Impact Stories from Education Diplomacy/Mentoring Policy Area
Fellow honored at With and For Girls Awards
Fellow(s): Fellow honored at With and For Girls Awards
Recently, 2017 fellow Carolyn Seaman was recognized for her work as a leader, educator and advocate for girls’ rights. Carolyn is the founder of Girls Voices, an initiative that trains and empowers adolescent girls in human rights, STEM skills and leadership. Girls Voices has reached over 300,000 girls through their programs, and has collaborated with the UN to create policies that seek to end child marriage, violence against women and human trafficking.
The awards ceremony, held this March in London by With and For Girls, honored 25 leaders of extraordinary girl-led and girl-centered initiatives. Girls Voices was recognized for promoting a girls’ rights movement in Nigeria and mobilizing girls to learn about their rights in order to positively affect their communities and contribute to national policy.
Report Date...: 5/11/20
Fellow featured for mentoring girls in STEM
Fellow(s): Ruth Kaveke
2017 fellow Ruth Kaveke, founder of Pwani Teknowgalz, was featured in a recent article from Impacthub Media, a platform that features changemakers who are solving the challenges facing Africa and the world.
In “Shining Hope for Girls in Science & Technology,” Ruth shares her story of being raised by a single mother who pushed her to value education, as well as the challenges she faced as a woman often outnumbered by men in her school courses. Ruth also speaks about her work and impact as the founder of Pwani Teknowgalz, her organization that has empowered over 5,000 girls through STEM education. “It is hard for someone to join a career that they do not have someone to relate to,” Ruth says. “By women mentoring and being role models, I am confident more girls will pursue STEM careers.” Recently, Ruth has offered free tech skill training to the public during the COVID-19 pandemic, including a class on website-building using WordPress.com.
Report Date...: 5/4/20
TechWomen mobilize around the world in response to COVID-19
Fellow(s): Faten Khalfallah, Lindiwe Matlali, Asmara Rahat, Reshma Singh
Country: Cameroon, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Morocco, Nigeria, Pakistan, Palestinian Territories, South Africa, Tunisia, United States
Cohort: 2015, 2017, 2018, 2019
As the COVID-19 crisis unfolded, TechWomen alumnae were already thinking ahead, applying their ingenuity to innovate for change. The latest TechWomen blog features stories of our fellows and mentors who, amidst uncertainty, have gone above and beyond to serve their communities.
After reaching her goal of 3D printing 1,000 masks for hospital staff, 2015 fellow of Tunisia Faten Khalfallah has begun production of protective gowns and face shields, sewing with colorful fabric that will, in her words “spread joy.” Africa Teen Geeks, the initiative founded by 2017 fellow of South Africa Lindiwe Matlali, has launched STEM Lockdown Digital School, a comprehensive online curriculum for students throughout the African continent. As of last week, the school had reached over 53,000 students. In Pakistan, 2019 fellow Asmara Rahat designed the first of its kind SMART thermal scanning and sanitizing gate, a system that both sanitizes and takes temperature readings in order to keep quarantine centers, mosques and public spaces safe. Mentor Reshma Singh created the Emergency Community Food Pantry, organizing volunteers to deliver food and goods to vulnerable families; the pantry has served over 1,000 families and counting. TechWomen will share additional updates as our alumnae continue to innovate, lead and support their communities.
Report Date...: 4/20/2020
Fellow featured as an EdTech leader in Cameroon
Fellow(s): Angele Messa
2019 fellow of Cameroon Angele Messe was recently interviewed for Gal Talks Tech, a website that features inspiring stories from leading women in tech around the world. Angele is the founder of EduClick, an initiative that brings alternative learning solutions to refugees and internally displaced persons in Cameroon. In the feature, Angele speaks about her work as an EdTech entrepreneur and her passion for educating rural youth who don’t have access to quality education. In addition to online learning, EduClick also runs a makerspace that offers classes in 3D printing, coding, virtual gaming and more.
Working in a male-dominated field, Angele strongly believes that women can excel through mentorship and creating supportive communities: “It’s important for women in tech to have that support system which will not only positively impact their professional lives but their personal lives as well,” she says.
Report Date...: 4/20/2020
Mentors visit Pakistan to promote STEM and entrepreneurship
Fellow(s): Eileen Brewer and Cathy Simpson (Mentors)
Country: Pakistan, United States
Recently, longtime mentors Eileen Brewer and Cathy Simpson traveled to Pakistan for three weeks of activities with women, students and community organizations. Organized in partnership with the U.S. Embassy, the trip brought the mentors to universities, incubators and secondary schools throughout Lahore, Islamabad and Karachi. Both Eileen and Cathy served as Impact Coaches for Emerging Leaders from Pakistan during TechWomen 2019.
During the trip, Eileen and Cathy held multiple workshops and sessions meant to share knowledge and empower women and girls in STEM fields. At a girl’s school, they held hands-on workshops that exposed students to motherboards, geodomes and STEM games. At the National Skills University in Islamabad, Cathy held a session on 21st century job trends and Agile for success with 50 students. Eileen met with 30 startups at a local makerspace to hold a workshop on how to build successful teams and best practices for pitching. Cathy also organized the Marshmallow Challenge, an activity also used during TechWomen that encourages team problem-solving and cohesion. Eileen and Cathy had the opportunity to reunite with TechWomen fellows from multiple cohorts, including their 2019 mentees Farhat Nadeem, Asna Javed and Ayesha Kahn.
