Impact Stories from Empowering Women and Girls Policy Area
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
Fellow reflects on TechWomen experience
Fellow(s): Rayan Al Zahab
Policy Area(s): Empowering Women and Girls
“Today, two years down the road, I can see the biggest value of this program beyond the network, support and amazing six weeks. It’s now that I understand how this program changed me! It’s the awareness that I gained out of this program that opened my eyes to see the world differently, recognize the biases around me and be able to point them out. I feel empowered to fight it and drive the change for other women.” –Rayan Al Zahab, 2016 fellow of Lebanon
Since her TechWomen experience, Rayan has worked as a digital analyst at McKinsey Digital Labs and development expert at Google. She is also the founder of Bamboo Geeks. While in the TechWomen program, she was hosted by Salesforce.Read More »
Report Date: 9/24/18
Mentor(s): Emerging Leaders 2018
On Sunday, IIE welcomed the arrival of the 2018 cohort of 100 Emerging Leaders from 20 countries. This year’s Emerging Leaders will join TechWomen’s network of nearly 300 Professional Mentors, Cultural Mentors and Impact Coaches – and an alumnae community of 518 fellows and 700 mentors – as they embark on five weeks of mentorship and professional exchange.
This year’s 34 host companies include Twitter, Salesforce and the Chan Zuckerberg Biohub; the program is also welcoming eight new host companies, including 23andMe, Shell, PlanGrid and Twitch.
TechWomen’s first week of programming includes the Cultural Kickoff, where Emerging Leaders will showcase the rich culture of their home countries, as well as Action Plan Workshop 1, where country teams will establish the foundation of their action plans alongside their Impact Coaches. Follow along as we provide updates on Twitter, Instagram, and the TechWomen blog.
Report Date: 9/17/2018
Emerging Leader featured in Women in Tech Week
Fellow(s): Salome Gathoni
2018 Emerging Leader Salome Gathoni of Kenya was a featured guest at Women in Tech Week 2018, a week-long festival bringing together women leaders and innovators in technology. The event was supported by Women in Tech Africa, a network of women and girls who amplify the voices of women in tech and inspire young women to enter the technology fields.
Salome, a Digital Workplace IT Senior Manager at GE, hosted a Twitter chat titled “Digital Africa,” answering questions about Africa’s tech landscape and offering her perspective on how the country can develop through innovative technologies. “Digitization is not just a business model; digitization is a growth driver,” Salome said in response to a user question. “The opportunities on the African continent are significant, but so are the challenges.” Salome will be hosted by Unity Technologies during her TechWomen professional mentorship.
Report Date: 9/17/18
Team Pakistan shares action plan updates in guest blog post
Fellow(s): Saima Shabbir, Zainab Saleem
In a new guest post published on the TechWomen blog, 2017 fellows of Pakistan Saima Shabbir and Zainab Saleem provide updates on their seed grant-winning action plan project, She For Tech. Addressing Pakistan’s gender disparity in science and technology, She For Tech aims to inspire the next generation of women to become engaged and involved in STEM through critical thinking, problem solving and technology comprehension for young women, as well as a mentorship and support network.
This month, they held a one-day program at a local public school in Islamabad, bringing together women mentors in STEM careers who educated students on opportunities in STEM fields. By using the “Three Cs”—career counseling, camps and competitions—and engaging a community of mentors, She For Tech hopes to educate girls on STEM careers, provide free online resources and exciting challenges, and encourage young women to eradicate stereotypes in their country.
Report Date: 9/3/2018
Fellow launches training initiative for local youth
Fellow(s): Mpara Faith
2017 fellow of Cameroon Mpara Faith recently launched ICT4KIDS, a training program to educate and empower local children in Cameroon. Using lessons in computer programming, game development and graphic design, Mpara and her staff spent six weeks training 16 girls and boys ages five to 18.
The program culminated at the University of Buea in a closing ceremony, during which participants received certificates and prizes for their various projects developed during the training sessions. ICT4KIDS also released a video featuring program highlights, such as in-class programming, game design and cartooning sessions.
While in TechWomen, Mpara was mentored at Synopsys and was a member of the seed grant-winning team behind Able Too. Currently, she is the co-founder and operations manager at New Generation Technologies and was named one of the 50 most influential young Cameroonians in 2017.
Report Date: 9/3/2018
Emerging Leader shares perspective in guest blog post
Fellow(s): Tozama Qwebani-Ogunleye
Country: South Africa
In our new TechWomen blog series, Emerging Leader Voices, Emerging Leaders are invited to share their perspectives and experiences with the TechWomen Community. Dr. Tozama Qwebani-Ogunleye, 2018 Emerging Leader from South Africa, begins the series with her guest post, “Embracing challenges, taking opportunities.” Tozama, a lifelong student of math and science, reflects on her upbringing, the challenges she faced and how her path led her to TechWomen. “My experience taught me that failures could be overcome with hard work,” she says.
During her professional mentorship, Tozama hopes to build a global professional network and drive positive change internationally. “Becoming a TechWomen fellow is such a celebration,” she writes. “It has the potential to put my name, my family name, my university and my town on the map of potential future leaders in science.” Currently, Tozama is Project Director at Vaal University of Technology.
Report Date: 8/27/2018