Impact Stories from Empowering Women and Girls Policy Area
Mentor(s): Anar Simpson
Mentor Type: Impact
This week, TechWomen Impact Coach and strategic partnership advisor Anar Simpson was featured in MentorTalks, a new series from International Exchange Alumni. With the aim of connecting exchange program alumni with experts in their fields, MentorTalks features live interactive conversations and Q&A’s with viewers around the world.
In the Facebook Live event, Anar spoke about empowering women in tech as a TechWomen mentor, Technovation regional ambassador and member of the UN Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel on Women’s Economic Empowerment. She encouraged women and girls to expand their knowledge of the tech landscape, emphasizing the importance of networking in finding new passions and new career opportunities. When a young viewer asked about entering STEM fields, Anar spoke about how programs like TechWomen and Technovation empower women and girls to create impact in their home countries. “It’s not always easy, but it’s getting better,” said Anar. “It’s young people like you that have solutions that can change the world of tomorrow.”
Report Date...: 8/5/19
Fellow leads bootcamp for emerging women in tech
Fellow(s): Ala’a Agha Karss
This week, 2017 fellow Ala’a Agha Karss concluded a two-month tech bootcamp for women in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The training, Pink Android Bootcamp, was designed and led by Ala’a,
the founder and CTO of Superiors TechHub. Although Ala’a frequently leads the training for women in Jordan, this was her first opportunity to bring her curriculum to women in Saudi Arabia.
Over the course of the intensive training, Ala’a led 53 women in sessions on coding, mobile app development, design thinking and developing an entrepreneurial mindset. Together, the women created innovative projects and built mobile platforms that addressed leading issues in their communities. At the end of the training, the women pitched their platforms to a jury of innovation labs, connecting to entrepreneurs and companies that can help bring their projects to life.
Report Date...: 8/5/19
Fellow hosts coding bootcamp and hackathon for girls
Fellow(s): Carolyn Seaman
This month, 2017 fellow Carolyn Seaman hosted Tech Tackle, a coding boot camp and hackathon for 45 adolescent girls representing 10 public schools throughout Nigeria.
The inaugural program, held in collaboration with the United Nations Office for Drugs and Crime, began with a three-week intensive coding bootcamp hosted by Carolyn’s organization, Girls Voices. With hands-on training and one-on-one mentoring, the girls designed innovative tech solutions for critical social issues in their country. Through lessons on design thinking, coding and research, the teams addressed challenges such as human trafficking, crime prevention and corruption, with a particular focus on how these issues affect young girls in Nigeria.
The training culminated in a pitch competition, where the teams presented their solutions to a panel of judges. Their ideas included a website that addresses gender-based violence, an app with voice recognition that can sense distress and send help and camera technology that can work to deter child traffickers. The top five teams are currently participating in a five-week Python training, and select teams will travel to the U.S. to represent Nigeria at a global hackathon at Google in Silicon Valley.
Report Date...: 7/29/19
Fellow launches initiative for women entrepreneurs
Fellow(s): Crescence Elodie
This month, 2018 fellow Crescence Elodie launched WETECH, an organization dedicated to supporting African girls and women in the fields of entrepreneurship and technology. Through leadership programs, digital entrepreneurship bootcamps and capacity-building trainings, Crescence hopes that WETECH will become the leading platform in West and Central Africa that empowers women in technology.
“I decided to launch this initiative with the aim of supporting women,” says Crescence. “We are passionate about giving them equal chances in leadership positions and economic inclusion.” Already, WETECH has hosted a networking event for women in technology, and co-organized a women’s workshop on Boost with Facebook, a training session that showed women how to optimize Facebook, WhatsApp Business and Instagram for their businesses.
Report Date...: 7/19/19
Mentor shares career journey with women entrepreneurs
Fellow(s): Roojuta Lalani, Iqra Hameed
Country: Pakistan, United States
This week, TechWomen mentor Roojuta Lalani coordinated with 2018 fellow of Pakistan Iqra Hameed to host a Facebook Live event focused on advancing women in tech fields.