Report Date...: 4/13/20
Fellows conduct online training for remote teaching
Fellow(s): Elena Chigibaeva and Gulzire Minbaeva
This month, 2018 TechWomen fellows Elena Chigibaeva and Gulzire Minbaeva spearheaded online training sessions for educators on best practices for remote teaching. The training was launched through Techaim, an AEIF-winning mentorship program launched by TechWomen fellows from multiple cohorts.
The presentation was attended by over 60 educators from preschools, elementary schools, secondary schools and high schools, as well as professors from the universities. During the session, the fellows demonstrated how to optimize tools such as Google Classroom, Zoom, Canva and Kahoot to digitalize the learning process. Currently, the fellows are working to create a STEAM teachers club in order to share curriculum ideas. “We see ourselves as STEAM promoters in the country and aim to develop the community and STEAM development,” says Elena.
Report Date...: 4/13/20
Mentor(s): Nancy Hang (Mentor)
Mentor Type: Professional
Policy Area(s): Education Diplomacy/Mentoring
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, TechWomen Professional Mentor Nancy Hang spearheaded the creation of sfbay.help, a website that provides up-to-date community resources as well as a list of NGO’s and hospitals that need support. “The idea came from when I was picking up and delivering groceries to some of the elderly in my neighborhood, and was thinking about how to extend the reach quickly during these critical and uncertain times,” Nancy wrote in a recent LinkedIn post.
The site provides a list of hospitals in the San Francisco Bay Area, including resources they require such as N95 masks, gloves and cleaning supplies. Nancy and her co-creators published the project on GitHub, and are encouraging community members to contribute resources. Although the list was created for the Bay Area, Nancy provides instructions on how others can create similar sites specific to their areas in order to reach those most in need.
Report Date...: 3/30/20
Fellow named to the 100 Women Creating A Better Africa list
Fellow(s): Mide Ayeni
This month, 2017 fellow Mide Ayeni was recognized for her work building sustainable cities and communities on the 100 Women Creating A Better Africa list, an initiative created in commemoration of International Women’s Day. The campaign was organized by WeForGood International, a sustainable development consulting firm that focuses on fulfillment of the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the African leaders who are leading the way.
Mide is the founder of Pearl Recycling, a social enterprise that collects waste such as plastic, car tires, newspapers and other recyclables and trains youth and women to transform them into furniture and upcycled items. WeForGood recognized Mide for her efforts in addressing SDG 11, Sustainable Cities and Communities.
Recently, a Ford Foundation grant allowed Mide to expand Pearl Recycling’s programs and train 100 young women in Lagos in eco-friendly furniture making. She also plans to equip 20 Nigerian public schools with 400 ergonomic classroom chairs made from recycled materials, as well as train 800 young students on waste re-use in Lagos.
Report Date...: 3/30/20
Fellow interviewed about empowering women in aerospace
Fellow(s): Zainab Saleem
2017 fellow Zainab Saleem was recently featured in a blog post for her accomplishments in STEM and her commitment to empowering other women and girls. Zainab, an aerospace engineer, is currently working in Finland at ICEYE, a radar satellite imaging company. In the post featured on ICEYE’s blog, Zainab is interviewed about her work at ICEYE’s spacecraft engineering department, her TechWomen experience and her projects designing, developing and launching satellites.
In the interview, Zainab spoke about her efforts to combat gender disparity in STEM fields and encourage more women and girls to enter STEM. Currently, she mentors the all-women Kyrgyz Space Program, headed by 2019 fellow Kyzzhibek Batyrkanova, by delivering bi-weekly training sessions. When asked about her advice for women and girls in STEM, Zainab said, “I want to say to all the girls: please, don’t do it because you are good at it, do it because you love it. Don’t let the opinions of others and standard examinations define what you want to be in life.”
Report Date...: 3/30/20
Fellow begins 3D printing masks for Tunisian hospitals
Fellow(s): Faten Khalfallah
This week, 2015 fellow of Tunisia Faten Khalfallah began designing and 3D printing personal protective equipment for the healthcare workers in Tunisia who are caring for patients affected by COVID-19. Faten is the founder of First Skills Club, a STEM education initiative that introduces Tunisia’s youth to technologies such as mobile apps, robotics, electronics, design and 3D printing. She moved from her home to the First Skills Club headquarters alongside her family in order to make as many face shields as possible.
After preliminary trials, Faten began printing the shields; each piece takes slightly over an hour to print and five minutes to join. Already, Faten has been contacted by Yes We Breathe, an initiative that is working to create additional equipment for Tunisian hospitals, as well as local doctors requesting supplies. Each day, Faten sends the equipment she creates to a local doctor in Sfax who is distributing them to his medical staff. It is her goal to print over 1,000 pieces.
Faten has also recruited help from her First Skills Club mentees, who are all working to create mobile apps, awareness videos, and robots that can serve as resources. “It’s my duty toward my country and my community, and I’m so happy to help and inspire young generation,” says Faten. “I will not stop working.”
Report Date...: 3/23/20