledge. “If you’re interested in an activity that has an impact in the world or in your community, why not get involved and share that with others?” he says. “Then it might inspire other project managers to find a way to spend their time helping others.”