Impact Stories from Education Diplomacy/Mentoring Policy Area
Emerging Leaders share challenges and triumphs in guest posts
Fellow(s): Zeinab El Sayed & Isha Sesay
Country: Egypt, Sierra Leone
As the guest blog post series Emerging Leader Voices continues, two TechWomen 2020-2021 Emerging Leaders have authored guest posts, sharing their struggles, achievements and journeys to TechWomen. In her blog post, Zeinab El Sayed of Egypt writes about her family’s support that laid the foundation for her achievements in her field. “STEM fields are always inviting women to excel,” she writes. “Whatever the challenge is; the above and more can be achieved by passion and hard work.”
In “The secret of getting ahead is getting started,” Emerging Leader Isha Sesay of Sierra Leone writes about her inspiration to enter the public health field. After seeing community members dying from vaccine-preventable diseases, Isha became determined to combat preventable diseases in Sierra Leone and beyond. Through her work in the Field Epidemiology Training Program, Isha has trained three cohorts of frontline epidemiologists, and personally mentored 15 individuals.
Report Date...: 11/2/20
Fellow brings equal access to education for Kyrgyz students
Fellow(s): Gulzire Minbaeva
During TechWomen 2018, Gulzire Minbaeva, a teacher in applied math and informatics, had the opportunity to visit Khan Academy headquarters in Mountain View. The site visit was facilitated by her TechWomen Professional Mentor Nancy Hang, who organized a meeting with Khan Academy’s international communication officer. There, Gulzire expressed interest in becoming an official language advocate for Khan Academy Kyrgyzstan. Language advocates are international volunteers who translate and localize the academy’s educational content, working with schools and community partners to further their mission of providing accessible and free education to anyone.
Gulzire maintained her connection to the academy when she returned home, and in 2019 was officially selected as a language advocate for Khan Academy Kyrgyzstan. Today, Gulzire and her team of project managers, proofreaders, methodologists and over 200 volunteers are working to empower students to reach their full potential by providing them with effective learning opportunities. Gulzire has translated and recreated 13 video lessons, organized education fundraising events and recruited regional teacher ambassadors from all regions of Kyrgyzstan. Her work and advocacy has gained attention from the media, leading to a recent interview that features her impact. “We believe that all knowledge-seeking youth of Kyrgyzstan should have access to quality and free education,” says Gulzire. “As a proud alumna of TechWomen, I can surely say that the program enhanced my understanding of how little actions can help to make a big difference in society.”
Report Date...: 10/26/20
With Prosper App fellow facilitates global mentorship
Fellow(s): Topyster Muga
2017 fellow Topyster Muga has launched a new mobile app that connects professionals seeking one-on-one mentorship to a network of mentors around the world.
“Having been a beneficiary of mentorship in my 15 year career in technology, including the TechWomen program, I thought It will be great make it easy for mentees to find mentors,” says Topy. Her solution is Prosper, a mobile app that connects individuals seeking guidance for professional growth to experienced and accomplished professionals. Once mentors and mentees are matched based on their interests and goals, they can book interactive and on-demand in-app video calls on Prosper. Anyone can sign up to mentor and be mentored, and the platform already has 89 mentors and over 500 mentees. This week, Topy learned that Prosper has been shortlisted for the 2020 CIO100 East Africa Awards, an annual summit that recognizes 100 organizations that leverage technology to create change and innovation.
Report Date...: 10/26/20
Fellow shares her story as a Muslim woman in tech
Fellow(s): Fatima Zohra Benhamida
This week, 2017 fellow Fatima Zohra Benhamida was interviewed for Tech Sisters, an online community and platform that challenges the perception of Muslim women and amplifies women in technology fields. Fatima is an assistant professor at the National School of Computer Science in Algiers, as well as a TechWomen/TechGirls Club board member, Technovation judge and Microsoft Humans of IT community ambassador. In the feature, Fatima speaks about her passion for STEM fields, the power of mentorship and how tech can become more welcoming to women and girls.
When Fatima was a computer science student, 10% of students at the university were women. “Now, I’m delighted to say that half of the students in my class are women. In the same university, we went from 10% to 50%,” she says. Fatima also shares advice for Muslim women — and all women — who are struggling to find the self-confidence to take risks: “When you believe in something hard enough, you can stick with it. You’ll fight, and fail, and rise again until you get there. You have to fight for your dreams, and I know you can do it!”
Report Date...: 10/26/20
Mentor(s): Cecile Thirion (mentor)
Company: Thirion Advisors LLC
Mentor Type: Impact, Professional
Longtime TechWomen mentor Cecile Thirion was recently interviewed in a YouTube video for Leadtail, a social media agency centered on marketing strategy and best practices. Cecile is the founder of Thirion Advisors, LLC, as well as an advisor for Qwasar, a learning platform that facilitates digital skills training programs.
In the interview, Cecile shared her expertise on global marketing, speaking about when and why companies should expand globally to increase revenue. She also spoke about mentorship, emphasizing that there are opportunities now more than ever to become a mentor. She reflected on becoming a TechWomen mentor in 2012, and how it changed her perspective on life and work: “I became a better person and a better leader in terms of developing empathy, understanding differences and bringing that back into my company. It shaped my leadership style,” she said. “Giving leads you to uncharted territories and new opportunities you wouldn’t have thought possible. And that’s the power of mentorship.”
