Impact Stories from Education Diplomacy/Mentoring Policy Area
Cameroon Girls Hackathon empowers young girls to innovate
Fellow(s): Horore Bebga
Last month, 2018 fellow Horore Bebga hosted the inaugural Cameroon Girls Hackathon, a four-day program that empowered 30 girls from seven secondary schools throughout Douala to create solutions to the COVID-19 pandemic. The hackathon was organized in partnership with the U.S. Embassy in Cameroon and was hosted by the Dewey International School of Applied Sciences.
The project was a part of Likalo Education, the STEM education initiative Horore co-founded that educates young people with 21st century skills. Over the course of four days, the girls were brought through various modules including design thinking, 3D modeling, designing a chatbot and learning about mobile app development. They also had access to local and international mentors and experts in entrepreneurship and technology.
After the training, the girls were divided into six teams, working together to create solutions to help overcome the challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The girls pitched their projects at the end of the event, and three winners were chosen by a jury: an app that translates health information into local languages, an online self-screening health app and a chatbot solution that makes it easier for individuals to find employment. All three projects will receive continued support through Likalo Education in order to further develop and execute their ideas.
Report Date...: 1/11/21
Fellow’s initiative wins UN Global Climate Action Award
Fellow(s): Ryme Assaad
RISE2030, the green tech initiative co-founded by 2018 fellow Ryme Assaad, was recently named a winner of the 2020 United Nations Global Climate Action Awards. The awards recognized 13 projects that are innovating for climate action and demonstrating leadership in their countries. RISE2030 was a winner in the “Women for Results” category.
Established in 2019, RISE2030 is a community-led initiative that empowers underserved women and youth through training, education and employment opportunities. Their projects – which include solar installation, literacy training and support for women farmers – aim to create sustainable communities and contribute to Lebanon’s energy transition. Their latest project will create 500 job opportunities for people affected by the 2020 Beirut explosion. Last month, all award winners showcased in a series of special online events.
Report Date...: 1/11/21
Fellow shares career advice in Instagram Live
Fellow(s): Azhar Mambetova
This week, 2019 fellow Azhar Mambetova was interviewed by 2018 fellow Elena Chigibaeva, speaking about her career journey and sharing best practices for entering a digital career. The interview was hosted by Techaim, the TechWomen fellow-led initiative that 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.
Azhar is the managing director of digital business and distant banking services for Kompanion Bank. She is also currently pursuing an MBA at Central European University. During the interview, hosted on Techaim’s Instagram page, Azhar spoke about her role overseeing Kompanion’s digital transformation and creating digital finance services for Kyrgyzstan’s population. She also answered audience questions, giving advice on pursuing a digital profession and sharing about the lessons she has learned throughout her career.
Report Date...: 1/11/21
Four TechWomen alumnae projects win AEIF grant
Fellow(s): Dalia Shurrab, Yamama Shaka’a, Ruba Awayes, Christelle Tayou, Gisele Beatrice Sonfack
Country: Cameroon, Palestinian Territories
Cohort: 2014, 2016, 2017, 2019
Recently, it was announced that four TechWomen alumnae initiatives were named winners of the 2020 Alumni Engagement Innovation Fund. The 2020 theme of “Women, Peace, and Security” received over 300 submissions; 80 teams of exchange alumni from 67 countries were awarded funding for their community-based projects.
Through Mompreneur, 2019 fellow Dalia Shurrab will help support 60 mothers from the Gaza Strip and 30 from the West Bank to start their own online businesses. With specialized training in design and marketing, the program will empower women to monetize their skills in wood carving, embroidery, cooking and more. The project including Palestinian Territories alumnae Yamama Shaka’a (2016) and Ruba Awayes (2017), VTech Road, was recently adapted to a virtual setting due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The comprehensive online learning platform will offer courses and educational materials that support women’s political, economic and civic participation. 2014 fellow of Cameroon Christelle Tayou and her team created Protecting Internally Displaced Women from Abusive Arrests to address the needs of displaced and vulnerable women, many who lack proper documentation, through legal support and health assistance. They will also train women and girls in the monitoring and reporting of human rights violations. With Combatting Sexual Violence Against Female Students and Female Teachers in Secondary Schools in the Littoral Region of Cameroon, 2016 fellow Gisele Beatrice Sonfack will address Gender-Based Violence, targeting eight schools and working with students to raise awareness and create meaningful community impact.
