Impact Stories from Economic Impact Policy Area
Fellow interviewed about TechWomen experience
Fellow(s): Aigerim Kunadilova
This month, 2019 fellow Aigerim Kunadilova was interviewed for a feature in Tengri News, an English language news outlet in Kazakhstan. In the article, Aigerim spoke about her TechWomen experience and her work as a woman in tech.
Aigerim is the founder of Top Generation Group, an online education company that offers international English exam preparation courses such as TOEFL and IELTS. With no formal background in tech, Aigerim shared her journey building an international online Edtech business and growing it into a flourishing company. She also speaks about her TechWomen mentorship at Twitter, where she gained new skills, tools and contacts: “I met and talked to managers of the company, where I got valuable tips on improving my online school and choosing programmers for my team,” she said.
Report Date...: 11/25/19
Fellow hosts hackathon for justice at World Bank Group in DC
Fellow(s): Lindiwe Matlali
Country: South Africa, United States
This month, 2017 fellow of South Africa Lindiwe Matlali’s initiative Africa Teen Geeks collaborated with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the World Bank Group to hold a global #Hackathon4Justice in Washington, D.C. Hosted at the World Bank Headquarters, the three-day hackathon brought 25 students ages 13-18 from Bulgaria, India, Mexico, Tunisia and South Africa together to develop solutions to combat exploitation and promote peace in their home countries and beyond. TechWomen director Katie Zee, Professional Mentor Eileen Brewer, and three 2019 TechWomen fellows attended the event; Eileen provided coaching and mentorship to the country teams, guiding them in crystallizing their ideas and presenting their pitches.
Over the three days, the five student teams learned from World Bank and UNODC leaders as they developed innovative solutions that promoted inclusive societies and access to justice for all. A panel of judges, which included Amy Christianson from the Department of State, named Mexico the winner at the end of the hackathon: the team’s interactive game for young children will be able to send red flag warnings to teachers about potential domestic violence situations. As a prize, the team will travel to the UN’s 14th Crime Congress in Kyoto in April 2020 to present their app. At the conclusion of the event, Lindiwe addressed all teams, saying “I have been so inspired to hear all your ideas. When you go home, do the same and inspire your peers to make a difference.”
Report Date...: 11/18/19
Mentor(s): Shalaka Prabhune (mentor)
Mentor Type: Impact
This week, TechWomen Impact Coach Shalaka Prabhune was awarded the gold Stevie Award for Digital Transformer of the Year. The Stevie Awards for Women in Business shine a spotlight on leading women executives, entrepreneurs and women-run organizations, recognizing their contributions to their respective industries. The winners were announced at the 16th annual awards dinner in New
This year, more than 1,500 nominations from organizations and individuals around the world were submitted; more than 200 members of seven juries determined the finalists and winners. Shalaka, the head of corporate IT at TiVo, was recognized under the HCL Red Ladder Women in Technology category, which recognizes women leaders who have positively impacted their industries while serving as role models for other women.
This year, Shalaka was an Impact Coach for team Jordan, who who won a 2019 seed grant for their mental health outreach platform, Sanad.
Report Date...: 11/18/19
18 TechWomen alumnae attend Microsoft Ignite 2019
Fellow(s): 18 TechWomen Alumnae
Country: Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Nigeria, Tajikistan, United States, Uzbekistan
This month, 17 TechWomen fellows and Impact Coach Maryann Hrichak came together at Microsoft Ignite 2019 in Orlando for a week of skill-building and networking. Fellows from Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Nigeria, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan spent the week exploring 1,000+ deep dive sessions and 200+ workshops spanning the field of IT. Fellows of Algeria Ouafa Benterki (2012) and Fatima Zohra Benhamida (2017) were included as featured speakers.
This is the second year that IIE has partnered with Microsoft, who this year provided full registration for fellows and mentors to attend the annual conference. After attending Ignite last year, Ouafa was named a Microsoft Regional Director, becoming the first Algerian and first African woman to occupy the role. At this year’s Ignite, she presented on her career in tech in her session “From CEO to Microsoft Regional Director: my journey as a woman in tech from Algeria.” Ouafa also participated in a panel discussing best practices on raising the next generation of diversity and inclusion tech leaders. Fatima led a session titled “How volunteering and mentorship pays more than your regular job.”
During the week, IIE organized TechWomen meetups during which alumnae came together to share professional updates, reflect on TechWomen memories and discuss their Ignite highlights.
Report Date...: 11/19/19
Fellow’s company joins UN group committed to gender equality
Fellow(s): Aina Dosmakhambet
This week, it was announced that 2019 fellow Aina Dosmakhambet’s coding education company was admitted as a member of Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEP), a joint initiative of the UN Global Compact and UN Women. Out of 2660 companies with WEP status, only 13 are from Kazakhstan.
Companies that are approved for WEP are committed to gender equality in the workplace, taking measurable strides to increasing equity and inclusion through their services. Aina is the CEO of Method Digital Education, an Almaty-based IT school that provides education for both children and adults in coding, web design, game development, data analysis and more. Their Girls Coding Class provides a space for young girls to develop both their technical and leadership skills, and includes leadership lessons from women entrepreneurs and excursions to local IT companies to meet successful women in tech.
