As Emerging Leaders prepare to depart San Francisco for Washington, DC on October 18, we are excited to announce the winners of the 2017 seed grant competition, which were awarded at the Community Celebration held Monday evening, October 16, at Twitter.
On October 13, Emerging Leaders and mentors gathered at Microsoft in Mountain View, California, for Pitch Day presentations. Integrating learnings from the Action Plan Workshop series, Emerging Leaders have spent the last several weeks working with their Impact Coaches to identify and develop a plan to address a socioeconomic issue in their home countries. Twenty-one action plan teams, comprised of Emerging Leaders in their country cohorts, pitched their action plan ideas before a panel of judges, their fellow program participants, TechWomen mentors and several program alumnae. Action plan ideas represented many different themes, including sanitation in schools, access to healthy food for children, increasing the number of girls pursuing STEM careers and entrepreneurship training.
And the seed grant winners are…
Congratulations to Team Cameroon, Team Jordan, Team Kenya, Team Pakistan 1 and Team South Africa, who were each awarded a $3,000 seed grant to kick-start their action plan initiatives! Descriptions of the winning projects and a video of their Pitch Day presentations are included below.
More than 500,000 young Cameroonians under 18 have learning disabilities, and fewer than 300 teachers are trained to handle their special needs. Team Cameroon will use their TechWomen seed grant to create an online platform through which teachers and parents can interact and learn from each other to improve the educational experience for children with special needs.
For female orphans in Jordan, insufficient financial resources and a lack of life skills training are large obstacles to pursuing higher education. Team Jordan will use seed grant funding to increase the number of orphans enrolled in university by creating a program to link orphans to available funds and scholarship resources.
Some schools in Kenya have just one toilet for 230 students, and some have no toilets at all. Team Kenya will utilize TechWomen seed grant funding to implement sanitation programs in schools with the goal of reducing the toilet to student ratio by at least 50%.
In Pakistan, less than 18% of women are engaged or employed in STEM fields. Team Pakistan 1 will rely on their seed grant to strategically target girls in grades 5-7 to promote an interest in STEM studies, eventually leading to more women’s representation and leadership in STEM careers.
Students in underprivileged township schools have had the lowest math pass rates in the country for the past 10 years. Team South Africa will use the TechWomen seed grant to implement a program called KasiMaths, a low-cost, scalable, high impact, fun, interactive and tutor-driven after-school program that will target students in grades 7 to 9 and will be designed to help students from underprivileged township schools develop mathematical skills.
The 2017 Emerging Leaders’ dedication to effecting change represents the core tenet of the TechWomen program. We extend our congratulations to all 21 action plan teams!
In addition to announcing the winners of the five seed grants, the Community Celebration was an opportunity for the TechWomen community to come together in the Bay Area to celebrate the accomplishments of Emerging Leaders and the breadth and depth of new relationships that have formed throughout the program. The evening began with a procession of representatives from each program country carrying their country’s flag and ended, in true TechWomen tradition, with music and dancing. We were also honored to have Mazdak Hashemi, Vice President of Infrastructure Engineering at Twitter, deliver a keynote speech.
Although Emerging Leaders will soon be returning home, there are still many exciting activities planned for the remaining program days in Washington, DC, including visits to the U.S. Department of State and the World Bank. Continue following #TechWomen17 for more updates!