Impact Stories from Economic Impact Policy Area
Fellow wins UNCTAD Women in Business Award
Fellow(s): Afnan Ali
2011 fellow Afnan Ali was named the winner of the 7th United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) Empretec Women in Business Awards, recognized for her leadership and commitment to educating Jordan’s youth. Afnan is the founder of Eureka Tech Academy, a STEM education company that creates comprehensive programming and workshops for children in engineering, technology and innovation. Through its programs, Eureka offers children ages six to 16 training in robotics, pneumatics, renewable energy, mobile apps, entrepreneurship and more.
Afnan was one of ten finalists for the award, which is issued every two years for women who have participated in the UNCTAD Empretec program. “I started with a dream to help children become inventors because that’s what I wanted to be when I was a child,” said Afnan. “Having an unshakable belief of the ‘why’ behind this project is a must.” As the Women in Business Award winner, Afnan was awarded a fellowship for the Executive Education Program at IMD Business School in Switzerland.
Report Date...: 12/14/20
Fellows and mentor speak at UN event on education
Fellow(s): Janet Fofang, Reema Diab, and Eileen Brewer (mentor)
Country: Cameroon, Jordan, United States
Cohort: 2013, 2019
2013 fellow of Cameroon Janet Fofang, 2019 fellow of Jordan Reema Diab and mentor Eileen Brewer were featured speakers at this week’s Education for Justice Global Dialogue Series, a four-day event that fostered discussions on education for the rule of law, the UN SDGs and how the international education community can respond to the growing challenges in education. The series, “Reimagining education for a more just world: Inspire, change, together,” was held by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).
Janet is an electrical engineering educator and advocate for girls in STEM, and Reema is the founder of Galaxy Organization, an IT non-profit that hosts programs for youth and women in artificial intelligence, coding and more. Their panel, moderated by global coordinators from the UNODC Education for Justice (E4J) initiative, featured leaders in education who shared how innovative educational tools and technologies can foster global citizenship education and improve learning outcomes.
Eileen was a featured panelist on a discussion about how youth-driven technology and entrepreneurship can accelerate progress of the SDGs. Eileen is currently the director Takween Accelerator, the first startup accelerator in Iraq.
Report Date...: 12/7/20
Fellows serve as judges for Hult Prize finals
Fellow(s): Asna Javed and Ayesha Mumtaz Khan
This week, 2019 fellows Asna Javed and Ayesha Mumtaz Khan served as judges for the Hult Prize final event at Lahore Garrison University in Lahore, Pakistan. With programs in six continents, the Hult Prize is a startup accelerator that empowers social entrepreneurs at colleges and universities to solve the world’s most pressing issues. Each year the Hult Prize awards the final winning student team with one million dollars in seed capital.
Ayesha also served as a mentor at the semi-final round of the competition. For this week’s final regional round, Asna and Ayesha, alongside another female judge, heard five student teams present their ideas on this year’s theme, Food for Good. The pitches included solutions that address food waste, recycling, empowering local vendors and more. “I focused on wow factor, sustainability and diversity of teams,” says Asna. “The TechWomen program taught me how to think logically and critically. My learning helped me a lot in yesterday’s judging.”
Report Date...: 12/7/20
Fellow wins silver at international education awards
Fellow(s): Chao Mbogo
KamiLimu, the mentorship non-profit founded by 2017 fellow Chao Mbogo, was named a Silver Winner for the Nurturing Employability Award at the 2020 Reimagine Education Awards and Conference. Known as the “Oscars for education,” the yearly awards recognize and reward innovative initiatives that enhance student education and employability. This year, over 2,000 people attended the virtual awards ceremony.
KamiLimu is a free eight-month structured mentorship program for computer science college students in Kenya. Now on their fifth cohort, KamiLimu has worked with 170 students from 19 universities and multiple community partners that enhance the students’ learning experience. The program also ensures that each cohort has 50% female students. “My heart is full,” said Chao after the win. “Today goes down in history as one of the most important days in mine and KamiLimu’s life.”
