Impact Stories from Economic Impact Policy Area
Fellow plans digital empowerment center in Cameroon
Fellow(s): Sophie Ngassa
2014 fellow of Cameroon Sophie Ngassa has broken ground in Douala to launch her new inititiave, a digital empowerment center for women and girls. The initiative, currently called #GiftFromMum, began after Sophie’s mother gifted her land to pursue her passion project. The center will serve as a space where women and girls can acquire digital skills training, participate in STEM-based workshops and learn skills to generate income.
Construction for the digital empowerment center is in progress and will eventually house a workshop, kitchen and offices. Speaking about her vision, Sophie says, “Two years ago it was a conversation, last year it became a plan and this year it is work in progress. We make little steps every day.”
Sophie, a digital rights activist and high school teacher, founded a youth vocational technical training organization, Center for Youth Education and Economic Development, in 2010. She has also served as a mentor for Technovation Cameroon since 2014.
Report Date...: 1/14/19
Fellow accepted to Silicon Valley-based business incubator
Fellow(s): Zeina Sadeddin
Country: Palestinian Territories
2018 fellow Zeina Sadeddin of the Palestinian Territories was accepted to the Ramallah chapter of the Founder Institute, a pre-seed accelerator that has helped launch over 3,500 companies internationally. The institute, based in Palo Alto, maintains chapters in over 180 cities around the globe. Their three-month program includes sessions in ideation, market research, revenue models, pitch decks, hiring and growth. Participants will also have access to Bay Area CEOs and investors who can support them with business development, public relations and introductions to outside advisors.
Zeina’s project addresses the local tech talent pool who seek remote work but lack networking resources. Zeina hopes to build an online cloud application to match local talent with experts in Silicon Valley who have remote positions available. Her online platform would assist the job applicants with resources and interview skills to increase their marketability and increase their job prospects abroad.
Report Date...: 1/7/19
Fellow to launch tech curriculum in South African schools
Fellow(s): Lindiwe Matlali
Country: South Africa
2017 fellow of South Africa Lindiwe Matlali, founder of Africa Teen Geeks, has announced a partnership with the South African Department of Basic Education to develop and implement a digital skills curriculum in South African schools. Lindiwe, a recipient of numerous accolades for her work, will develop a robotics and coding framework that will scale throughout the country over the next five years.
Lindiwe is partnering with City University of New York to develop a curriculum that is not dependent on computer and internet infrastructure, allowing it to be implemented in a greater number of schools across the country. She will also be supported by the network she built during TechWomen, including a connection from Autodesk’s Impact Design Workshop who will focus on developing a curriculum based on innovation.
Lindiwe will also build an online platform that trains South African teachers and provides interactive resources about the coursework. Moving forward, Lindiwe hopes to bring her coding and robotics curriculum to the greater African continent: “We want to inspire the next generation of Africa’s innovators and entrepreneurs,” she says. “We have to teach our children how to innovate as early as possible.”
Report Date...: 12/31/18
Fellow named Woman of the Year in digital technology
Fellow(s): Ines Nasri
2014 fellow of Tunisia Ines Nasri was named Woman of the Year in the digital technology category at the first ARVEA Women Awards held recently in Tunisia. The awards honor Tunisian women who inspire and encourage others to be bold, successful and follow a path of innovation. The jury was led by Tunisia’s former Minister of Culture and comprised leading women entrepreneurs, researchers and tech experts.
Ines is the founder of WebPower Tunisie, a recognized Tunisian digital web agency specializing in web and social marketing, web development and brand content. In a guest blog written shortly after her TechWomen experience, Ines described starting WebPower with limited resources and nearly no budget. Participating in TechWomen helped develop her leadership skills, making her a better communicator and more effective manager. “I came back from Silicon Valley with a HUGE amount of energy and felt empowered and so optimistic,” she wrote.
In addition to WebPower, Ines founded Tunisia Digital Day, an annual digital marketing event that brings together professionals, students and businesses to raise awareness about opportunities in technology fields.
