Impact Stories from Education Diplomacy/Mentoring Policy Area
Nigerian fellow wins funding for youth accelerator in Niger; collaborates with TechWomen mentor for technical tools
Fellow(s): Binta Moustapha
Nigerian alumna Binta Moustapha, 2014, has recently won a grant from the Bank of Africa Foundation in the amount of ten million West African francs (CFA) for use toward her youth training initiative, Cabinet Hub Zinder. Located in her spouse’s home country, the Republic of Niger, Cabinet Hub Zinder, also called the African Street Business School and Entrepreneurship Hub, was founded to accelerate digital and entrepreneurship skills training for young people aged 18-35 who are not currently involved in critical Education Employment or Training programs (NEETs).
When Binta first relocated to Niger in 2016, she faced adjustment issues when she struggled to communicate in the French lanuage. Binta shares that she was inspired by the biblical quote made popular by Hillary Clinton to “bloom where you are planted,” and began volunteering to teach English as a second language at her local American Corner, a regional resource center provided by the US State Department where people can gather, share and learn about American culture, history, current events and government. Her involvement at the American Corner eventually led Binta to the founding of Cabinet Hub Zinder.
In this program, the 120 youth participants, 60% of whom will be women, will receive stipend funds totalling 42,000 CFA each to compensate their time, transportation and data connection expenses. Participants with Cabinet Hub Zinder will also take part in a financial innovation challenge for fintech solutions internship opportunities in mobile device repairs, graphic design and more. Utilizing her TechWomen network, Binta has also partnered with San Francisco mentor Kathy Giori, who will provide MicroBlocks hardware to support program participants. Cabinet Hub Zinder will be hosted at the American Corner in Zinder, Niger.
Report Date...: 6/13/2022
Fellows host roundtable discussion with Kyrgyz National Academy of Sciences
Fellow(s): Kanykei Alipova, Tursunai Bektemirova, Ainura Mitalipova, and Nargiza Abdubalieva
Country: Kyrgyzstan, Palestinian Territories
Cohort: 2014, 2022
In early June, 2022 fellow Tursunai Bektemirova, a chairwoman on the Council of Young Scientists in Kyrgyzstan, co-organized a roundtable discussion with the support and participation of fellows Kanykei Alipova 2022, Ainura Mitalipova 2022, and Nargiza Abdubalieva 2014. The event, “Women in Science and Education: Trends and Perspectives”, was hosted by the National Academy of Sciences of the Kyrgyz Republic (NAS KR) and served to highlight, elevate, and support the topic of women’s roles and contributions to science and educational development in the region.
Tursunai shares that she conceived of the idea, “after coming back home from the USA TechWomen program [in] 2022. Right away, I had an idea to organize a roundtable for women in STEM.” During the event, Kanykei supported the talk by spotlighting the team’s TechWomen action plan project Kamkor, an online platform devoted to supporting working mothers at each stage of child care, and Ainura joined remotely to present her own related project, Baby Comer. The event, sponsored by the Kumtor Gold Company JSC, was attended by President of the NAS KR, Murat Dzhumatayev, as well as other noteworthy academicians, entrepreneurs, scientists, leaders and humanitarians. Topics of discussion included the socio-economic opportunities of rural young women, quality and levels of education available for women, and socio-psychological portrayals of women in science.
Report Date...: 6/6/2022
Fellow selected as World Bank Youth Summit 2022 Finalist
Fellow(s): Arielle Kitio
The World Bank selected 2016 fellow Arielle Kitio as a finalist for its 2022 Youth Summit Competition, representing her organization TechWoman Factory, part of the Cameroon Youth School Tech Incubator (CAYSTI). Arielle was one of six finalists selected from a competitive pool of 1,031 applications representing 107 countries. The 2022 summit theme was “Unlocking the Power of Inclusion for Equitable Growth,” and all finalists were selected for projects that effectively and impactfully spoke to elements of social, environmental and economic inclusion.
TechWoman Factory’s inaugural cohort consists of 179 Cameroonian youth (including 134 women), who receive professional training in one of three fields (data science, web development and digital art) for six months in Yaoundé, followed by a three-month professional mentorship with a partner organization. Additionally, all participants receive a core education in entrepreneurship, financial education, cybersecurity and soft skills such as negotiation, leadership, effective communication and creativity.
Report Date...: 5/31/2022
Fellow featured as keynote at Pakistan Girls in ICT Summit 2022
Fellow(s): Ameni Channoufi
A keynote address delivered by 2014 fellow from Tunisia Ameni Channoufi kicked off the Girls in ICT Summit 2022, organized by Ananke, CodeGirls Pakistan and WomenInTechPK in observance of International Girls in ICT Day. The summit’s theme was “Breaking Barriers to Access,” and provided speakers, workshops, panel discussions and mentoring sessions for young women in high school and college who are working towards or interested in careers in technology.
