Impact Stories from Education Diplomacy/Mentoring Policy Area
Fellow launches coding school for local youth
Fellow(s): Natalya Tyudina
2018 fellow of Tajikistan Natalya Tyudina recently launched ilmhona, a non-profit initiative with a mission to increase digital literacy among youth in Tajikistan. The pilot project, which will begin in January, recently began accepting applications and will select 20 girls and 20 boys to begin a three-month coding curriculum. The program will include HTML and CSS training and a course on Android application development.
After successfully completing the course, students will have the opportunity to participate in a one-month internship during which they will develop projects to tackle social challenges in Tajikistan. The ilmhona team is first launching the initiative in the capital city of Dushanbe, and Natalya hopes to expand into other cities in the near future.
Report Date: 12/3/18
Fellows organize Mozilla tech event at university in Nablus
Fellow(s): Ayah Soufan, Yamama Shaka’a, Ruba Awayes
Country: Palestinian Territories
Cohort: 2015, 2016, 2017
This month, fellows of the Palestinian Territories Ayah Soufan (2015), Yamama Shaka’a (2016) and Ruba Awayes (2017) organized a tech event highlighting projects, contributions and the latest technologies from Mozilla. The fellows, all hosted by Mozilla during their TechWomen mentorships, spent the day presenting to university students and tech professionals at An-Najah National University in partnership with IEEE, the world’s largest association of technical professionals.
The day’s agenda included product demos using the Firefox Reality browser with virtual reality (VR) technology, as well as a machine learning presentation that encouraged Arabic speakers to contribute to Mozilla’s Common Voice project. Since their TechWomen experience, Ayah, Yamama and Ruba have continued to educate students and professionals on Mozilla’s technologies. Ruba, a webmaster and computer lab instructor, currently works on Mozilla’s Arabic localization team.
Report Date: 11/26/18
Fellow(s): Cynthia Leung
Country: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, United States, Uzbekistan
During her travels through Central Asia, longtime TechWomen mentor Cynthia Leung, formerly of SunPower, coordinated with fellows in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan to deliver more than 10 talks and workshops discussing mentorship, gender equality in STEM fields, sustainability and her TechWomen experiences.
In Uzbekistan, Cynthia presented on the power of mentorship, sharing best practices on how to be an effective mentor and mentee. She also visited universities and maker spaces like Curiosity Maker Space, where she hosted an interactive solar energy workshop for children. In Kazakhstan, Cynthia visited the American Corner and Maker Space and IQcoworking, teaching techniques on self-development and cultivating a culture of innovation.
“This trip was about having impact and spending time meaningfully and intentionally,” she said. In all three countries, Cynthia was hosted by TechWomen fellows, reconnecting with former mentees and meeting potential applicants for TechWomen 2019.
Report Date: 11/26/18
Fellow recognized as advocate for women in Tunisia
Fellow(s): Amel Ghouila
This month, 2014 fellow of Tunisia Amel Ghouila was recognized as a leading advocate for women by Orange, one of the world’s largest telecom operators. Their magazine, DigitAll, recognizes entrepreneurs and thinkers behind advances in education, healthcare, energy and more in Africa and the Middle East. After participating in TechWomen, Amel launched the Tunisia chapter of Technovation, the global technology entrepreneurship program for girls, and has been a regional ambassador since. In the magazine, she spoke about her work mentoring the young women: “We already see the difference between the girls when they sign up and start the programme and when they reach the end, full of enthusiasm, energy and self-confidence.” Currently, Amel is a bioinformatician at Institut Pasteur de Tunis.Read More »
Report Date: 11/12/2018
Fellow pitches tech education iniatitive at Harvard conference
Fellow(s): Afnan Ali
This week, 2011 fellow of Jordan Afnan Ali participated in a startup pitch
competition at Harvard Business School. The competition is a pillar event at the
Arab Conference at Harvard, an annual conference that brings together
students, Harvard alumni, faculty, business and societal leaders to discuss
business and economic issues in the Arab region.
Afnan, the founder of Eureka Tech Academy, was one of 10 entrepreneurs
selected to present their initiatives to a panel of judges with tech and business
backgrounds. After the pitch, participants received feedback and were able to
network with venture capitalists, angel investors and industry experts.
Eureka Tech Academy, the first of its kind in Jordan, teaches students
engineering, electronics and invention. Students participate in classroom
activities and development workshops and compete in engineering and
robotics competitions throughout the region. Through her work, Afnan hopes
to make tech education a classroom requirement in Jordan, scaling up and
making a shift in the MENA region.
Report Date: 11/5/2018
Fellow awarded grant for STEM-based education initiative
Fellow(s): Mutriba Akhmedova
Mutriba Akhmedova, 2015 fellow of Tajikistan, was awarded a U.S. Embassy Alumni Grant for her new initiative, Girls in STEM. Through digital literacy workshops, information sessions and tech bootcamps, Girls in STEM will encourage high school girls in Tajikistan to choose careers in STEM fields, hoping to reduce societal stereotypes of women in STEM along the way. “STEM is new for the people of Tajikistan, especially in schools,” Mutriba said. “The project will hopefully have a huge impact on girls.”
