Impact Stories from Education Diplomacy/Mentoring Policy Area
Fellow launches Inn2preneur-- a platform to inspire innovation
Fellow(s): Ala’a Agha Karss
2017 fellow Ala’a Agha Karss launched a new platform to empower youth and women on their entrepreneurial journeys, sharing best practices for those interested in business, coding and more. On the YouTube channel, Inn2preneur, Ala’a shares tips and advice for people at all levels of entrepreneurship, offering actionable steps that encourage creativity, confidence and innovation.
Ala’a is the founder and CTO of Superiors TechHub, and trains women and youth in coding, mobile app development and more. The Inn2preneur videos share content on how to become a developer, an intro to programming, non-programming jobs in the IT sector and more.
Report Date...: 8/23/21
Fellows hold summer camp for over 100 students
Fellow(s): Damilola Asaleye, Ehi Aigiomawu, Flora Asibe, Happy Amos, Olayinka Fagbemiro and Oluwatoyin Adegoke
This week, 2020-2021 fellows Damilola Asaleye, Ehi Aigiomawu, Flora Asibe, Happy Amos, Olayinka Fagbemiro and Oluwatoyin Adegoke successfully hosted a five day summer camp for children in partnership with the Girls and Women Technological Empowerment Organisation (GWTEO). The EduChamps summer camp is part of the 2020-2021 Nigerian fellows’ action plan project created during the TechWomen program to reduce the number of out-of-school children in Nigeria.
The camp was attended by over 100 secondary school students, most of whom were girls. Over five days, the students were placed into break out sessions where each group discussed leadership, efficiency, upcycling, solar energy and sustainability. They also received training on various topics including entrepreneurship, financial literacy, renewable energy, team building, sustainable agriculture and more. In addition to workshops and training, the students heard inspiring keynotes from women in STEM who encouraged them to be ambitious, dream big and believe they can be world leaders.
The goal of the camp was to provide an opportunity for students to network, learn leadership and technical skills and visit educational institutions during the summer break. “Through this program, we believe that these kids are better prepared and inspired to return to school having the right mindset on the importance of education and are empowered with the resources to enable them remain in school,” Flora said. Next, the fellows will continue to work with partners to further prepare the students for the upcoming fall school term.
Report Date...: 8/16/21
Fellows serve as TechGirls Pitch and Project Mentors
Fellow(s): CSA and MENA fellows
Recently, a TechWomen-TechGirls Summit was held where over 100 TechGirls participants from 12 countries presented their pitches on community-based project initiatives to address issues with the environment, education systems, the gender gap, technology disparities, mental health and more. Select TechWomen fellows served as mentors to TechGirls participants, assisting them from the beginning of the process with solution ideation all the way to this pitch summit. Despite their young age, both the fellows and session facilitators were impressed by the TechGirls participants’ commitment to achieve their project despite the constraints due to the ongoing pandemic. They noted the girls’ outstanding professionalism that allowed for feedback on each project to be shared effectively and for concrete next steps to be planned all while making meaningful connections with one another. “This TechWomen-TechGirls Summit is the perfect moment to understand the impact of bringing women and girls from different countries, sectors and backgrounds,” said Salma Gherraby, 2019 fellow and project mentor for TechGirls Morocco. “While discussing issues around the world, they all show the importance of STEM to resolve those problems.”
Report Date...: 8/16/21
Fellow holds Women in Tech Summit with alumnae support
Fellow(s): Sabina Nforba, Janet Fofang, Sophie Ngassa, Dr. Ngwashi Christabel and Enyong-Eta Grateful
Cohort: 2013, 2014, 2020-2021
Last month, 2020-2021 fellow Sabina Nforba held the inaugural Women in Tech Summit, collaborating with TechWomen alumnae to share best practices on empowering women in STEM fields. The summit was hosted by AfriTech Hub, the organization Sabina co-founded that empowers young students to pursue STEM education and STEM careers.