Report Date...: 12/7/20
Fellows and mentors team up for women in tech panel
Fellow(s): Chepkemoi Magdaline, Josephine Ndambuki, Ruth Kaveke, Maya Bisineer (mentor) and Jennifer Martin (mentor)
Country: Kenya, United States
Cohort: 2013, 2017, 2019
2019 fellow of Kenya Chepkemoi Magdaline recently convened a group of TechWomen mentors and fellows for a discussion on the future of work and how women can advance in the tech industry. Chepkemoi, the moderator, was joined by fellows of Kenya Josephine Ndambuki (2013) and Ruth Kaveke (2017) as well as mentors Maya Bisineer of GoDaddy and Jennifer Martin of Verizon. The panel was hosted by EldoHub, Chepkemoi’s Ed-Tech platform, and the Countrywide Innovations Hub as part of Lake Basin Innovation and Investment Week, an annual gathering for innovators and entrepreneurs in Kenya.
During their group discussion, the mentors and fellows discussed the global gender gap in technology as well as the challenges they’ve faced as women in their industries. “Every time I meet women from across the world, we have such unique stories,” said Maya. “What brings us together is a fascination for technology and the perseverance to keep going and find people who are going through something similar.” The mentors and fellows also discussed how they often had no blueprint in their career journeys, and were instead tasked with paving the way themselves. Josephine, who manages economic development and partnerships for Konza Technolopolis as well as Ruth, the founder and executive director of Pwani Teknowgalz, spoke about their TechWomen experience and how their mentors played prominent role in shaping their careers and supporting them in scaling their businesses. At the conclusion of the event, Ruth gave advice to the young women watching: “Reach out, ask for help and find the right people that will always support you,” she said.
Report Date...: 11/30/20
Fellow shares career in IT to inspire women and girls
Fellow(s): Ainura Sagyn
This week, 2017 fellow of Kyrgyzstan Ainura Sagyn participated in a panel discussion on the prospects and challenges for women in IT. The online event included alumni of the Chevening Scholarship and was hosted by UK Alumni Kyrgyzstan alongside the British Embassy Bishkek.
During the discussion, Ainura spoke about her career in IT, including her experience last month at the Apple Entrepreneur Camp. There, she further developed Tazar, her startup and waste management mobile application that reduces the amount of waste sent to landfills. Recently updated with new features, the app includes maps with collection points for recyclable materials, a platform that offers education on sorting recyclables and a platform for citizens and collectors to connect for more efficient collections.
Ainura also spoke about the next step in her professional development, a joint master’s degree in computer vision and image processing at the Universidad Autónoma in Madrid.
Report Date...: 11/30/20
Fellows featured in panel on smart cities and Industry 4.0
Fellow(s): Maysoun Ibrahim and Ameni Channoufi
Country: Palestinian Territories, Tunisia
Cohort: 2011, 2014
2011 fellow of the Palestinian Territories Dr. Maysoun Ibrahim and 2014 fellow of Tunisia Ameni Channoufi were featured panelists at the 2020 Startup Gate Virtual Summit, an event for young entrepreneurs and innovators to engage with the tech community. Ameni is a public key infrastructure and IT security consultant for Thales Group, and Maysoun is an Industry 4.0 and smart sustainable cities specialist.
In the webinar, “Smart Cities: Shaping the Society of 2030” Maysoun delivered a presentation on the Fourth Industrial Revolution and smart cities in the time of COVID-19. Maysoun emphasized that, although the pandemic has negatively affected much of the world, it has accelerated and strengthened innovation within the Fourth Industrial Revolution. More than ever, she said, smart cities are using diverse technologies to stop the spread, monitor patients and develop vaccines. In her presentation, Ameni spoke about the four security objectives for smart city solutions: availability, integrity, confidentiality and accountability.
