Impact Stories from Education Diplomacy/Mentoring Policy Area
2013 seed grant winners hold 6th annual STEM expo
Fellow(s): Sandra Tererai, Nomso Kana, Chioniso Dube-Hachigonta
Country: South Africa
This month, 2013 fellows of South Africa Sandra Tererai, Nomso Kana and Chioniso Dube-Hachigonta held a one-week STEM expo for 30 students representing South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Eswatini. Taungana, a TechWomen 2013 seed grant-winning initiative, holds the annual event to connect rural girls to women mentors, educational resources and leading professionals in STEM fields.
Throughout the week, the students (called Ambassadors) were immersed in multiple STEM industries, visiting local universities, science museums, tech companies and a local power utility. During their day trips, the students received hands-on lessons on nuclear fission, cryptocurrency, aviation, coding, health sciences and the electricity generation process. During a visit to Uber, the Ambassadors got a behind-the-scenes look at the local Greenlight Hub, followed by a session on design thinking. The week also included a pitch night where Ambassadors pitched 90-second scientific solutions to social challenges.
Report Date...: 9/23/19
Fellow speaks at youth STEM training event
Fellow(s): Salma Bekkouche
Last month, 2018 fellow Salma Bekkouche was a judge and speaker at a STEM training for youth in Setif, Algeria. The program host, STEPS, is an initiative that offers hands-on STEM activities for young people ages 10-18 that allow them to problem-solve and innovate.
The three-day training was themed on using technology to solve environmental challenges. Each team applied their training to create social enterprises, receiving feedback from Salma and a panel of judges at the concluding event. Salma also presented to the group, sharing five tips on how to build a successful career. “If you love it, do it,” she said. “If you don’t love it, don’t do it. If you don’t know it, try it.”
Report Date...: 9/23/19
Fellow mentors Kyrgyzstan’s first all-women space program
Fellow(s): Zainab Saleem, Kyzzhibek Batyrkanova, Ainura Sagyn
Country: Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan
2017 fellow of Pakistan Zainab Saleem is mentoring members of the Kyrgyz Space Program, an all-women team that is building and launching Kyrgyzstan’s first satellite by 2020. The women, many of whom are not trained in STEM fields, meet with Zainab bi-weekly to gain skills in robotics, engineering and satellite technology. The core team, comprised of women ages 18-24, includes 2019 TechWomen Emerging Leader Kyzzhibek Batyrkanova.
Zainab holds a master’s degree in aerospace and aeronautical engineering and is currently working on groundbreaking SAR satellite technology at Finland’s ICEYE as an attitude and orbit control system engineer. She was introduced to the Kyrgyz team by 2017 fellow of Kyrgyzstan Ainura Sagyn after both fellows participated in TechWomen’s delegation trip to Uzbekistan.
After noticing that the space program’s nanosatellite was too far off from its target, Zainab began by dividing the women into teams – a mechanical team, an electronics team and an engineering team – and began developing a curriculum that would help the women reach their goal. “Zainab has greatly impacted our program,” says 2019 Emerging Leader Kyzzhibek. “We started with basics, like making a robot that could wipe the floor. That was fun. Now we’ll proceed with the basics of the cube satellite technology next month.”
Report Date...: 9/16/19
Fellow completes 2019 STEM training for youth in Cameroon
Fellow(s): Mpara Faith
Recently, 2017 fellow Mpara Faith concluded the 2019 program for ICT4KIDS, her training initiative that educates and empowers youth in Cameroon. Launched in 2018, ICT4KIDS brings STEM education and community development skills to children ages five to 18.
This year, Mpara was able to expand the program and offer two five-week sessions for participants, each attended by students from different regions and schools throughout Cameroon. Through lessons and lectures, team building exercises and pitch training, the sessions explored game development, graphic design, leadership and critical thinking. In the first session, the students developed their own games using Scratch technology, culminating in a game development competition with prizes for winning teams.
The program’s second session invited participants from ICT4KIDS’ inaugural training in 2018, and included additional lessons on Python programming, electronics, pitching and project implementation. The students had an opportunity to meet with Buea’s local Facebook Developers Circle, asking engineers and programmers questions about their careers. The five weeks concluded with students pitching an impact project that addressed an issue in their community. In one presentation, a student presented on bribery, outlining its causes, effects and her solutions to address it through education and advocacy.
Report Date...: 9/9/19
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 named Next Einstein Forum Fellow
Fellow(s): Fanelwa Ajayi
Country: South Africa
This month, it was announced that 2017 fellow Fanelwa Ajayi is one of 25 scientists named a Next Einstein Forum (NEF) Fellow for their 2019-2021 class.