In her keynote, “Global and Local Perspectives of Girls in ICT,“ Ameni spoke on the global nature of the digital gender divide and experience of women in tech and provided strategies for inspiring girls to enter STEM fields and supporting them along the way. “It’s important that girls know early that the door is open to them too, not only to boys,” Ameni said as she explained the importance of introducing STEM education at an early age, organizing events for girls in tech, providing mentorship and job shadowing and sharing success stories of women in tech.
Report Date...: 5/23/2022
Fellow wins twice at East Africa Com Awards
Fellow(s): Chao Mbogho
Dr. Chao Mbogho, 2017 fellow of Kenya, recently received the top individual honor awarded at the 2022 East Africa Com Awards, part of Africa Tech Festival. Chao was named Inspiring Leader of the Year for her accomplishments as “a Founder, Mentor, Innovator, Educator and one of the few Kenyan women with a PhD in Computer Science.” East Africa Com praised her achievements by saying “Her prowess in all these areas has made her one of the most inspiring role models of our generation.”
Chao is also founder and CEO of KamiLimu, which itself was also honored at East Africa Com with the 2022 Changing Lives Award. East Africa Com describes why KamiLimu was selected by saying: “Up to 80% of Kenyan tertiary-level students do not receive mentorship outside the classroom, which leads to insufficient expertise in 21st-century skills. KamiLimu, an award-winning non-profit organization, addresses this. Their mission is to bridge the skills gap between classroom learning and global competitiveness for tertiary-level tech students in Kenya.”
Report Date...: 5/16/2022
Mentor(s): Teresa Williams
Company: Office of Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky
Mentor Type: Professional
Mentor Dr. Teresa Williams was recently invited to speak on a panel at Google’s 2022 She’s So STEM virtual event, sharing her experience as a woman in STEM with San Francisco Bay Area high school students. She’s So STEM, now in its sixth year, hosts high school girls at the San Francisco Bay Area to Google’s headquarters in Mountain View to learn about the diverse opportunities in STEM careers. This year’s event featured a coding session, a game design workshop and an opportunity for students to use Google’s virtual reality system. Teresa, a scientific researcher, shared about her career path and the role models who guided and mentored her along the way. She also spoke about the challenges she has faced as a woman in her field, having often been mistaken for an intern or an executive assistant at work. “We need to redefine what a scientist looks like,” she said. The panelists also answered student questions, giving advice on impostor syndrome and encouraging them to avoid comparison: “I told them that we are all on our own individual paths,” Teresa said. “Rather than comparing ourselves to each other, we should really be celebrating each other.”
Report Date...: 5/9/2022
Fellow launches Girls in STEM Mentorship with alumnae support
Fellow(s): Ines Umuhoza, Emma Marie Ndoringoma, Solange Tuyisenge, Marie Claire Murekatete, Christa Uwamahoro, Nadine Uwizeyimana and Felicie Nyinawabali
Cohort: 2014, 2015, 2018, 2022
Fellow launches Girls in STEM Mentorship with alumnae support
Before the start of TechWomen 2022, fellow Ines Umuhoza set a goal to leverage her TechWomen mentorship to inspire and mentor young girls in Rwanda. During the program, Ines collaborated with her mentor, Tawish Naqvi of Microsoft, to build out Girls in STEM Mentorship, a project she created of before TechWomen. Shortly after she returned from the U.S., Ines held her first session for 120 girls from Maranyundo Girls School, hosting them for an introductory session about mentorship and how they can benefit from the six‐month Girls in STEM Mentorship project. Ines is the director of programs for Girls in ICT Rwanda/Rwanda Women in Tech, an initiative whose mission is to inspire women and girls to pursue STEM careers. Rwandan fellows Emma Marie Ndoringoma (2013), Solange Tuyisenge (2015), Marie Claire Murekatete (2014),Christa Uwamahoro(2018), Nadine Uwizeyimana (2022) and Felicie Nyinawabali (2022) have joined the mentorship program, serving as advisors and co‐organizers; the program will also receive support from Girls in ICT Rwanda. Solange and Ines are collaborating to create career fair sessions, invite guest speakers and deliver training on soft skills and career guidance. At the Maranyundo Girls School introductory session, the girls were encouraged to ask questions about STEM careers and learn about their choices within STEM fields. “We designed this program to create awareness of different STEM careers by conducting STEM Career Fair days with different women in STEM professions to inspire the girls,” said Ines. “Not only are we inspiring more girls to be part of the women in STEM movement, but we are also going to be providing career guidance, self‐confidence and other soft skills needed to succeed in their future.”