Report Date...: 1/4/21
Fellow leads mentorship initiative for indigenous women
Fellow(s): Noella Nibakuze
2019 fellow Noella Nibakuze has completed leading a two-month project that mentored 10 young Rwandan women artists in sustainable architecture. Noella is a design associate at MASS Design Group, a U.S.-based architecture firm that leads purpose-driven projects, focuses on using sustainable materials and promotes local economies.
MASS recently partnered with the Soul of Nations Foundation, an organization that uplifts indigenous people through their programming centered on art, research and scholarship. The project also included the U.S. Embassy Rwanda, as well as the Institute of National Museums. Noella was appointed by MASS to lead the effort, titled “Indigenous International: Green Architecture Project,” helping mentor the 10 Rwandan women artists through job shadowing, workshops and more. The completion of the project was celebrated at a virtual event, where U.S. Ambassador to Rwanda Peter Vrooman thanked Noella for her mentorship.
Report Date...: 1/4/21
TechWomen/TechGirls Clubs host regional summits
Fellow(s): TechWomen/TechGirls Clubs
Country: Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestinian Territories, Tajikistan, Tunisia, Uzbekistan
This month, TechWomen/TechGirls Clubs held their biannual regional summits for the CSA and MENA regions, convening alumnae from both programs to share club updates, network and reignite club involvement for the coming year. TechWomen/TechGirls Clubs provide a space for career counseling, mentoring, leadership development and more. Launched in 2018, the cross-program clubs expanded from seven program countries in MENA to now include four countries in CSA.
After IIE and Legacy International shared program updates, summit participants were encouraged to provide updates about their club and activities, sharing about their progress despite a challenging year. Although the COVID-19 pandemic halted or delayed many outreach activities, workshops and initiatives, the clubs continue to organize, plan and provide mentorship opportunities to the TechGirls participants. In breakout rooms, club teams came together to discuss leadership structure, share what practices have created successful events and decide how the club will move forward in the coming year. After returning to the main room, teams shared out the highlights of their breakout room discussions. In a closing activity, TechWomen and TechGirls alumnae were prompted to type into the chat box what inspires them the most as a member of the TechGirls and TechWomen community. “We are so inspired by each of your efforts and work despite the challenging year,” said the TechGirls team.
Fellow’s organization featured by CNN Africa
Fellow(s): Lindiwe Matlali
Country: South Africa
2017 fellow Lindiwe Matlali and her organization, Africa Teen Geeks, were featured in a video profile by CNN Africa this month for their work spreading STEM education to students throughout Africa.
In the face of increasing high school dropout rates and a deficit of STEM skills within South Africa, Africa Teen Geeks, the largest computer science NGO in Africa, recently partnered with South Africa’s Department of Basic Education to introduce coding and robotics into classrooms. So far, they have translated the curriculum in the 11 official languages of South Africa. “This means that when our kids start school at six years old and can’t speak English yet, they will learn coding in their mother tongue,” said Lindiwe. Africa Teen Geeks has also partnered with UNICEF to scale their impact in developing countries.
“A girl can do whatever she wants,” said one of Africa Teen Geek’s young students featured in the profile. “If I can get to where I want to be, then I can encourage a lot of girls and make them see that they have potential.”
Report Date...: 12/28/20
Fellow mentors teams for UNDP hackathon against violence
Fellow(s): Natalya Tyudina
2018 fellow Natalya Tyudina served as a mentor for this week’s #NoViolence hackathon in Tajikistan, guiding six teams through developing innovative solutions that support the country’s most vulnerable groups. The two-day hackathon was hosted by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Tajikistan in partnership with Ilmkhon Skills Accelerator, and aimed to empower young people throughout Tajikistan to address domestic violence as well as discrimination against women with HIV/AIDS.
The hackathon’s 10 teams were led by six mentors who were experts in public health, tech, human rights and more. During her sessions, Natalya, a cloud technology developer for Ericsson, worked alongside her six teams to develop a prototype that supported vulnerable women. “I was asking them, ‘What is your project about? How do you plan to implement it? What is your six-month plan?’” said Natalya. “I wanted to navigate them by asking a lot of questions and helping them improve their solution.” At the conclusion of the event, her teams created a safe app for women that calls the police and shows the nearest women’s shelters, a chatbot that answers questions and provides information the laws surrounding domestic violence and an app that tracks HIV test results and provides HIV-related health information. Her teams won first and third place, receiving a cash prize to support implementation of their project. “Everyone should feel supported and safe, no matter of social status, gender or health conditions,” said Natalya.
Report Date...: 12/14/20
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