Impact Stories from Education Diplomacy/Mentoring Policy Area
a hands-on learning kit
Fellow(s): Aseel Honein
2013 fellow Aseel Honein has launched Architecture in a Box, a new company that provides hands-on kits teaching the principles of architecture, building and environmental sustainability to youth ages eight to 17. Aseel, an architect and university instructor, wanted to increase the visibility of the architecture field and inspire women and girls to pursue careers in a historically male-dominated space.
In Lebanon, most students are not introduced to architecture, urban planning or interior design at school, and many women trained in architecture are not actively employed as architects. “Due to many challenges, there are no opportunities for all graduates, engineers, and architects in Lebanon,” says Aseel. “Therefore, proper career orientation and design thinking tools and resources are required to create new opportunities.” Each kit provides interactive activities that teach youth about sustainable building, creative problem solving and critical thinking; Architecture in a Box will also offer complimentary workshops to schools that use the kits in their classrooms. Last year, Aseel had an opportunity to pilot her prototype boxes with 100 girls at an event run by Girls Got IT, an initiative co-founded by two Lebanese TechWomen fellows that exposes girls ages 15-17 to STEM through interactive workshops. As the company grows, Aseel hopes to create more kits that will spark creativity, create environmental awareness and help inspire youth – especially girls – to pursue a career in architecture.
Report Date...: 10/12/20
Fellow featured for initiative that brings tech training to youth
Fellow(s): Chepkemoi Magdaline
2019 fellow Chepkemoi Magdaline was featured in a Medium piece by African Innovations Liquid Telecom, an online publication that covers digital transformation on the African continent. Chepkemoi was highlighted in their 21st Century Skills (21CSkills) spotlight, a series that shines a light on innovative programs and the leaders that run them.
Chepkemoi is the founder and executive director of Eldohub, an education technology platform that brings digital skills and ICT training to young people, focusing on empowering them to solve community challenges using technology. Eldohub also supports Kenyan entrepreneurs, helping them build their businesses and expand their reach through educational resources and mentorship. Recently, Chepkemoi and Eldohub partnered with 21CSkills to create training programs in data science and artificial intelligence. In the feature, Chepkemoi explains that as Eldohub expands its programming, online learning will play a key role: “COVID-19 has made very evident the need to localize e-learning for our local context,” she says.
Report Date...: 10/12/20
Fellows hold alumnae Q&A to inspire girls in STEM
Fellow(s): Alice Tyan, Elena Chigibaeva, Mira Abdimetalieva, Kyzzhibek Batyrkanova, Aigerim Beishenbekova
Cohort: 2017, 2018, 2019
This week, TechWomen fellows collaborated to hold a virtual session themed on encouraging women and girls to pursue STEM fields. 2017 fellow Alice Tyan, 2018 fellows Elena Chigibaeva and Mira Abdimetalieva, and 2019 fellows Kyzzhibek Batyrkanova and Aigerim Beishenbekova organized the webinar in partnership with the High Technology Park of the Kyrgyz Republic as part of its ongoing series that promotes IT fields.
During the session, “Why Should Girls Consider an IT Career,” the fellows shared advice on how to succeed in tech and spoke about how to develop skills that can lead to a career in STEM. They explored the diverse careers within IT that go beyond programming: data analytics, project management, product management, Scrum, quality assurance and more. Elena also presented on the TechWomen program, speaking about the opportunities it provides to international women in STEM.
Although women’s representation in tech is growing in Kyrgyzstan, the fellows spoke about the need for gender equality, and encouraged the girls to claim their space within STEM. At the conclusion of the webinar, each fellow gave advice on why girls should consider an IT career: “It doesn’t matter what gender you are if you do your job well,” said Aigerim.
Report Date...: 10/5/20
Fellow launches virtual program for young leaders
Fellow(s): Omnia Eteyari
This week, 2013 fellow Omnia Eteyari debuted Oratoriia, an online program that educates and empowers young leaders. Omnia is the founder of Jordan-based BulbulHub Academy of Public Speaking, an academy that provides public speaking, leadership and personal development courses to youth ages 11-17.
When the COVID-19 pandemic forced Omnia to suspend BulbbulHub’s in-person activities, she wanted to continue providing value to the community and its young leaders. With all-virtual programming, Oratoriia allows young leaders to access courses in leadership, public speaking, effective communication and more. Omnia has also started an Oratoriia YouTube channel, where she will provide content for its students. Her first video shares strategies for how leaders can solve common workplace challenges.
Report Date...: 10/5/20
TechWomen/TechGirls Club hold second summit
Fellow(s): TechWomen/TechGirls Club in Uzbekistan
This week, Uzbekistan’s TechWomen/TechGirls Club hosted their second summit, bringing together alumnae of both programs to network, discuss their community projects and brainstorm ways to enhance mentorship and support in a virtual setting. Launched in 2018, the cross-program clubs provide a space for career counseling, mentoring, leadership development and more. The club’s first summit, held in January of this year, established their foundational goals, provided opportunities for mentorship and laid the groundwork for future projects and collaboration.
This week’s summit brought together 22 participants, including TechWomen alumnae from multiple cohorts, TechGirls alumnae and incoming TechWomen 2020-2021 Emerging Leaders. After a welcome from the U.S. Embassy in Tashkent, the club’s participants introduced themselves to one another, speaking about their careers and their participation in the TechWomen and TechGirls programs. Despite challenges that have arisen from the COVID-19 pandemic, the group discussed creating future online workshops and masterclasses themed on soft skills, pitching, design thinking and more. The club also discussed future impact projects, including a virtual STEM school for girls as well as an awareness campaign that educates youth on environmental issues. The club hopes to hold its third summit this spring.
