Impact Stories from Education Diplomacy/Mentoring Policy Area
Fellow selected as first recipient of the Kerr fellowship
Fellow(s): Rasha Abu Dayyeh
Country: Palestinian Territories
2017 fellow Rasha Abu Dayyeh was named the first recipient of the University of California, Berkeley Kerr fellowship, a scholarship that supports professionals from the MENA region whose work focuses on the environment, natural resources and peace-building through environmental programs. The scholarship is part of the Beahrs Environmental Leadership Program (ELP), a UC Berkeley program founded in 2001 that has trained 731 professionals from 121 countries The Kerr fellowship was created in celebration of the ELP’s 20th year.
Rasha, a water and environmental engineer, was mentored at the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission during TechWomen 2017. During her professional mentorship she visited UC Berkeley, where she learned about Beahrs ELP. After returning to Ramallah – and after applying to Beahrs ELP every year – Rasha was finally accepted with a partial scholarship, but was unable to secure the funds to attend. After being named a recipient of the Kerr fellowship, Rasha began online classes this year, and hopes to be able to attend UC Berkeley for in-person courses next year. During the program, Rasha and a group of environmental leaders began Heroines of Earth, a project that amplifies women’s contributions towards defending the environment and creating a culture of sustainability. In a UC Berkeley feature, Rasha spoke about the importance of bringing international leaders together to create effective change: “The clock is ticking on climate change, and I believe in the power of collective action. To be able to heal the world, we all need to work together,” she said.
Report Date...: 11/22/21
Fellow partners with UK organization to foster local innovation
Fellow(s): Chepkemoi Magadaline
2019 fellow Chepkemoi Magadaline has partnered with UK government program Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN) Global Alliance Africa to launch Innovation Action Plan, a pilot program that will support local and regional innovation in Eldoret, Kenya. Chepkemoi is the founder and executive director of Eldohub, an EdTech platform that brings digital skills and ICT training to young people and provides mentorship and educational resources to Kenyan entrepreneurs.
After a series of design workshops, EldoHub and KTN created a 10-point roadmap that addresses regional innovation challenges. By 2025, the partnership will bring an entrepreneurship accelerator bootcamp, a university hub incubation program and innovation exchange challenges across the region. They will also offer digital transformation training, job support and a locally run ICT hub. At the launch event, attended by the British Deputy High Commissioner to Kenya as well as Uasin Gishu County’s Deputy Governor, Chepkemoi expressed her excitement for the program: “We are looking forward to Eldoret’s innovation ecosystem becoming a source of prosperity for all, with meaningful employment opportunities for a more tech-savvy workforce, and strong links with regional, national and international partners,” she said.
Report Date...: 11/22/21
In keynote address fellow speaks about AI and transportation
Fellow(s): Reema Diab
This week, 2019 fellow Reema Diab delivered a keynote address at the 2021 RiseUp Summit in Cairo, Egypt, speaking about harnessing the power of AI to impact transportation challenges. RiseUp is the largest innovation and entrepreneurship summit in the MENA region, convening innovators and entrepreneurs for three days of panels, workshops and keynotes. This year’s summit, themed on Timeless Innovation, brought together over 10,000 attendees at the Pyramids of Giza to discuss technologies that can transform the world.
Reema is the founder of Galaxy Organization for Technology, an IT non- profit that empowers women and youth with STEM skills. In her talk, she spoke about the Fourth Industrial Revolution and the importance of empowering young people with skills in AI, IoT and more. She also presented on the future of transportation and self-driving cars, sharing how developing countries
can create sustainable infrustructure and use AI technology to create a better quality of life for its citizens.
Report Date...: 11/22/21
At IEW fellow talks about the power of international exchange
Fellow(s): Maral Hudaybergenova
2018 fellow Maral Hudaybergenova was invited to deliver a session about the impact of the TechWomen program for International Education Week, a joint initiative of the U.S. Department of State and U.S. Department of Education that highlights the impact of international education and studying abroad.
The session was part of a week-long event organized by American Councils for International Education and EducationUSA Turkmenistan that offered Q&A sessions, overviews of exchange programs and workshops on personal development skills. Maral, a civil engineer at a multinational construction company, was mentored at Cahill Contractors during TechWomen 2018. During her talk, she spoke about her exchange experience in the U.S., how it has impacted her career and how women in STEM fields in Turkmenistan can take advantage of the opportunity. “I’m trying to reach more ladies who deserve to join this global community. It was an honor to empower more ladies to pursue their dreams,” she said.
Report Date...: 11/15/21
Fellow speaks about climate action at UN COP 26
Fellow(s): Rim Assaad
This month, 2018 fellow Rim Assaad was invited to attend the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 26) in Glasgow, United Kingdom, speaking on two panels about climate action in Lebanon. The annual summit convened world leaders, businesses and citizens for twelve days of talks themed on the Paris Agreement goals and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. Rim is the co-founder of RISE2030, a community-led initiative managed by Sustain The World Org and Sustainable Empowerment for Youth International. Through their education and training programs – which include solar installation, literacy training and support for women farmers –RISE2030 aims to mobilize women and youth to create sustainable communities and contribute to Lebanon’s energy transition. In 2021, RISE2030 distributed 46,000 meals and created over 2,000 jobs.
