Nearly 120 youths, ages 14-24, now gather weekly in Rio de Janeiro for free courses about financial literacy, computer programming and blockchain technology.
World Bank research field coordinator Erick Baumgartner told CoinDesk he went to three high schools in the crime-riddled Pavuna district to recruit students for the nine-month program, which started in May.
“Even for classes that are happening right outside their houses, we’ve already had two days when they couldn’t come to class because of police operations,” Baumgartner said. “When shooting starts, people can’t go out of their houses.”
In order to serve this marginalized community of aspiring developers, the World Bank partnered with a slew of organizations ranging from MakerDAO to Banco Maré and the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, plus the Brazilian education startup Blockchain Academy.
Only half of the students passed the computer literacy test to take the blockchain-focused course at the end of the program. They’ll be learning web programming basics, how to make ethereum-based smart contracts and a little about Hyperledger.
“The final purpose of all these efforts is to give them a real opportunity to be hired,” Blockchain Academy co-founder Rosine Kadamani told CoinDesk. “By the end of the training program, students are going to participate in a hackathon with MakerDAO, to have the opportunity to create something more concrete, something that could be helpful for themselves.”
MakerDAO says its goals for the program are altruistic. Nadia Alvarez, MakerDAO’s head of business development in Latin America, told CoinDesk she hopes students learn about “solutions” beyond banks and traditional financial institutions.
“What we want is to give them information to develop their curiosity around the blockchain and other financial options they have,” she said.