The summit convened over 100 women in technology in Cameroon for a day of networking and knowledge-sharing. Fellows Janet Fofang (2013), Sophie Ngassa (2014), Dr. Ngwashi Christabel (2020-2021) and Enyong-Eta Grateful (2020-2021) joined as featured speakers, presenting on the importance of women in leadership, Cameroon’s digital transformation and more. Enyong-Eta facilitated a workshop called Brand-Up, drawing inspiration from Rock Your LinkedIn Profile, a TechWomen 2020-2021 event. There, she encouraged participants to optimize their profiles in order to self-promote and attract opportunities.
Since the summit, Sabina and her team have created Slack channels to facilitate conversation, mentorship and collaboration among attendees and speakers. “The summit overall was a huge success,” she said. “The turnout was not only beyond expectation but the speakers were very transparent about their experiences — a quality that is not very common.” Next, AfriTech Hub will organize a coding bootcamp for women with no previous experience to support them in transitioning to tech careers.
Report Date...: 8/9/21
Fellow named sustainability ambassador by Egypt government
Fellow(s): Ghada Amin
2018 fellow Ghada Amin was named an ambassador of sustainable development by Egypt’s Ministry of Planning and Economic Development, an initiative that seeks to build capacity around environmental sustainability through training and partnerships with universities, NGO’s and the private sector. Ghada is part of a small group of ambassadors chosen out of over 7,000 candidates. Ghada, a researcher and engineer in the field of sustainable development, will soon enter certification training in order to learn more about sustainable development, the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Egypt’s sustainability priorities. After, Ghada will begin working with schools and youth for training on the UN SDGs, educating them in order to help create a culture of sustainability. Previously, Ghada attended the UN International Day of Women and Girls in Science Assembly in New York, sharing best practices on advancing women and girls in science.Read More »
Report Date...: 8/9/21
Alumnae work together for new sustainability initiative
Fellow(s): Elena Selezneva, Saida Yusupova, Erin Keeley, Gisele Beatrice Sonfack
Country: Cameroon, United States, Uzbekistan
2016 fellows of Uzbekistan Elena Selezneva and Saida Yusupova collaborated with 2016 fellow of Cameroon Gisele Beatrice Sonfack and mentor Erin Keeley to deliver workshops on mentorship and best practices for mentoring women in technology. The workshops were organized by Tech4Impact, the initiative Elena and Saida founded that nurtures IT, innovation, green tech and women’s entrepreneurship in Uzbekistan and Central Asia. They recently launched their latest project, Accelerating Women’s Climate Change Tech Startups in Uzbekistan, with funding from the United Nations Democracy Fund. The two-year project will train and support women in the Karakalpakstan region of Uzbekistan, helping them establish businesses and initiatives that address the social and economic effects of climate change. The program includes a six-month accelerator program that will establish a culture of mentorship in the region and connect women-led startups to investors.
Elena and Saida recruited Erin and Gisele to deliver workshops for Tech4Impact’s trainers, sharing best practices in mentorship and how mentors can support and guide mentees. Erin, the global director of engineering at Hitachi GST, also spoke about the green tech ecosystem in Silicon Valley, sharing various initiatives that aim to combat the climate crisis. Gisele, a current Schlumberger Foundation Faculty for the Future fellow, spoke about setting SMART Goals, mentoring techniques and the importance of mentoring women in STEM fields. “We are very thankful to TechWomen community for connecting us all and supporting us for all these years,” said Elena.