Report Date...: 11/11/19
Three alumnae teams awarded 2019 AEIF grants
Fellow(s): Chepkemoi Magdalene, Nazira Sheraly, Aiturgan Zulpukarova, Elena Chigibaeva, Gulzire Minbaeva, Fatima Abdulaziz Sule, Olayinka Ayo, Safiya Aliyu, Pamela Chukwumeka, Ijeoma Ezika
Country: Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Nigeria
Cohort: 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019
This week, it was announced that three TechWomen alumnae teams were awarded a U.S Department of State 2019 Alumni Engagement Innovation Fund (AEIF) grant. The alumnae projects, based out of Kenya, Kyrgyzstan and Nigeria, were selected out of more than 1,400 project submissions.
Kenya’s North-Rift Women in STEM Inclusion Project , co-led by 2019 fellow Chepkemoi Magdalene, will host bootcamps on coding and the digital economy for nearly 500 underserved women and girls in the North Rift region of the country. The team also plans to award 30 of the participants a year-long mentorship opportunity. Kyrgyzstan’s TechAim was created by 2016 fellow Nazira Sheraly, 2017 fellow Aiturgan Zulpukarova and 2018 fellows Elena Chigibaeva and Gulzire Minbaeva. The mentorship program supports women and girls, particularly those outside of the capital city, to grow and develop their STEM skills and expand their knowledge in business, leadership project management and more. MAAMI Nigeria, originally a TechWomen 2018 seed grant-winning initiative from fellows Fatima Abdulaziz Sule, Olayinka Ayo, Safiya Aliyu, Pamela Chukwumeka and Ijeoma Ezika, is a mobile health literacy program that aims to provide underserved mothers access to safe, relevant and customized pre- and post-natal health information.
Report Date...: 11/4/2019
Fellow named Top 40 Under 40 in Kenya
Fellow(s): Cheryl Kerama
Last month, 2016 fellow Cheryl Kerama was named to the Top 40 Under 40 list from Business Daily. The annual list features influential entrepreneurs, leaders and innovators who have changed the landscape of business in Kenya.
Cheryl, who holds a master’s in molecular cancer immunology and biotechnology, was most recently a regional trial manager at Johnson & Johnson. In her feature, Cheryl discussed her lifelong passion for science as well as her discovery of an altered gene that is currently being used as a platform for asthma research globally. She also spoke about the challenges of being a woman in science, recalling difficulties she faced when she was part of a team conducting Ebola vaccine clinical trials on children in Africa.
During TechWomen, Cheryl was mentored at Genentech and was part of the 2016 seed grant-winning initiative One Desk One Child.
Report Date...: 11/4/2019
Fellow inspires youth at Model United Nations gathering
Fellow(s): Sarah Abdallah
Last month, 2016 fellow Sarah Abdallah was invited to Dubai to deliver a keynote address at the Arab Youth International Model United Nations conference. The annual conference brings together youth throughout the Arab world, facilitating conversation on creating change and peace worldwide. Together, the young delegates debated global issues, created responses to global crises and participated in activities that celebrated cross-cultural exchange.
Sarah is the CEO of LIBRO, a company that addresses youth unemployment challenges in the MENA region by providing training, consulting and recruitment services for universities and companies in STEM fields. In her keynote, Sarah addressed the challenges youth face today, sharing specific setbacks she faced as a young person. She stressed, however, that young people have a powerful voice and a unique ability to create exponential change in their communities. “I explained how young people can turn their problems into opportunities,” she said. Sarah concluded her keynote with an activity called “Inclusion Starts with an ‘I,’” tasking each young person to write down an action they can take to make the world a better place. “I added in my own as well,” says Sarah. “I committed to support the youth of today in becoming the leaders and decision makers of tomorrow.”
Report Date...: 10/21/19
Alumnae initiative awarded grant from U.S Embassy Algiers
Fellow(s): Amel Djenidi, Salma Bekkouche, Fatima Zohra Benhamida
Cohort: 2017, 2018
After TechWomen 2018, fellows Amel Djenidi and Salma Bekkouche wanted to continue working together. They began collaborating with 2017 fellow Fatima Zohra Benhamida, and together the three fellows conceived of Heya Caravan, a project that empowers girls and women through STEM education. This week, it was announced that they secured a grant from the U.S. Embassy Algiers’ Alumni Small Grant Competition, which will allow them to launch their project in 2020.
Heya (Arabic for “she”) Caravan will be a one-day training where STEM leaders will share their expertise with women and girls in sessions, workshops and panels. Through roundtables based on four themes — Know Yourself, Build your Skills, Build your Network and Build your Personal Branding – women and high school-aged girls will be supported in building both technical and soft skills. Heya Caravan will also offer six months of remote mentorship to attendees through monthly lessons and assignments on resume writing, networking, skill building and more. In the coming months, the fellows will work to establish additional partnerships and funding, and hope to launch Heya Caravan in 2020 in three cities throughout Algeria.
Report Date...: 10/14/19
Fellow’s initiative wins Harvard alumni impact contest
Fellow(s): Shatha Jayyousi
This week, it was announced that Code on the Road, the initiative launched by 2013 fellow Shatha Jayyousi, was chosen as the winner for the Harvard Arab Alumni Association impact competition.
The Harvard alumni initiative, 3arabi, aims to support implementation of innovative projects that positively impact the Arab world. Code on the Road is a 2018 AEIF-winning project that empowers migrant women and girls through software and business entrepreneurship training in Athens and Amman.
As the winner, Code on the Road will be matched with an advisory group of representatives from the public and private sectors who will support them through investment, team-building support and strategic partnerships. Shatha and her team will also present their initiative at the upcoming Harvard Arab World Conference in Dubai.
Report Date...: 10/14/19