Impact Stories from Education Diplomacy/Mentoring Policy Area
Fellows serve as judges for Hult Prize finals
Fellow(s): Asna Javed and Ayesha Mumtaz Khan
This week, 2019 fellows Asna Javed and Ayesha Mumtaz Khan served as judges for the Hult Prize final event at Lahore Garrison University in Lahore, Pakistan. With programs in six continents, the Hult Prize is a startup accelerator that empowers social entrepreneurs at colleges and universities to solve the world’s most pressing issues. Each year the Hult Prize awards the final winning student team with one million dollars in seed capital.
Ayesha also served as a mentor at the semi-final round of the competition. For this week’s final regional round, Asna and Ayesha, alongside another female judge, heard five student teams present their ideas on this year’s theme, Food for Good. The pitches included solutions that address food waste, recycling, empowering local vendors and more. “I focused on wow factor, sustainability and diversity of teams,” says Asna. “The TechWomen program taught me how to think logically and critically. My learning helped me a lot in yesterday’s judging.”
Report Date...: 12/7/20
Fellow wins silver at international education awards
Fellow(s): Chao Mbogo
KamiLimu, the mentorship non-profit founded by 2017 fellow Chao Mbogo, was named a Silver Winner for the Nurturing Employability Award at the 2020 Reimagine Education Awards and Conference. Known as the “Oscars for education,” the yearly awards recognize and reward innovative initiatives that enhance student education and employability. This year, over 2,000 people attended the virtual awards ceremony.
KamiLimu is a free eight-month structured mentorship program for computer science college students in Kenya. Now on their fifth cohort, KamiLimu has worked with 170 students from 19 universities and multiple community partners that enhance the students’ learning experience. The program also ensures that each cohort has 50% female students. “My heart is full,” said Chao after the win. “Today goes down in history as one of the most important days in mine and KamiLimu’s life.”
Report Date...: 12/7/20
Fellows and mentors team up for women in tech panel
Fellow(s): Chepkemoi Magdaline, Josephine Ndambuki, Ruth Kaveke, Maya Bisineer (mentor) and Jennifer Martin (mentor)
Country: Kenya, United States
Cohort: 2013, 2017, 2019
2019 fellow of Kenya Chepkemoi Magdaline recently convened a group of TechWomen mentors and fellows for a discussion on the future of work and how women can advance in the tech industry. Chepkemoi, the moderator, was joined by fellows of Kenya Josephine Ndambuki (2013) and Ruth Kaveke (2017) as well as mentors Maya Bisineer of GoDaddy and Jennifer Martin of Verizon. The panel was hosted by EldoHub, Chepkemoi’s Ed-Tech platform, and the Countrywide Innovations Hub as part of Lake Basin Innovation and Investment Week, an annual gathering for innovators and entrepreneurs in Kenya.
During their group discussion, the mentors and fellows discussed the global gender gap in technology as well as the challenges they’ve faced as women in their industries. “Every time I meet women from across the world, we have such unique stories,” said Maya. “What brings us together is a fascination for technology and the perseverance to keep going and find people who are going through something similar.” The mentors and fellows also discussed how they often had no blueprint in their career journeys, and were instead tasked with paving the way themselves. Josephine, who manages economic development and partnerships for Konza Technolopolis as well as Ruth, the founder and executive director of Pwani Teknowgalz, spoke about their TechWomen experience and how their mentors played prominent role in shaping their careers and supporting them in scaling their businesses. At the conclusion of the event, Ruth gave advice to the young women watching: “Reach out, ask for help and find the right people that will always support you,” she said.
Report Date...: 11/30/20
Mentor(s): Reshma Singh
Company: Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Mentor Type: Professional
This month, Professional Mentor Reshma Singh served as a “Dream Speaker,” speaking to students at Grovetown Middle School in Georgia about her career in architecture and renewable energy. Reshma’s talk was facilitated by DreamWakers, a Washington, DC-based non-profit that virtually connects classrooms to career role models.
Reshma, a program director at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, spoke about growing up in a remote region of India and how her father influenced her to make a difference in the world. She also explained her work in renewable energy, sharing with the students why mindful energy use is important for the health of the planet. After she was asked what skills students should develop, Reshma spoke about the importance of curiosity, reading from diverse sources and developing arithmetic skills to use data to tell their stories. “It was such a refreshing experience hearing from the bright young minds, and I left with such a feeling of wonderment and optimism after my time with them,” Reshma said.
Report Date...: 11/23/20
With T.I.M.E for Women fellows inspire a new generation
Fellow(s): Mutriba Akhmedova, Anzurat Kosimova
Cohort: 2015, 2016
Fellows Mutriba Akhmedova (2015) and Anzurat Kosimova (2016) have launched T.I.M.E for Women, a project that works with women and girls to expand their IT knowledge and skills. T.I.M.E – which stands for Technology, Innovation, Management and Entrepreneurship – is a new venture of SheCanDoIT, the fellows’ initiative that was recently named a grantee of the 2020 Democracy Commission Small Grants Program from the U.S. Embassy in Tajikistan. The program focuses on initiatives centered on social empowerment, entrepreneurship and skills development.
Through SheCanDoIT, the fellows will encourage and inspire girls to enter the IT field. “Our name contains our main goal,” says Mutriba. “Women can do everything and be successful in IT.” The T.I.M.E for Women platform launched in October, and will soon offer women and girls training in both technical and soft skills: app development, cybersecurity, IoT, leadership, communication and more. They will also offer professional advice that will prepare Tajik women for the TechWomen application and other exchange program opportunities. Already, the platform features videos from three fellows – Mahina Usmonova (2016), Natalya Tyudina (2018) and Zevar Davlatmamadova (2018) – who offer motivational speeches on their journeys in IT. “TechWomen connected us, but we are also connected by our common goals and mission,” says Mutriba. “We want to change the views of our society. We want to bring IT and innovative ideas to our country. Together, we can achieve more. And as TechWomen says, we are empowered to empower.”