Report Date...: 10/19/20
2020-2021 Emerging Leader of Tajikistan authors guest blog
Fellow(s): Manizha Khailobekova
TechWomen Emerging Leader Manizha Khailobekova of Tajikistan is the latest guest author on the TechWomen blog, sharing her background, passions and journey in STEM. Manizha’s post is part of the TechWomen Emerging Leader Voices series, which invites TechWomen Emerging Leaders to share their voice, perspective and experiences with the TechWomen community.
At Central Asia Institute Tajikistan, Manizha works to bring equal education access to communities throughout Central Asia. In her post, “Educate a girl and change the world,” she recounts the struggle of being a mother while remaining ambitious in pursuing her educational goals. Manizha also writes about her motivation to pursue an international exchange experience, reflecting on the opportunity to challenge her existing beliefs and exchange ideas with women around the world. “People usually avoid changes, and prefer to stay in their comfort zones,” she writes. “But I am true believer that once you get the courage and take the first step to change, your life will become much better.”
Report Date...: 10/19/20
a hands-on learning kit
Fellow(s): Aseel Honein
2013 fellow Aseel Honein has launched Architecture in a Box, a new company that provides hands-on kits teaching the principles of architecture, building and environmental sustainability to youth ages eight to 17. Aseel, an architect and university instructor, wanted to increase the visibility of the architecture field and inspire women and girls to pursue careers in a historically male-dominated space.
In Lebanon, most students are not introduced to architecture, urban planning or interior design at school, and many women trained in architecture are not actively employed as architects. “Due to many challenges, there are no opportunities for all graduates, engineers, and architects in Lebanon,” says Aseel. “Therefore, proper career orientation and design thinking tools and resources are required to create new opportunities.” Each kit provides interactive activities that teach youth about sustainable building, creative problem solving and critical thinking; Architecture in a Box will also offer complimentary workshops to schools that use the kits in their classrooms. Last year, Aseel had an opportunity to pilot her prototype boxes with 100 girls at an event run by Girls Got IT, an initiative co-founded by two Lebanese TechWomen fellows that exposes girls ages 15-17 to STEM through interactive workshops. As the company grows, Aseel hopes to create more kits that will spark creativity, create environmental awareness and help inspire youth – especially girls – to pursue a career in architecture.
Report Date...: 10/12/20
Fellow featured for initiative that brings tech training to youth
Fellow(s): Chepkemoi Magdaline
2019 fellow Chepkemoi Magdaline was featured in a Medium piece by African Innovations Liquid Telecom, an online publication that covers digital transformation on the African continent. Chepkemoi was highlighted in their 21st Century Skills (21CSkills) spotlight, a series that shines a light on innovative programs and the leaders that run them.
Chepkemoi is the founder and executive director of Eldohub, an education technology platform that brings digital skills and ICT training to young people, focusing on empowering them to solve community challenges using technology. Eldohub also supports Kenyan entrepreneurs, helping them build their businesses and expand their reach through educational resources and mentorship. Recently, Chepkemoi and Eldohub partnered with 21CSkills to create training programs in data science and artificial intelligence. In the feature, Chepkemoi explains that as Eldohub expands its programming, online learning will play a key role: “COVID-19 has made very evident the need to localize e-learning for our local context,” she says.
Report Date...: 10/12/20
Fellows hold alumnae Q&A to inspire girls in STEM
Fellow(s): Alice Tyan, Elena Chigibaeva, Mira Abdimetalieva, Kyzzhibek Batyrkanova, Aigerim Beishenbekova
Cohort: 2017, 2018, 2019
This week, TechWomen fellows collaborated to hold a virtual session themed on encouraging women and girls to pursue STEM fields. 2017 fellow Alice Tyan, 2018 fellows Elena Chigibaeva and Mira Abdimetalieva, and 2019 fellows Kyzzhibek Batyrkanova and Aigerim Beishenbekova organized the webinar in partnership with the High Technology Park of the Kyrgyz Republic as part of its ongoing series that promotes IT fields.
During the session, “Why Should Girls Consider an IT Career,” the fellows shared advice on how to succeed in tech and spoke about how to develop skills that can lead to a career in STEM. They explored the diverse careers within IT that go beyond programming: data analytics, project management, product management, Scrum, quality assurance and more. Elena also presented on the TechWomen program, speaking about the opportunities it provides to international women in STEM.
Although women’s representation in tech is growing in Kyrgyzstan, the fellows spoke about the need for gender equality, and encouraged the girls to claim their space within STEM. At the conclusion of the webinar, each fellow gave advice on why girls should consider an IT career: “It doesn’t matter what gender you are if you do your job well,” said Aigerim.
Report Date...: 10/5/20
Fellow launches virtual program for young leaders
Fellow(s): Omnia Eteyari
This week, 2013 fellow Omnia Eteyari debuted Oratoriia, an online program that educates and empowers young leaders. Omnia is the founder of Jordan-based BulbulHub Academy of Public Speaking, an academy that provides public speaking, leadership and personal development courses to youth ages 11-17.
When the COVID-19 pandemic forced Omnia to suspend BulbbulHub’s in-person activities, she wanted to continue providing value to the community and its young leaders. With all-virtual programming, Oratoriia allows young leaders to access courses in leadership, public speaking, effective communication and more. Omnia has also started an Oratoriia YouTube channel, where she will provide content for its students. Her first video shares strategies for how leaders can solve common workplace challenges.
Report Date...: 10/5/20