Report Date...: 5/9/2022
Fellows debut STEM empowerment project Heya Caravan
Fellow(s): Salma Bekkouche, Amel Djenidi, Fatima Zohra Benhamida, Amina Salesse
Cohort: 2017, 2018, 2020-2021
After TechWomen 2018, fellows Salma Bekkouche and Amel Djenidi began working with 2017 fellow Fatima Zohra Benhamida to create Heya Caravan, a project that empowers girls and women through STEM education. After securing a grant from the U.S. Embassy Algiers’ Alumni Small Grant Competition in 2019 – and after delays caused by the pandemic – the fellows, with 2020-2021 fellow Amina Salesse as a new team member, launched Heya Caravan in Hassi Messaoud last month, bringing a day of workshops, talks and networking opportunities to women in the region. Heya (Arabic for “She”) Caravan collaborated with local STEM leaders, inviting them to share their career paths in STEM, host Q&A’s and deliver workshops meant to educate and empower the professionals and students in attendance. In Fatima’s session, “Which hat would you like to wear?” she spoke about her journey in higher education as an assistant professor at the National School of Computer Science, her diverse work experience and her mission to combat stereotypes of women in technical fields. In a leadership workshop, participants learned about different leadership styles and their respective strengths and weaknesses. The day concluded with Q&A session themed on mental health challenges and work-life balance during the pandemic. “From preparation to the event itself to the post-event parts…every single task we made with love, and enjoyed it to the extreme,” said Amina. The Heya Caravan team hopes to replicate the programming in other Algerian cities as well as create online content for community members. “I’m proud to see the project become a reality after almost three years full of challenges,” said Salma.
Report Date...: 5/2/2022
Fellow brings STEM training to girls in Ethiopia and Tanzania
Fellow(s): Amanda Obidike
2022 fellow Amanda Obidike recently launched STEMNovation, a STEM initiative that trains girls in mobile app development, 3D modeling, 3D printing and basic computer skills. Amanda is a data scientist, general manager for the Sir Emeka Okwuosa Foundation and founder of STEMi Makers Africa, an organization that trains young Africans with 21st century skills. She was recently named to the Most Distinguished African Women Changemakers list by Humanitarian Awards Global. Last month, STEMi Makers launched STEMNovation’s first bootcamp in Tanzania and Ethiopia, bringing young female students through training courses that will prepare them for STEM careers. At the Ethiopia bootcamp, supported by Addis Ababa University and Abugida Robotics Technology Center, girls ages 10-16 learned about computer software, coding and 3D modeling. At the bootcamp’s conclusion, trainees demonstrated their work for other students, parents and community supporters. In Tanzania, STEMi Makers partnered with the Timizandoto Initiative and dLab to support 40 girls in Dar es Salaam with training on AI, drone technologies and data analytics. “We understand that the increasing demand for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics are vital to the development and economic growth of a nation,” said STEMi Makers. “As such, women and girls should not be left behind.”Read More »
Report Date...: 5/2/2022
Fellow selected as youth speaker at UN event
Fellow(s): Tala Qawasmi
Country: Palestinian Territories
2022 fellow Tala Qawasmi was a featured speaker at the 2022 United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Youth Forum, joining the Arab States Region breakout session to discuss supporting youth in developing their skills and finding job opportunities. ECOSOC is focused on advancing economic, social and environmental sustainable development. Their 2022 Youth Forum, “COVID-19 recovery: Youth taking action for a sustainable future,” brought together youth to contribute their ideas and innovations to create sustainable change. Tala is a Geographic Information System (GIS) expert at Preventative Security, an intelligence service of the Palestinian Territories. She previously collaborated with the UNDP to create Get That Job, an initiative that addressed youth unemployment in her community by connecting new graduates with consultants to support with training and job services. At the Youth Forum, Tala shared her story, the challenges she has overcome and how she has made an impact in youth unemployment. Although Get That Job did not officially launch, Tala will soon merge the platform with Josour, the social impact initiative she created alongside her country team during TechWomen 2022. Josour, which means “bridge,” will support women and youth with soft skills training and provide resources on local and international opportunities. “When I worked with my team during TechWomen, I thought it would be better to have this platform in-person and focus on all soft skills that not only fresh graduates need but also students in colleges and schools,” said Tala. “These two initiatives have the same goal. UNDP and Sharek Youth Forum are our partners now and will cooperate with us to make this project a success.”Read More »
Report Date...: 4/25/2022