Last year, RISE2030 won a United Nations Global Climate Action Award in the “Women for Results” category. After delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Rim represented RISE2030 at COP 26 as a featured guest and panelist, sharing her work addressing challenges in Lebanon. In her panel, Advancing Gender Equity in Climate Action, Rim spoke about Lebanon’s current energy crisis that was exacerbated by COVID-19 and the 2020 Beirut explosion. She said that RISE2030 aims to be a part of the solution, working to train and mobilize all-women teams to address power grid issues. “Creating all-women teams is a bold statement,” Rim said. “Being a woman in Lebanon has never been harder, yet women are proving to be leaders of change.”
Report Date...: 11/8/21
Fellow named a top 500 African DOer
Fellow(s): Baratang Miya
Country: South Africa
2015 fellow Baratang Miya was named to the Top 500 African DOers Power List from Tropics Magazine, an online publication covering business in Africa, Europe, the United States and Southeast Asia. The annual list recognizes the most influential Africans, spotlighting leaders who are creating impact and moving the pan-African economy forward. The African DOer campaign also has a mission to inspire the next generation of thought leaders and entrepreneurs by amplifying social impact leaders across the continent.
Baratang is founder of GirlHype, an initiative that empowers women and girls from disadvantaged backgrounds through tech training and digital literacy workshops. Through their Coding Clubs, GirlHype brings together girls throughout the country to learn about computer science and meet other girls interested in STEM fields. Baratang is also the CEO of Uhuru Spaces, a coworking space designed to bring together and support female founders.
Report Date...: 11/8/21
In USG Alumni Talk fellow discusses STEM education for girls
Fellow(s): Elena Selezneva
Last week, 2016 fellow Elena Selezneva was invited by American Spaces in Uzbekistan Tashkent to discuss STEM programs for girls and her TechWomen experience. The conversation was part of the American Space USG Alumni Talks series that spotlights alumnae from exchange programs, inviting them to share their expertise and exchange program experience.
Elena and 2016 fellow Saida Yusupova are the founders of Tech4Impact, an initiative that nurtures IT, innovation, green tech and women’s entrepreneurship in Uzbekistan and Central Asia. Their recent project, Accelerating Women’s Climate Change Tech Startups in Uzbekistan, trains and supports women in the Karakalpakstan region of Uzbekistan, helping them establish businesses and initiatives that address the social and economic effects of climate change. Elena also brought the Technovation Challenge to Uzbekistan in 2016, and currently serves as their regional ambassador. Elena began her talk with an overview of TechWomen, emphasizing that the program not only improved her skills but also led to long-lasting friendships and professional collaborations that empower women and girls in STEM. After sharing data on the underrepresentation of women and girls in STEM in Uzbekistan, Elena amplified programs working to close the gap, including Tech4Impact’s UNISAT nanosatellite program that will train 150 girls to design, program, assemble and launch nanosatellites. “You may hear that STEM is not for girls, but it’s not true. There are many brilliant women and girls working in ICT, in IT, in engineering and in science,” she said.
Report Date...: 11/1/21
Fellow named Francophone Representative for AfriLabs board
Fellow(s): Crescence Elodie
This week it was announced that 2019 fellow Crescence Elodie was elected as a board member for AfriLabs, and will serve as their Francophone reprensentative for the next two years. With over 300 centers across 50 African Countries, AfriLabs has a mission to support innovation and entrepreneurship through policy advocacy, capacity building and more.
Crescence is the founder of EN Group, a platform that focuses on digital and community development through technology, as well as the founder of WETECH, Cameroon’s first women-focused innovation center that supports and trains women with tech and entrepreneurship skills. Over the next two years, Crescence will be responsible for engaging AfriLabs’ French-speaking tech community, amplifying the French-speaking tech ecosystem and strengthing the capacity of innovation centers, accelerators, hack labs and more in French-speaking areas. “I will be in charge of bringing the French-speaking community to the top, defending its interests and attract opportunities,” said Crescence. “It’s an honor and a big responsibility.”
Report Date...: 11/1/21
Fellow speaks about career and TechWomen on podcast
Fellow(s): Salma Bekkouche
This week 2018 fellow Salma Bekkouche was a featured guest on the Gusra podcast, a show that invites thought leaders in the MENA region to speak about their career journeys, experiences and passions. Salma is a recruiter and blogger whose platform, Salma Share, aims to empower Algerian youth through offering best practices and career advice. Her website and YouTube channel offer tips on applying to international programs abroad and invites guest bloggers to share their international education experiences.
In the podcast interview, Salma spoke about the value of volunteering with local clubs and organizations, sharing that her experience with Algeria’s TechWomen/TechGirls Club helped her transition from IT to HR. She reflected on her TechWomen mentorship at Twitter, where she learned the importance of personal branding on social media: “I had the chance to connect with experts from around the world in one place,” she said.
Report Date...: 11/1/21
At Girls STEAM Camp fellow shares advice and inspiration
Fellow(s): Houda Chakiri
2012 fellow Houda Chakiri spoke to over 100 secondary school students in Morocco, Côte d’Ivoire and the United States at last month’s WiSci Morocco Girls STEAM Camp, a two-week virtual program that offered girls interactive STEM workshops, leadership training and mentorship opportunities. Houda, an assistant professor of computer science, was joined by other international women leaders for the Women In STEAM panel, sharing their diverse experiences as women in leadership.
During the panel, the moderator encouraged the panelists to remember their experiences when they were the same age as the girls. Houda offered her perspective, sharing the barriers she faced as a girl and emphasizing that girls continue to face challenges when pursuing STEM fields. She reminded the girls, however, that setbacks can serve as fuel for achievement: “Don’t be afraid of failure – it can be a real push to strive for success,” she said.
Report Date...: 10/25/21