The Public Affairs section of the U.S. Embassy in Tajikistan administers an annual Alumni Grant Program to support alumni-initiated projects aimed at promoting community service and the dissemination of professional knowledge. Next month, Mutriba will officially launch Girls in STEM, targeting 40 girls throughout four regions of Tajikistan, providing immersive education experiences and instilling in them a passion for STEM fields.
Report Date: 10/15/2018
Fellow convenes summit in Abuja to advocate for girls’ rights
Fellow(s): Carolyn Seaman
2017 fellow of Nigeria Carolyn Seaman, founder of Girls Voices, organized the 2018 Girls Summit in Abuja last week to commemorate International Day of the Girl. The event, implemented in partnership with the Global Fund for Women, brought together government agencies, advocates, representatives of diplomatic missions and the media to advance girls’ voices and advocate for their rights and protection. Throughout the day, 126 secondary school girls addressed the summit’s attendees, speaking about child marriage, gender-based violence and girls’ lack of equal educational opportunities.
Carolyn, referencing Nigeria’s rank of 122 out of 144 in the 2017 Global Gender Gap Report, aimed to secure commitments from stakeholders in order to protect girls’ rights and security. By the end of the day, stakeholders drafted a statement committing themselves to increase outreach, support engaging initiatives and mobilize to protect girls’ rights. As one young participant said in her remarks to the audience, “We want the chance to be leaders of today… tomorrow is too far.”
Report Date: 10/15/2018
Fellow named to 30 under 30 list by Forbes Africa
Fellow(s): Arielle Kitio
Arielle Kitio, 2016 fellow of Cameroon, was recently named 30 under 30 for Forbes Africa (website in French). Arielle was recognized for her work as the founder of CAYSTI, an initiative that supports and educates students through after-school STEM programs, a youth tech lab and a business incubator aimed at improving the gender balance in tech. “Our vison at CAYSTI is to create an egalitarian ecosystem where every youth from [least developed countries], regardless of sex, language or social level have equal access to meaningful STEM learning experiences,” she said. “Our programs and tools are designed to create the next generation of leaders with technology as an equalizer and empowerment tool.”
In addition to her work with CAYSTI, Arielle is a Technovation mentor as well as a Next Einstein Ambassador, representing Cameroon at Next Einstein Forum programs and sharing her work and publications on their platforms.
Report Date: 10/8/2018
Fellow secures funding for STEM education initiative with support from TechWomen mentors
Fellow(s): Chioma Ezedi
Country: Nigeria, United States
Chioma Ezedi, 2016 fellow of Nigeria, recently received U.S. State Department funding for STEMTeers, her initiative that provides STEM-based educational programming to students in Nigeria. Chioma, while participating in TechWomen’s 2018 delegation trip to Nigeria, shared the difficulties she was facing as she searched for funding to continue STEMTeers activities.
During the delegation, she connected with Impact Coach Jessica Dickinson Goodman for support, who along with TechWomen Professional Mentor Larissa Shapiro reviewed Chioma’s grant application, providing valuable input on how to better position STEMTeers. “Jessica showed me how I can make the application more exciting, clear and focused,” said Chioma.
Building on the success of sessions they led during the delegation trip, Jessica and Larissa also recently facilitated an enrichment webinar for fellows, “Finding Funding for Social Impact Projects,” and Jessica has compiled and shared a database of more than 2,000 grants available in TechWomen program countries.
In addition to founding STEMTeers, Chioma is a software programmer at Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University in Nigeria. Jessica is currently an Impact Coach for Emerging Leaders from the Palestinian Territories, supporting them in the development of their action plan, and Larissa is a Professional Mentor at Mozilla.
Report Date: 10/1/18
Team Tunisia wins four awards at FIRST Global Challenge 2018
Fellow(s): Faten Khalfallah
2015 fellow of Tunisia Faten Khalfallah led a group of students to victory at the 2018 FIRST Global Challenge in Mexico City. The annual robotics competition, which centers on 14 Grand Challenges for improving life on the planet as identified by the U.S National Academy of Engineering, brings together 192 countries in a three-day Olympics-style robotics competition. Team Tunisia, comprised of local youth mentored by Faten, won two gold medals: the Dr. Mae Jemison Award for International Unity, awarded to teams that break down barriers and build bridges, and the Munsa Mousa award for fundraising. They also won the Social Media Award, and Faten was presented the Outstanding Mentor Award for her exceptional leadership.
While in the TechWomen program, Faten was hosted at Autodesk, learning more about 3D design software. After returning home, she organized a summer tech camp to bring students together for five days of immersive STEM experiences and was selected as a 2016 Generation Change Fellow from the United States Institute of Peace. Currently, she is a regional project coordinator and ambassador of the VEX Girl-Powered Initiative at VEX Robotics.
Report Date: 8/27/2018