Through its programs, NEF seeks to connect science, society and policy in Africa and the rest of the world. NEF Ambassadors are young science and technology champions who are selected to lead public engagement activities and partner with established mentors and researchers to advance their own careers in STEM. Fellows are selected by an international committee of scientists, and are required to demonstrate how their work is contributing to solving Africa’s leading challenges.
Fanelwa is a research leader and senior lecturer at the University of the Western Cape, as well as the founder of AmaQawe ngeMfundo, an initiative that brings hands-on STEM learning and experiments to local schools.
Report Date...: 8/26/19
2018 seed grant winners implement community initiatives
Fellow(s): 2018 Seed grant-winning teams
Country: Kazakhstan, Lebanon, Nigeria, Rwanda, Zimbabwe
TechWomen 2018 seed grant-winning teams from Rwanda, Lebanon, Zimbabwe, Kazakhstan and Nigeria have begun implementation of their impact projects that address leading challenges in their communities. Each team has written a guest post on the TechWomen blog that highlights their mission, progress and future goals.
Since TechWomen 2018, Rwandan team Healing Together has collaborated with community partners to train counselors on supporting women survivors of the Genocide against the Tutsi. In Lebanon, My ioLab is educating and empowering youth to scale up their IoT knowledge while addressing real-world issues. At hands-on workshops in Lebanon, Berlin, Singapore and Uzbekistan, the fellows have taught youth to address environmental issues in their community through innovative technology.
Through their initiative Vheneka/Khanyisa, fellows of Zimbabwe have traveled to schools, rural farming communities and prisons to train 525 women and girls on making reusable sanitary pads using sustainable materials. In Kazakhstan, the interactive website Uki.kz provides a safe space for domestic violence victims to gather resources and connect to professionals. Team Nigeria’s initiative, MAAMI, is addressing the maternal mortality rate by providing mobile education that connects women to safe and reliable healthcare. The fellows have a goal of onboarding 500 women, and have already registered 300 women to receive mobile health updates.
Report Date...: 8/12/19
Mentor(s): Anar Simpson
Mentor Type: Impact
This week, TechWomen Impact Coach and strategic partnership advisor Anar Simpson was featured in MentorTalks, a new series from International Exchange Alumni. With the aim of connecting exchange program alumni with experts in their fields, MentorTalks features live interactive conversations and Q&A’s with viewers around the world.
In the Facebook Live event, Anar spoke about empowering women in tech as a TechWomen mentor, Technovation regional ambassador and member of the UN Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel on Women’s Economic Empowerment. She encouraged women and girls to expand their knowledge of the tech landscape, emphasizing the importance of networking in finding new passions and new career opportunities. When a young viewer asked about entering STEM fields, Anar spoke about how programs like TechWomen and Technovation empower women and girls to create impact in their home countries. “It’s not always easy, but it’s getting better,” said Anar. “It’s young people like you that have solutions that can change the world of tomorrow.”
Report Date...: 8/5/19
Fellow hosts coding bootcamp and hackathon for girls
Fellow(s): Carolyn Seaman
This month, 2017 fellow Carolyn Seaman hosted Tech Tackle, a coding boot camp and hackathon for 45 adolescent girls representing 10 public schools throughout Nigeria.
The inaugural program, held in collaboration with the United Nations Office for Drugs and Crime, began with a three-week intensive coding bootcamp hosted by Carolyn’s organization, Girls Voices. With hands-on training and one-on-one mentoring, the girls designed innovative tech solutions for critical social issues in their country. Through lessons on design thinking, coding and research, the teams addressed challenges such as human trafficking, crime prevention and corruption, with a particular focus on how these issues affect young girls in Nigeria.
The training culminated in a pitch competition, where the teams presented their solutions to a panel of judges. Their ideas included a website that addresses gender-based violence, an app with voice recognition that can sense distress and send help and camera technology that can work to deter child traffickers. The top five teams are currently participating in a five-week Python training, and select teams will travel to the U.S. to represent Nigeria at a global hackathon at Google in Silicon Valley.
Report Date...: 7/29/19
Fellow launches initiative for women entrepreneurs
Fellow(s): Crescence Elodie
This month, 2018 fellow Crescence Elodie launched WETECH, an organization dedicated to supporting African girls and women in the fields of entrepreneurship and technology. Through leadership programs, digital entrepreneurship bootcamps and capacity-building trainings, Crescence hopes that WETECH will become the leading platform in West and Central Africa that empowers women in technology.
“I decided to launch this initiative with the aim of supporting women,” says Crescence. “We are passionate about giving them equal chances in leadership positions and economic inclusion.” Already, WETECH has hosted a networking event for women in technology, and co-organized a women’s workshop on Boost with Facebook, a training session that showed women how to optimize Facebook, WhatsApp Business and Instagram for their businesses.
Report Date...: 7/19/19