Roojuta, a Professional Mentor and principle software engineer at Salesforce, has kept in touch with Iqra, who was hosted at Salesforce during TechWomen 2018. “Even though we were not paired with each other, Iqra and I were always talking about different initiatives she was working on and how I could help brainstorm,” says Roojuta.
Recently, Iqra connected Roojuta to Careeher, a virtual platform for women entrepreneurs to share best practices with peers, seek mentorship opportunities and scale their businesses. Careeher and Roojuta worked together on a Facebook Live event, “Professional challenges for women in the tech world.” There, Roojuta connected with women entrepreneurs, discussing the biggest hurdles for women in Pakistan and sharing her advice on dealing with imposter syndrome in an often male-dominated industry. She also spoke about her career progression, giving tools and tips on how women can create a personal brand and grow within their fields.
Report Date...: 7/22/19
Fellow launches coworking space for female founders
Fellow(s): Baratang Miya, Zimkhita Buwa
Country: South Africa
Cohort: 2013, 2015
This month, 2015 fellow of South Africa Baratang Miya launched Uhuru Spaces, a coworking space designed to bring together and support female founders. The space will provide women access to workshops, networking opportunities and special events with investors and entrepreneurs.
Baratang, the founder of Girlhype, conceived of Uhuru Spaces with the help of 2013 fellow Zimkhita Buwa. “After TechWomen, I resigned from my full-time job but felt coworking spaces were a waste of my time,” says Baratang. “After explaining to her why I think they don’t work especially for us women, she looked at me and said, ‘then let’s start our own.’”
Uhuru Spaces officially opened with an event and panel that featured mentor Eileen Brewer, who shared her advice on angel investing and pitching. In the next 10 years, Baratang hopes to provide 10,000 women access to new business opportunities. “This has been a lifelong dream, and the biggest mission so far,” she says.
Report Date...: 7/22/19
Fellows provide training and jobs for underserved women
Fellow(s): Afnan Saqer, Sondos Samara
Cohort: 2015, 2018
This month, TechWomen fellows Sondos Samara (2018) and Afnan Saqer (2015) collaborated to provide job training to 1,200 women in the Jordan Valley, an agricultural region of the country. Sondos, a quality manager at Jordan’s first food analysis laboratory, partnered with the international development agency MEDA to bring the one-day training that focused on building business and entrepreneurial skills. Sondos enlisted the help of Afnan, who works as a project manager and trainer. At her session, Afnan led a training on Business Model Canvas, a strategic template for startups and entrepreneurs.
Soon, Sondos and her team will select 300 women to work in three kitchens based in the Jordan Valley. Once hired, the women will produce and sell food products such as dried fruit to both generate revenue and help them develop their business skills.
Report Date...: 7/22/19
TechWomen travel with TechGirls to the United States
Fellow(s): Keremet Djoldoshbekova, Mutriba Akhmedova, Sevara Siradjeva, Salma Bekkouche, Reem El-Mograby, Dhelal Shorman, Maya Itani, Safaa Boubia and Faten Hammouda
Country: Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Morocco, Tajikistan, Tunisia, Uzbekistan
Cohort: 2011, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018
TechWomen fellows from Central Asia and the MENA region accompanied TechGirls participants on their journey to the U.S. this week, officially kicking off TechGirls 2019. Fellows of Central Asia Dina Shaikhislam (Kazakhstan, 2017), Keremet Djoldoshbekova (Kyrgyzstan, 2015), Mutriba Akhmedova (Tajikistan, 2015) and Sevara Siradjeva (Uzbekistan, 2016) chaperoned the TechGirls from their respective countries, ensuring they arrived in Washington D.C. safely and ready for the exciting program ahead. The next day, MENA fellows Salma Bekkouche (Algeria, 2018), Reem El-Mograby (Egypt, 2011), Dhelal Shorman (Jordan, 2017), Maya Itani (Lebanon, 2017), Safaa Boubia (Morocco, 2018) and Faten Hammouda (Tunisia, 2015) arrived with TechGirls from MENA, joining the other alumnae and TechGirls participants in D.C.