Report Date...: 11/30/20
Fellow and mentor collaborate on Agile webinar
Fellow(s): Elena Chigbaeva and Claudia Galvan (mentor)
Country: Kyrgyzstan, United States
This week, 2018 fellow of Kyrgyzstan Elena Chigibaeva invited Cultural Mentor Claudia Galván to deliver a webinar on Agile and Scrum methodologies to professionals from Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. In addition to working as a principal technical product manager at Oracle, Claudia is a co-chair for the TechWomen Alumnae Council and was a computer science Facilitator for the TechWomen 2020-2021 Professional Interest Groups.
Elena, a certified Agile product owner, wanted Claudia to bring her unique expertise to the tech community in Central Asia. “Agile product development is a relatively new approach and concept for us, and she was able, during a short period of time, to open this topic in a very understandable way based on her experience and expertise,” she said. Claudia’s presentation, “Creating a World-Ready MVP Using Agile/Scrum,” brought participants through the fundamental elements of Agile, the roles within the iterative approach and how small teams can deliver results. She also discussed the steps to delivering an MVP, or minimum viable product, and the incremental milestones teams should reach along the way. After answering participant questions, Claudia encouraged them to connect with her on LinkedIn to continue the conversation, and thanked Elena for organizing the online event: “Elena, thank you for making a difference and keeping the TechWomen spirit going,” she said.
Report Date...: 11/23/20
With T.I.M.E for Women fellows inspire a new generation
Fellow(s): Mutriba Akhmedova, Anzurat Kosimova
Cohort: 2015, 2016
Fellows Mutriba Akhmedova (2015) and Anzurat Kosimova (2016) have launched T.I.M.E for Women, a project that works with women and girls to expand their IT knowledge and skills. T.I.M.E – which stands for Technology, Innovation, Management and Entrepreneurship – is a new venture of SheCanDoIT, the fellows’ initiative that was recently named a grantee of the 2020 Democracy Commission Small Grants Program from the U.S. Embassy in Tajikistan. The program focuses on initiatives centered on social empowerment, entrepreneurship and skills development.
Through SheCanDoIT, the fellows will encourage and inspire girls to enter the IT field. “Our name contains our main goal,” says Mutriba. “Women can do everything and be successful in IT.” The T.I.M.E for Women platform launched in October, and will soon offer women and girls training in both technical and soft skills: app development, cybersecurity, IoT, leadership, communication and more. They will also offer professional advice that will prepare Tajik women for the TechWomen application and other exchange program opportunities. Already, the platform features videos from three fellows – Mahina Usmonova (2016), Natalya Tyudina (2018) and Zevar Davlatmamadova (2018) – who offer motivational speeches on their journeys in IT. “TechWomen connected us, but we are also connected by our common goals and mission,” says Mutriba. “We want to change the views of our society. We want to bring IT and innovative ideas to our country. Together, we can achieve more. And as TechWomen says, we are empowered to empower.”
Report Date...: 11/16/20
Dabchy fellow’s fashion startup wins the MEA Seed Challenge
Fellow(s): Ameni Mansouri
This week it was announced that Dabchy, the startup co-founded by 2018 fellow Ameni Mansouri, was one of seven businesses named a winner of the MEA Seed Challenge. The inaugural challenge, launched in June by Orange Ventures, has a mission to finance 100 high-growth potential startups by 2025. Orange Ventures will invest nearly $800,000 amongst the seven winners.
Dabchy, Tunisia’s first web-based fashion marketplace, was selected among 500 businesses who entered the competition. Their online platform allows its 250,000 users to buy and sell secondhand clothing, accessories and beauty products in three countries. Ameni, Dabchy’s CEO, looks forward to the business expanding with Orange Ventures’ collaboration. “We are very excited about this new investment because getting the confidence of a world leader like Orange in our start-up, which has been evolving since its launch in 2016, can only strengthen our positioning even further. We are really excited about this new collaboration that will enable us to apply our vision and have foolproof support for our expansion into Africa and throughout the MENA region,” she said.
Report Date...: 11/16/20