Report Date...: 12/24/18
Fellow wins Young Entrepreneur Award
Fellow(s): Nomso Kana
Country: South Africa
This month, 2013 fellow of South Africa Nomso Kana was awarded the Young Entrepreneur Award by the African Women Innovation and Entrepreneurship Forum. The annual conference brings together 1,200 female leaders with a mission to empower, educate and encourage sustainable economic development throughout Africa.
Nomso, selected out of 450 nominees, was recognized for Sun ‘n Shield Technologies, the telecommunications company she founded. Sun ‘n Shield provides fiber optic manufacturing services, bringing internet accessibility to South Africa and the greater African continent. “This award is amazing encouragement,” says Nomso. “It will help us forge forward and continue to put up broadband infrastructure in Southern Africa and Africa, ensuring essential seamless internet access for all Africans.”
Report Date...: 11/19/2018
Fellow selected as an advisor for Minister of Science
Fellow(s): Tiisetso Lephoto
Country: South Africa
2016 fellow Dr. Tiisetso Lephoto was recently appointed as a board member to
the National Advisory Council on Innovation in South Africa. Board members
are appointed by the Minister for Science and Technology and advise on issues
in science, mathematics, technology and innovation to improve the lives of
Tiisetso was selected based on her work in science and technology, including
science engagement, science communication, innovation and education. In
addition to receiving multiple awards for her work in research and science
engagement, Tiisetso is currently a post-doctoral research scientist at the
University of Witwatersrand and the COO of GoMaths, a program that brings
mathematics programming to school children.
Report Date...: 10/29/2018
Small Grants Program of the U.S. Embassy Democracy Commission
Fellow(s): Nazira Sheraly
Charba, a company started by 2016 fellow of Kyrgyzstan, Nazira Sheraly, received an award through the Small Grants Program of the U.S. Embassy Democracy Commission, administered by the Public Affairs Section of the U.S. Embassy in Bishkek. Charba’s mission is to use innovative technologies to create affordable and high quality greenhouses. In partnership with Atuul, a local NGO, Nazira’s company is using the grant to educate women on the greenhouse business and business in general, to coach women who are implementing their own business ideas and to monitor and evaluate the newly established businesses. To further motivate the women involved, Nazira plans to hold a competition to provide additional mentorship and support for seven winners to make their businesses more successful.Read More »
Report Date...: 8/7/2017
One Child, One Desk
Fellow(s): Amanda Gicharu-Kemoli, Angeline Kasina, Cheryl Kerama, Margaret Ndisha and Lucy Wanjiku
In Kenya, the lack of desk space in schools can be a barrier against students completing their education. In a guest blog post, the five 2016 fellows of Kenya, Amanda Gicharu-Kemoli, Angeline Kasina, Cheryl Kerama, Margaret Ndisha and Lucy Wanjiku, share about the launch of their initiative to improve the student-to-desk ratio in their country. Using the $2,500 seed grant they won during the 2016 TechWomen program, and leveraging local resources such as the Kenya Prisons Carpentry Section, the fellows were able to create new desk space for 150 students at a marginalized school outside of Nairobi.Read More »
Report Date...: 7/31/2017
Fellow(s): Joy Makumbe
Joy Makumbe, 2015 fellow of Zimbabwe, discusses her startup challenges and the impact of TechWomen on her personal and professional life in an interview featured on She Leads Africa. SunPower hosted Joy for her mentorship, where she “realized that there was so much untapped potential in Zimbabwe for solar power on the domestic, industrial and agricultural fields,” Joy stated.Read More »
Report Date...: 6/12/2017
World Economic Forum on the Middle East and North Africa
Fellow(s): Omnia Eteyari
Omnia Eteyari, 2013 fellow of Libya and member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Shapers Community, participated in the World Economic Forum on the Middle East and North Africa, May 19-21, at the Dead Sea, Jordan. Omnia met leaders from partnering countries and worked with other thought leaders to brainstorm ideas on using technology to prosper and develop the region.Read More »
Report Date...: 5/22/2017