Report Date...: 11/16/20
Fellows collaborate for Facebook Live event
Fellow(s): Racha Bia and Sabine Kai
Country: Algeria, Lebanon
Last year, 2014 fellow of Algeria Racha Bia founded TecHealth Voice, an online platform that shares YouTube videos, podcasts and Facebook Live interviews themed on health, science and amplifying women in tech in Algeria and beyond. In addition to running TecHealth Voice, Racha is a regional ambassador for Technovation Algeria, working with girls to create innovative tech solutions to real-world problems.
This week, Racha launched Tuesday live talks on TecHealth’s Facebook page, a weekly series aimed at empowering diverse voices in tech. Her first guest was 2014 fellow of Lebanon Sabine Kai, the founder and managing director of Kids Genius, a STEM-based initiative that spreads maker culture to young students through hands-on activities and courses in their maker hubs throughout Lebanon. In the live event, Sabine shared her journey in entrepreneurship and experiences as a woman engineer, speaking about how her curiosity for STEM as a young child developed into a country-wide business that spreads maker culture to kids. During their talk, Sabine said that her workshops go beyond teaching students hands-on skills – they also empower them with confidence and problem-solving abilities. “It’s not only about teaching kids technology,” said Sabine. “To me, we’re building the personality of a maker, someone who doesn’t wait for someone to bring the solution for them. They start by building it from scratch.”
Report Date...: 11/9/20
Fellow featured as African Union changemaker
Fellow(s): Angele Messa
This week, 2019 fellow Angele Messe and her organization, EduClick, were featured for Africa Youth Month 2020. The month-long campaign is sponsored by the African Union, a continental body that promotes unity, solidarity and building a more prosperous and peaceful Africa.
The African Union’s One Million by 2021 Initiative aims to create one million opportunities for young people through jobs, engagement and entrepreneurship. For the month of November, One Million by 2021’s African Youth Month is amplifying voices in Africa that work towards educating and empowering young people. As founder of EduClick, Angele brings innovative alternative learning solutions to underserved and displaced communities in Cameroon. Through an SMS learning system integrated into EduClick’s platform, school children can access lessons and exams without the need for an internet connection.
Report Date...: 11/9/20
Mentor(s): Samantha Raniere (mentor)
Company: Raniere Consulting
Mentor Type: Impact
This month, TechWomen Impact Coach Samantha Raniere was invited by the Society of Petroleum Engineers International to speak about discovering, enhancing and harnessing strengths for success. Samantha is the president of Raniere Consulting, working with organizations and leaders on strength-building, team effectiveness and change management.
In her keynote session, Samantha spoke to the society’s Young Professionals, explaining that a comprehensive understanding of your strengths allows you to be more adaptive, more collaborative and more successful in an interview setting. Sam, a Gallup Certified Strengths Coach, has contributed to TechWomen’s Leadership Workshop during the U.S. program, helping Emerging Leaders better understand their strengths in order to maximize individual and group success.
Report Date...: 11/9/20
Mentor(s): Jeannice Samani (mentor)
Mentor Type: Professional
TechWomen mentor Jeannice Samani helped kick-off the TechWomen virtual fall program by serving as a Facilitator for a Professional Interest Group, taking a group of Emerging Leaders through five weeks of modules that explored women in leadership, impact models for change, design thinking and more. In addition to working as senior director of information technology and systems engineering at Nextogen, Jeannice founded Global Tea Party, an online global gathering featuring leaders who share their journeys and expertise.
As the Professional Interest Groups reached their conclusion, Jeannice invited her Emerging Leaders to join a Global Tea Party event to share their experiences as international women leaders. Emerging Leaders Amanda Calitz of South Africa, Imane Berchane of Morocco, Flora Asibe of Nigeria and Manizha Khailobekova from Tajikistan were featured at the online gathering, together discussing global diversity, equity and inclusion. Amanda spoke about how growing up in South Africa helped her to become a bridge-builder, saying “We need to understand each other’s background and give everyone a chance to be the best they can be.” Flora discussed how leaders are made and not born, stressing that successful leadership demands hard work, patience and empathy. “We worked, laughed, and share together,” says Jeannice. “I am looking forward to our friendship and mentorship growing. It is an honor.”
Report Date...: 11/10/20
Fellow featured as founder of Girls Fly Programme Africa
Fellow(s): Refilwe Ledwaba
Country: South Africa
2019 fellow Refilwe Ledwaba was highlighted in Nsesa Foundation’s STEM Wow series, featured for her work as a social entrepreneur, founder and South Africa’s first black female helicopter pilot.
As founder of Girls Fly Programme Africa, Refilwe works to educate girls about aviation and aerospace. Their programs include a yearly aviation and space camp as well as a mentorship and scholarship program. In her Stem Wow feature, Refilwe speaks about growing up surrounded by strong female role models and learning the importance of women supporting other women. Although she originally hoped to become a doctor, Refilwe went on to break barriers in aviation, receive the Amelia Earhart Memorial scholarship and most recently was chosen as an Obama Foundation leader. Refilwe also spoke about the challenges and stereotypes she faced on her journey to achieving her goals, emphasizing the importance of perseverance: “I always say fight with your books and let your work speak for you,” she says.
Report Date...: 11/2/20