During the week, TechWomen fellows participated in a panel at Trinity Washington University, sharing their experiences and inspiring the TechGirls to pursue STEM fields. “I told them that when I was a software engineering major, there were seven girls and 32 boys in the group,” said Mutriba. “All seven girls graduated, but there were just seven boys left from the 32! Girls are strong by nature. They can do everything they want.” Dhelal spoke about her career transition from biomedical engineering to working at a business incubator with women founders. “I told the girls to never be afraid of change – it’s the only constant in life,” she said.
This year, TechGirls expanded to Central Asia, inviting girls from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan to the program. Over the coming weeks, the TechGirls cohort will gain exposure to programming, mobile application development and hands-on instruction that aims to empower and inspire them to pursue STEM fields. At the end of this month, seven additional TechWomen fellows from throughout Central Asia and MENA will travel to D.C. to return home with the TechGirls cohort. Before their departure from the U.S., the fellows will have the opportunity to hear the TechGirls’ project plans and attend a concluding capstone event.
Report Date...: 7/8/19
TechWomen and TechGirls create paths to future partnership
Fellow(s): Hania Gati, Ouafa Benterki, Djamila Douache, Nassima Berrayah, Imene Rahal, Ameni Channoufi, Fatima Zohra Benhamida and Salma Bekkouche
Cohort: 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2017, 2018
Last month, TechWomen and TechGirls came together for the Algeria Alumni Summit, the first event from the Algeria TechWomen-TechGirls Club. Launched in 2018 in seven program countries of MENA, TechWomen-TechGirls Clubs provide a space for career counseling, mentoring, leadership development and more.
The summit’s mission was to strengthen the TechWomen and TechGirls community and facilitate opportunities for future collaboration and mentorship. 2011 fellow Hania Gati, 2012 fellow Ouafa Benterki, 2013 fellows Djamila Douache, Nassima Berrayah and Imene Rahal, 2014 fellow Ameni Channoufi, 2017 fellow Fatima Zohra Benhamida and 2018 fellow Salma Bekkouche were in attendance, leading roundtables on mentorship, entrepreneurship and Algeria’s tech landscape. The fellows also joined a TechWomen-TechGirls panel, sharing their exchange program experiences and exploring ways alumnae can support one another. At the end of the summit, the group set goals for future collaboration, creating roadmaps for future projects, grant proposals and STEM activities.
Report Date...: 7/8/19
Fellow collaborates with mentor to host inaugural tech summit
Fellow(s): Lindiwe Matlali
Country: South Africa, United States
Last week, 2017 fellow Lindiwe Matlali organized the first-ever Girl Geek Summit in Centurion, South Africa. The two-day event was designed to motivate girls to pursue careers in STEM by exposing them to inspirational role models, exciting sessions and opportunities to build their confidence. Lindiwe, founder and CEO of Africa Teen Geeks, a computer science academy dedicated to teaching underserved communities within South Africa, envisioned the summit to address the STEM education gap; according to her, only five percent of South African schools teach computer science. “With more widespread, equal access to computer science, female mentors and role models in STEM, we believe we can drastically change these numbers,” she said.
Tapping into the expertise of local and international women leaders, the summit’s sessions supported 100 girls to explore STEM subjects through various keynotes, panel discussions, workshops and one-to-one career coaching. TechWomen Professional Mentor Eileen Brewer, who traveled to South Africa for the event, presented a workshop on tech entrepreneurship, emphasizing why the world needs more girls in STEM.
Following the success of the inaugural conference, Lindiwe is planning for the 2020 Girls Geek Summit and plans to triple the number of attendees to 300.
Report Date...: 7/1/2019