Impact Stories from Empowering Women and Girls Policy Area
Fellow advocates for digital rights at inclusion forum
Fellow(s): Sophie Ngassa
2014 fellow Sophie Ngassa led a session on internet advocacy at the Digital Rights and Inclusion Forum held last month in Lagos, Nigeria. The event, now in its seventh year, was attended by policymakers, legal experts and tech professionals who came together to discuss digital policy on the African continent.
Sophie is a civil engineer, STEM advocate and founder of the Center for Youth Education and Economic Development, a digital empowerment training center for youth in Cameroon. After two recent internet shutdowns in the northwest and southwest regions of the country, Sophie began more meaningfully advocating for internet rights in Africa, engaging government officials and stakeholders to address internet connectivity and the crises that arise from blocked communication.
At the forum, Sophie led a discussion and panel titled “Advocating in War Zones and Shrinking Civic Spaces,” where she spoke about the importance of open internet and the role advocacy coalitions can play in ensuring internet freedom. Alongside two panelists, Sophie spoke about creating an internet without borders, sharing best practices on empowering both civilians and policymakers to work towards a more open, safe and accessible internet for all.
Report Date...: 5/13/19
Fellow shares expertise with King Abdullah II of Jordan
Fellow(s): Hiba Shabrouq
Last week, 2017 fellow Hiba Shabrouq was invited by King Abdullah II and Crown Prince Hussein bin Abdullah of Jordan to share her expertise on the leading issues facing Jordan. Alongside a group of distinguished young professionals, Hiba discussed politics, economics, technology and entrepreneurship at King Abullah’s palace, offering her input on solutions to Jordan’s challenges.
Hiba is part of TechWomen seed grant-winning team Ozwah, an initiative that educates and empowers female orphans through training and workshops. At the meeting, Hiba spoke about Ozwah’s mission to address Jordan’s education gap through hosting intensive STEM workshops and capacity building trainings for the country’s young girls.
Report Date...: 5/13/19
TechWomen alumnae collaborate with TechGirls for STEM event
Fellow(s): Nisreen Deeb
This week, 2013 fellow Nisreen Deeb collaborated with TechWomen and TechGirls alumnae for an event aimed at educating and inspiring girls interested in STEM fields. Nisreen is the co-founder of Girls Got IT, an initiative that exposes girls aged 15-17 to STEM through interactive workshops on robotics, 3D printing, website design, game development and more.
The Girls Got IT event, supported by UNICEF Lebanon, was attended by 600 public and private school girls from throughout the country. The day featured inspirational keynotes, group sessions and 25 workshops led by local startup companies. 2018 seed grant-winning team My ioLab participated in the event, hosting a workshop on IoT and innovation.
As part of a broader effort to unite alumnae of TechWomen and TechGirls – an ECA program aiming to inspire teenaged girls to further pursue STEM – three TechGirls alumnae participated as volunteers, supporting Girls Got IT with logistics, registration and workshop facilitation. “I love TechGirls and their passion, and I always try to include them in our events” says Nisreen. The day was Girls Got IT’s biggest event to date; moving forward, Nisreen hopes to include as many girls as possible, contributing to their mission of ensuring that no girl is left behind.
Report Date...: 4/29/49
Fellow’s team wins Judge’s Award at robotics competition
Fellow(s): Faten Khalfallah
2015 fellow Faten Khalfallah and her team of high school students won the Judge’s Award at the 2019 VEX Robotics World Championship High School Division, held this week in Louisville, Kentucky. Faten is the regional project manager at VEX Robotics and the VEX Girl Powered initiative ambassador in Tunisia.
The largest robotics competition in the world, the annual event brought together more than 1,500 high school teams from around the globe to build robots and compete in engineering challenges. The Judge’s Award is reserved for a team that deserves special recognition for their accomplishments, perseverance and team unity during the competition season. Previously, Faten and a team of students won four awards at the 2018 FIRST Global Challenge robotics competition in Mexico City.
Report Date...: 4/29/19
Fellow wins 2019 African Digital Woman at Margaret Awards
Fellow(s): Arielle Kitio
This month, 2016 fellow Arielle Kitio received the African Digital Woman Award at the annual Margaret Awards in Paris. Now in its seventh year, the awards are held in celebration of Digital Women’s Day, a day created in 2013 that aims to inspire women to innovate in the digital sector.
This year’s awards were themed “Women: World Changers” and recognized leading women who demonstrate commitment to a better world through their work and achievements. Arielle was recognized for her impact as the founder of CAYSTI, a STEM education program that educates young students through their youth tech lab, incubator and after-school programs. “I am moved, honored and grateful to have been selected as a winner,” says Arielle.
