Impact Stories from Economic Impact Policy Area
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
Fellow featured as tech leader and social impact advocate
Fellow(s): Christa Munezero
Last month, 2018 fellow Christa Munezero was featured by Nsesa Foundation for her work in ICT and her commitment to using tech for social good. Nsesa, a STEM non-profit that educates and trains youth in Africa, features leaders in STEM fields for their ongoing “STEM Wow” series. Christa is the COO of Tap & Go Wifi at the AC Group Rwanda.
In her interview, Christa speaks about her passion for tech, her advice for women in STEM fields and her TechWomen experience. She highlighted her team’s 2018 seed grant-winning initiative, Healing Together, sharing that their work addressing women trauma survivors’ mental health has been her greatest achievement. She concluded the interview with her advice for women in STEM fields: “Do not give up – humble beginnings can create better opportunities.”
Report Date...: 10/14/19
2019 Emerging Leaders share perspectives on TechWomen blog
Fellow(s): Sitora Salaeva, Zani Gichuki, Esra’a Alsanie
Country: Jordan, Kenya, Uzbekistan
Recently, three 2019 Emerging Leaders wrote guest blogs in our returning blog series, Emerging Leader Voices. In their posts, Sitora Salaeva of Uzbekistan, Zani Gichuki of Kenya and Esra’a Alsanie of Jordan shared their perspectives on being women in STEM fields. In Arriving at my dream, Sitora – who applied to TechWomen four times before being accepted – spoke about often being the only woman on her team or in her department, prompting her to become an advocate for gender equality in the workplace.
At the age of 14, Zani was asked whether she’d rather be the wife of a doctor or an engineer. Now a civil engineer herself, Zani shares her perspective in Defying expectations: my journey in STEM. In our final guest blog post, Esra’a offers insight on how to accept and overcome obstacles. As founder and CEO of an edtech startup, Esra’a credits remaining flexible as a crucial factor to her success. Read her key takeaways in You can only connect the dots looking backward.
Report Date...: 9/30/19
Mentor(s): 2019 Emerging Leaders
On Sunday, IIE welcomed the arrival of the 2019 cohort of 108 Emerging Leaders from 21 countries. This year’s Emerging Leaders will join TechWomen’s network of over 300 Professional Mentors, Cultural Mentors and Impact Coaches – and an alumnae community of over 600 fellows and 700 mentors – as they embark on five weeks of mentorship and professional exchange.
This year’s 40 host company partners include Glassdoor, 23andMe and Salesforce; the program is also welcoming a group of new host companies, including Airbnb, SurveyMonkey, Okta and Zume. TechWomen’s first week of programming includes the Cultural Kickoff, where Emerging Leaders will showcase the rich culture of their home countries, as well as Action Plan Workshop 1, where country teams will establish the foundation of their action plans alongside their Impact Coaches.
Leading into the program, three 2019 Emerging Leaders wrote guest posts on the TechWomen blog in the series Emerging Leader Voices, sharing their perspectives as women in STEM and highlighting and their achievements, challenges and life lessons. Follow along as we provide #techwomen19 updates on Twitter, Instagram, and the TechWomen blog!
Report Date...: 9/23/19
Fellows establish Uzbekistan’s first green tech accelerator
Fellow(s): Saida Yusupova, Elena Selezneva
Recently, 2016 fellows Saida Yusupova and Elena Selezneva organized
Uzbekistan’s first green startup accelerator program. The accelerator,
Water Solutions Innovation Lab, was established for green business
startups that are working to advance green technologies and solve water
The accelerator was implemented by Saida’s company, Green Business
Innovation, and founded with a mission to create awareness about
environmental challenges and bring the latest innovative technologies to
the agricultural and environmental sectors within the country. Earlier this
year, the innovation lab accepted 12 startups into an intensive six month
program, and became the first Uzbek program to partner with
ClimateLaunchpad, the world’s largest green business ideas competition.
During the program, ClimateLaunchpad’s founder and lead trainer
traveled to Uzbekistan to conduct a two-day bootcamp for participating startups.
The program culminated with a Demo Day in August, held in partnership with ClimateLaunchpad, where the teams pitched a group of judges and local investors. The two winning startups were invited to the ClimateLaunchpad Grand Finale in Amsterdam, which will be held in November. VIOM, the team that won first place, consists of two women who are producing water-soluble and biodegradable products for agricultural applications.
Report Date...: 9/2/19
Fellow speaks at international conference in Japan
Fellow(s): Patu Ndango Fen
Last month, 2017 fellow Patu Ndango Fen was a featured panelist at the Tokyo International Conference on African Development. The conference is initiative of the Japanese government and held in partnership with the United Nations Development Program, World Bank and the African Union Commission.
Patu is the founder of Closed Loop System Ventures, a waste management social enterprise, as well as the president of its foundation. In one panel, “Human Capital Development for Youth Entrepreneurship,” Patu spoke about innovative education approaches that empower and engage youth. “Africa has a young population and is experiencing a rapid growth rate,” she said. “Young people should be encouraged to venture into entrepreneurship in order to create jobs and contribute to resolving pressing social, environmental and economic challenges.”
Report Date...: 9/2/19
Fellow named first Algerian Microsoft Regional Director
Fellow(s): Ouafa Benterki
This month, 2012 fellow Ouafa Benterki was named a Microsoft Regional Director, making her the first Algerian and first African woman to occupy the role.
Established in 1993, the Microsoft Regional Director program selects 160 of the world’s top technology visionaries who are chosen for their community leadership and commitment to technology. Each Regional Director is nominated and selected by Microsoft employees based on a competitive and rigorous evaluation process. Ouafa will act in a non-paid advisory role, fulfilling a two-year term where she will play an integral role in bringing community feedback and customer needs to senior Microsoft leadership, including Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.
Last year, IIE partnered with Microsoft to provide full registration for four TechWomen fellows to attend Microsoft Ignite 2018 in Orlando, Florida. Ouafa, one of the four fellows selected, was featured in two sessions and had the opportunity to speak about her work as the CEO and founder of MTY Intelligent Software, the first Algerian women-led startup specializing in intelligent systems. “If I didn’t attend MS Ignite last year, it wouldn’t be possible for me to be selected for this,” said Ouafa. “Microsoft discovered my leadership in technology thanks to IIE.”
Report Date...: 8/19/19