An important aspect of TechWomen’s mission is to empower Emerging Leaders to become role models for women and girls in their communities. After returning home from the program, many fellows have felt inspired to take what they have learned during TechWomen and share those lessons with others
Here are just three examples of fellows who are paying it forward by mentoring women and girls in their communities:
Ameni Channoufi and Noura Ghali Berzouga, Tunisia
After participating in the TechWomen program, a group of Tunisian fellows were inspired to create a program similar to TechWomen that would provide Tunisian women and girls with mentoring and support in the STEM fields. Twelve alumnae came together to create Women Leaders in Technology (WoLTech), an organization working to build a network of businesswomen and female experts in STEM, strengthen the presence of women in decision-making positions in STEM fields, create a platform for cooperation between universities, schools and national and international companies and institutions working in STEM fields, encourage girls to engage in STEM fields and build cooperation opportunities between Tunisian women pioneers in STEM and their counterparts from around the world.
According to Noura, 2014 fellow of Tunisia and WoLTech founder and vice president, the “TechWomen program has always been an inspiration for us not only in WoLTech but also in our lives.” In creating WoLTech, they emphasize the support and empowerment of women, the love of helping others, the spirit of volunteerism and the desire to give without taking.
As an initiative of WoLTech, fellows launched in 2017 the Tunisia Mentoring Council (TMC), a six-month mentorship program for Tunisian women in STEM. After a successful first year for TMC, Ameni Channoufi, 2014 fellow of Tunisia and president of WoLTech, recently announced a call for applications for the second round of the program, which will kick off in September 2018.
Chao Mbogo, Kenya
Dr. Chao Mbogo, 2017 fellow of Kenya, is the founder of KamiLimu, a free, six-month mentorship program for computer science students at Kenyan universities that aims to help them develop crucial 21st-century skills that cannot be learned through coursework alone. KamiLimu works with industry professionals to provide sessions on topics such as CV writing and innovation, and they work with women at Google Kenya to offer personalized mentorship opportunities for female students at KamiLimu.
Chao, a member of the 2017 seed grant-winning team behind Project Digniti, credits the pitching experience she received from TechWomen as being the impetus behind providing a training on pitching skills to students at KamiLimu. She is using materials provided to her by Page Crahan, one of Team Kenya’s Impact Coaches.
While speaking about her time as a TechWomen Emerging Leader, Chao says that “being part of TechWomen taught me many valuable lessons and skills… Through the valuable guidance and mentorship of my Techwomen mentors, Amira Dhalla and Karl Thiessen [of Mozilla], I learned that a good mentor listens, as well as allows the mentee to learn and grow at their pace, while giving useful feedback.”
KamiLimu currently serves students from ten different universities in Kenya. Chao plans to expand this number in the future and hopes to see the program model replicated globally. Learn more about Chao’s work from her interview with Pursuit Podcast.
Elena Selezneva and Saida Yusupova, Uzbekistan
Elena and Saida, both 2016 fellows of Uzbekistan, are Regional Ambassadors for Technovation, a program that invites teams of girls from all over the world to learn and apply the skills needed to solve real-world problems through technology. Elena and Saida first learned about Technovation during their time as TechWomen Emerging Leaders. Feeling inspired and empowered by the many strong and intelligent women they met through TechWomen, they believed bringing Technovation to Uzbekistan would be a great way to share that feeling of empowerment with girls in their community.
Elena and Saida continue to make use of the TechWomen network through their work on Technovation, inviting both mentors and fellow alumnae to participate in events. This year, TechWomen mentor Rekha Pai Kamath and 2015 fellow of Kazakhstan Diana Tsoy traveled to Uzbekistan to deliver workshops for Technovation participants between the ages of 10-18. (Diana is the Technovation Regional Ambassador for Kazakhstan.) According to Elena, the “TechWomen experience provided us with an opportunity to learn from each other,” and Technovation does the same for the students involved.
2018 has been an exciting year for Technovation Uzbekistan, as one of their teams has made it to the Junior Division Finals for an app they created called ELIST, which will more equitably divide household chores between female and male children. The team will travel to Silicon Valley for Technovation’s World Pitch later this summer for a week of networking, field trips, workshops and the chance to win between $5,000 – $15,000 in scholarships.
TechWomen Thank a Mentor Campaign
This week, we have invited members of the TechWomen community to thank the mentors in their lives through the TechWomen Thank a Mentor campaign. Follow the conversation or contribute your own words of thanks by using #TWThankAMentor.