Report Date...: 9/28/20
Fellow named Schwab Foundation Social Innovator of the Year
Fellow(s): Lindiwe Matlali
Country: South Africa
2017 fellow Lindiwe Matlali is an awardee of the 2020 Schwab Foundation Social Entrepreneur award, recognized as an outstanding leader who is pioneering innovative solutions for social challenges in her community. Lindiwe is the founder of Africa Teen Geeks, the largest computer science NGO in Africa that is dedicated to teaching and training underserved students. To date, Africa Teen Geeks has trained over 48,000 children in IT skills.
The Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship, a sister organization of the World Economic Forum, supports global social entrepreneurs who are creating a more equitable world. Lindiwe was honored alongside 12 international changemakers who are driving change in education, government, healthcare and more. Recently, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Lindiwe and Africa Teen Geeks launched STEM Digital School, an online school that brings free classes to students throughout the African continent. The school partnered with South Africa’s Department of Basic Education, working to expand their comprehensive and interactive curriculum in order to reach a wider audience both online and on community television.
Report Date...: 9/21/20
Mentor(s): Sreeja Nair (mentor)
Mentor Type: Professional
This month, TechWomen mentor Sreeja Nair was named a YWCA Silicon Valley’s Tribute to Women Awards honoree for her work empowering other women in her sector. Sreeja, a Professional Mentor, is a staff product manager for wireless infrastructure and networking at TechWomen host company Qualcomm.
YWCA is a local organization that works to eliminate racism and empower women in Silicon Valley. Their yearly awards honor up to 50 women executive leaders and emerging leaders throughout Silicon Valley. Sreeja was honored in the Empower category, recognized for her exceptional leadership and significant contributions to her company and her field. “As women leaders we need to look at empowerment at each stage of the career funnel,” she said. “We need to have women leaders more visible to inspire young women into leadership roles.”
Report Date...: 9/21/20
Fellows mentor 23 women in AEIF-winning pilot program
Fellow(s): Nazira Sheraly, Aiturgan Zulpukarova, Elena Chigibaeva, Gulzire Minbaeva
Cohort: 2016, 2017, 2018
2016 fellow Nazira Sheraly, 2017 fellow Aiturgan Zulpukarova and 2018 fellows Elena Chigibaeva and Gulzire Minbaeva have completed a pilot program that brought 23 women from seven regions of Kyrgyzstan through online mentorship. The fellows’ initiative, Techaim, provides mentorship to women and girls to grow and develop their STEM skills and expand their knowledge in business, leadership and project management. Techaim was a recipient of a 2019 Alumni Engagement Innovation Fund grant.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the fellows held the mentorship program online, bringing 26 guest speakers, weekly webinars and nearly 30 hours of mentorship sessions to the mentees. “They are TechWomen’s future Emerging Leaders,” says Aiturgan. Through Techaim, the fellows continue to bring free online sessions and weekly live broadcasts themed on soft skills, mentorship and more.
Report Date...: 9/21/20
Emerging Leader of South Africa kicks off guest post series
Fellow(s): Reneiloe Seodigeng
Country: South Africa
TechWomen 2020-2021 Emerging Leader Reneiloe Seodigeng shares her story of growing up as a black woman in South Africa and finding her confidence in the latest post on the TechWomen blog. Her piece is a part of Emerging Leader Voices, a yearly blog series that invites incoming Emerging Leaders to share their perspectives and experiences with the TechWomen community.
In her post, “Journey outside the comfort zone: my pathway to growth,” Reneiloe describes the challenges she faced enrolling in a predominately white school as a young girl. Without models or mentors, Reneiloe overcame barriers to find her voice, discover her talents and understand her worth: “I found that I began to gain the confidence that I was meant to be there; maybe not to see faces that looked like me, but to be one of the faces that every black child and every girl child needs to see to know that they also have a place there,” she writes. With a master’s degree in chemical engineering and a passion for designing sustainable technology solutions in waste and sanitation, Reneiloe is determined to serve as a model for young people. She co-founded Kitso Technology Excellence Academy (KTEC), a STEM education center that offers programming in coding, robotics, entrepreneurship and more to young students in South Africa. “I got here by getting a good education,” she writes, “and the only way we can ensure our young ones have the opportunity to solve the world’s challenges is to provide them with quality education and encourage them to do their best.”
Report Date...: 9/14/20
Fellows come together in online conference to inspire girls
Fellow(s): Gisele Beatrice Sonfack, Oluremi Hamid, Saida Yusupova, Lamia Fikrat
Country: Cameroon, Morocco, Nigeria, Uzbekistan
Cohort: 2016, 2019
2016 fellow of Cameroon Gisele Beatrice Sonfack recently gathered TechWomen fellows from Morocco, Nigeria and Uzbekistan to share their stories as women in engineering and speak about ways to inspire the next generation of girls. Gisele is the founder of Women in Engineering and Technology (WENTECH), an association that organizes workshops and conferences with a mission to inspire girls interested in STEM fields.
The online conference featured Gisele as well as 2016 fellow of Nigeria and CEO of Hydren Energy Oluremi Hamid, 2016 fellow of Uzbekistan and CEO of Green Business Innovation Saida Yusupova and 2019 fellow of Morocco Lamia Fikrat, a renewable energy and environment consultant. The audience, mostly comprised of young students and their parents, learned about the gender gap in STEM fields and why women have been historically underrepresented. Each fellow described their pathway to success, sharing how they remained motivated despite being outnumbered by men in their fields. They also answered questions from the students, encouraging them to pursue their interests and passions. Despite the cancelation of WENTECH’s scheduled in-person conferences, Gisele hopes to organize and record bi-monthly virtual conferences, making them available for a wider audience of girls.
Report Date...: 9/7/20