The Robert Katende Initiative

The Robert Katende Initiative(Som Chess Academy) is a non-profit organization that helps youngsters in the slums realize their full potential through chess and educational support, by providing guidance in regards to management of daily challenges in life, enhancing abstract thinking, creativity and innovation. The Academy was started in 2004 by Coach Robert Katende who introduced chess in the slums of Katwe. Today they serve five different slums in Kampala, seven villages in Gulu and one community in Jinja. Check out the website, Robert Katende Foundation.


Our collaboration with the Robert Katende started in March of 2024 with an inital meeting between officers and through quick action from both sides resulted in a set of weekly classes planned for the following weeks. In these classes we taught a total of 6 inital students Beginning to Intermediate level Python.These lessons continued a total of 9 weeks and ended with the students creating a text-based game based on a story they created. It is our goal to continue working with the Robert Katende Initiative offering further courses and reaching out to more students.

Beginning Programming (in Python) Course Work:

This course covers the fundamentals of programming in Python. Students will build several mini-games throughout the course, as well as a final capstone game.

Lesson 1: Getting started with Python and Replit

Week 1 Day 1 | Slides

This lesson introduces the power and flexibility of programming, with a particular focus on game making. It also covers making accounts and repls on

Lesson 2: Functions, Variables, Variable Types, and Operators

Week 1 Day 2 | Slides

This lesson briefly introduces the concept of functions and the input function. It also goes over variables and the int and str types. The lesson covers mathematical operators as well.

Lesson 3: Types, Logic, and Conditionals with Madlibs and Carl the Goblin

Week 2 Day 1 | Slides

This lesson covers float and bool and how to convert between different variable types, and it covers logical equality comparisons, conditionals, and the importance of indentation. These concepts are synthesized by making a short choice-adventure game.

Lesson 4: More conditionals, comparing numbers, and variability with Carl the Goblin

Week 2 Day 2 | Slides

This lesson expands on the concept of conditionals with nested conditionals. It also introduces more numerical comparisons and compound conditions. Finally, students learn about the concept of libraries through the random library.

Lesson 5: Loops and Lists (part 1)

Week 3 Day 1 | Slides

This lesson introduces doing something repeatedly in a loop. It also covers lists and how to iterate through a list in a loop.

Lesson 6: Loops and Lists (part 2)

Week 3 Day 2 | Slides

This lesson dives deeper into list and loop.

No class. Mid-winter break

Week 4

Lesson 7 & 8: 2D Lists

Week 5 Day 1 & 2 | Slides

This lesson introduces 2D lists and printing lists.

Lesson 9: Dictionary

Week 6 Day 1 | Slides

This lesson introduces dictionary and returning value from functions.

Lesson 10: Function

Week 6 Day 2 | Slides

This lesson introduces functions and libraries.