Report Date...: 4/29/49
Fellow introduces new technologies to rural women farmers
Fellow(s): Zuleyha Achilova
This month, 2018 fellow Zuleyha Achilova organized a two-day training for women farmers in the Lebap region of Turkmenistan. Zuleyha, who created and organized the group, is an M&E Specialist for USAID-funded programs and works throughout her country to introduce biotechnologies in wastewater treatment.
Working with colleagues from the USAID/Turkmenistan Governance Support Program, Zuleyha applied her learnings from her TechWomen mentorship at Northgate Environmental Management for the two-day training, creating a curriculum that taught women farmers about innovative and cost-effective biotechnologies in climate-smart agriculture. Using a hands-on approach, the women were introduced to wastewater treatment methods that improve cultivation technique and maximize food production. “Women farmers are struggling to improve their livelihoods and need innovative approaches for meeting their needs,” says Zuleyha. “This training will increase rural women’s knowledge and practical skills on low-cost wastewater treatment, ensuring availability of clean and safe water.”
Report Date...: 4/22/19
Fellow wins Young Professional of the Year at Nexte Awards
Fellow(s): Sebay Momoh
Country: Sierra Leone
This week, 2018 fellow Sebay Momoh was awarded Young Professional of the Year at Sierra Leone’s Heirs Africa and Nexte Awards. Nexte, the philanthropic arm of Heirs Holdings, works to to minimize economic inequality in Africa and create a generation of successful entrepreneurs.
Attended by government officials, entrepreneurs, philanthropists and academics, the annual awards recognize individuals who are making meaningful contributions to development through hard work and commitment to innovation. Sebay, a petroleum engineer and program coordinator for STEM Women SL, was awarded the Young Professional of the Year award for her contributions to national development. “Some days the vision I’m striving for isn’t as clear to me,” says Sebay. “But then there are times like these that reignite the fire and inspire me to keep pushing.”
Report Date...: 4/22/19
Fellow recognized for inspiring and educating girls in Kenya
Fellow(s): Ruth Kaveke
This week, 2017 fellow of Kenya Ruth Kaveke was featured in an article from Digital Opportunity Trust Kenya, an initiative that supports youth in becoming innovators and leaders through digital technology. Ruth is the co-founder and director of Pwani Teknowgalz, a non-profit that aims to educate and empower girls through STEM education.
As one of few women in ICT at their university, Ruth and her co-founder Aisha were determined to bridge the gender gap in STEM, later establishing their organization to educate secondary and university girls on mobile apps, coding and web development. This month, Pwani Teknowgalz launched a campaign to train 100 girls from underserved communities in Mombasa on web development and digital marketing.
Report Date...: 4/15/19
Fellows partner with Facebook and UNODC to host hackathon
Fellow(s): Carolyn Seaman, Lindiwe Matlali
Country: Nigeria, South Africa
2017 fellows Lindiwe Matlali of South Africa and Carolyn Seaman of Nigeria recently collaborated to host Nigeria’s first Hackathon for Justice. Organized in partnership with Facebook and the Education for Justice initiative of the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the annual event aims to engage youth in using technology to address challenges to rule of law. Last year’s hackathon, also organized by Lindiwe, was hosted in Silicon Valley at TechWomen partner company Symantec.
This year, 50 students from 10 universities were selected from among 400 applicants to participate in the hackathon. Within a 24-hour period, 13 teams used problem-based learning to design and create apps, receiving mentorship and coaching from Facebook’s software engineers and representatives of Africa Teen Geeks, Lindiwe’s STEM education non-profit. By the end of the hackathon, the teams developed mobile apps addressing issues such as corruption, human trafficking, violence against children and terrorism.
“We are excited to be working with UNODC and Facebook to encourage youth to be actively involved in solving issues of rule of law and to amplify the great work of the Education for Justice initiative,” Lindiwe said. A hackathon participant reiterated, “This is not the end; we will keep the same energy and continue providing solutions to the problems of our world.”
Report Date...: 4/8/2019
Fellow organizes International Women’s Day event in Dubai
Fellow(s): Rayan Al Zahab
2016 fellow of Lebanon Rayan Al Zahab, a Women Techmakers ambassador and Google Developers Expert, recently partnered with Google to organize an International Women’s Day event in Dubai. The event theme, “#IAmRemarkable,” was borrowed from the initiative of the same name that aims to empower women and underrepresented groups to speak openly about their accomplishments. Organized by Rayan for the second straight year, the event welcomed nearly 200 attendees.
Princess Latifa bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum of the Dubai royal family presided over the event, announcing with a Google representative an initiative to train and certify 1,000 girls in the MENA region on Google Cloud technologies.
Report Date...: 4/8/2019