Report Date...: 8/2/21
Fellows featured in ShareAmerica article
Fellow(s): Nisreen Deeb, Faten Khalfallah Hammouda
Country: Jordan, Tunisia
Cohort: 2013, 2015
2013 fellow of Jordan Nisreen Deeb and 2015 fellow of Tunisia Faten Khalfallah Hammouda were featured in an article this month from ShareAmerica, a platform of the U.S. Department of State that shares stories of innovation, education, the role of civil society and more. Nisreen is a computer scientist, founder of Girls Got IT and the director of the Lebanese League for Women in Business. 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. The article highlights both the TechWomen and the TechGirls programs, outlining Nisreen and Faten’s TechWomen journeys and the program’s influence on their leadership skills and dedication to investing in the next generation of women in STEM fields. “I love mentoring girls and guiding them to be future female leaders,” said Faten. Both Nisreen and Faten have been involved with TechGirls: Nisreen collaborated with TechGirls alumnae for a Girls Got IT event, and Faten was selected as a flight chaperone for Tunisian TechGirls participants.Read More »
Report Date...: 8/2/21
Mentor(s): Jill Finlayson (mentor)
Company: Expanding Diversity and Gender Equity in Tech (EDGE) at the University of California
Mentor Type: Impact
Mentor Jill Finlayson recently moderated a conversation on diversity, equity and inclusion, speaking with the head of DEI at Siemens, USA. Jill is the director of Expanding Diversity and Gender Equity in Tech (EDGE) at the University of California, and has been moderating a regular speaker series that spotlights corporate leaders making a difference in the DEI space. In her most recent conversation with Nichelle Grant, Jill and her co-moderator explore Siemens’ successes and strategies in order to encourage other leaders and companies to create a more equitable workplace for all. Nichelle emphasized that values around DEI must become a part of the fabric of a company: “Our mandate is that the DEI spans across all the nooks and crannies of the organization,” she said. “It’s how we do business.” Jill also spoke about the power of allyship, sharing that it is everyone’s responsibility to contribute to an equitable workplace: “Just like how microaggressions make people want to leave, microaffirmations make people want to stay,” she said.Read More »
Report Date...: 8/2/21
TechWomen alumnae celebrate International Day of Friendship
Fellow(s): Salma Bekkouche, Fatima Zohra Benhamida, Edith Mugehu, Flora Asibe, Laura Messerschmitt, Noha Elkattan
Country: Algeria, Egypt, Nigeria, United States, Zimbabwe
July 30 is the United Nations International Day of Friendship, a day that recognizes the power of establishing strong ties, building bridges and working together for positive change. Proclaimed an official day in 2011, the International Day of Friendship acknowledges that unity and cross-cultural understanding are essential to peace-building. In celebration, the TechWomen blog features three stories of friendship, mentorship and collaboration from the TechWomen fellows and mentors themselves. The stories – from Algeria, Egypt, Nigeria, the United States and Zimbabwe – show the power of friendship and support, and the impact created when extraordinary women unite.
2018 fellow of Algeria Salma Bekkouche writes about her friend and mentor, 2017 fellow Fatima Zohra Benhamida, sharing how Fatima supported her through her studies, encouraged her to apply for TechWomen and mentored her through some of her greatest challenges. 2018 fellow of Zimbabwe Edith Mugehu and 2020-2021 fellow of Nigeria Flora Asibe share how they met in Kenya, beginning not only a treasured friendship, but also professional collaboration, leading them to co-author two papers on plant biotechnology and pathology. Professional Mentor Laura Messerschmitt and 2017 fellow of Egypt Noha Elkattan conclude with their story of mentorship and connection: “Throughout the TechWomen program, I have always felt like we were one family, accepting each other, embracing our differences, and sharing our culture,” Noha writes. “When differences melt and fade away, we become stronger and we lift each other up. Life is a big network that, if fed with love and respect, will become stronger and enlighten the whole world.”
Report Date...: 7/26/21
Fellow delivers guest lecture on women in technology fields
Fellow(s): Sebay Koroma
Country: Sierra Leone
This week, 2018 fellow Sebay Koroma delivered a guest lecture to students at the Canadian College of Modern Technology in Mafunde, Sierra Leone. Sebay works as a petroleum engineer for the Sierra Leone Petroleum Directorate in addition to serving as a Next Einstein Forum ambassador. Her lecture, themed on women’s participation in technology, outlined the “stereotype threat” – a phenomenon where people conform to stereotypes about their social group – and how it may contribute to the underrepresentation of women in tech fields. “We talked about seeing effort as a path to mastery, persevering in the face of challenges, taking constructive criticism in stride and being inspired by the success of others,” Sebay said. Together, the group discussed why diversity matters, and how it leads to innovation, better performance and role models for youth. “As a STEM Enthusiast, it is always an honor to lend my voice to conversations about technology,” said Sebay. “What better way to give back than to share knowledge with young, vibrant scholars?”Read More »
Report Date...: 7/26/21