Impact Stories from Empowering Women and Girls Policy Area
Fellow shares advice for women entrepreneurs in Jordan
Fellow(s): Reema Diab
2019 fellow Reema Diab was featured in an “Ask Me Anything” session for women in technology, sharing her experience as an entrepreneur and answering questions on how to succeed as a woman in technology in Jordan. The event was organized by the Exchange Alumni team at the U.S. Embassy in Jordan as part of their monthly sessions that feature exchange program alumni.
Reema is the founder of Galaxy Organization for Technology, an IT non- profit that empowers women and youth with STEM skills. Their latest course for kids offers hands-on training in robotics, teaching them about Arduino technology and helping them build small robots controlled by phones via Bluetooth. At the online event, Reema spoke about what makes a successful entrepreneur, how new businesses can seek funding and how her participation in the TechWomen program helped build her entrepreneurial skills. She also shared the obstacles that women face as entrepreneurs, giving the audience advice on succeeding as a woman in technology. “It can be difficult as a woman trying to compete,” she said. “Unfortunately, women often are not confident or underestimate their skills. It’s important to find a support system and to find a mentor.” She encouraged women to find their passion and work hard on their skills by seeking out programs that support their goals. “The TechWomen program was life-changing. Gathering with like-minded women opened doors for me to be a leader,” she said.
Report Date...: 1/25/21
Fellow selected to train at academy for angel investors
Fellow(s): Zimkhita Buwa
Country: South Africa
This week, 2013 fellow Zimkhita Buwa began a two-month training at the African Angel Academy, an initiative that supports African entrepreneurs in refining their investment strategies, networking and investing in promising African startups seeking early-stage investing. Zimkhita is one of 80 entrepreneurs chosen for the 2021 cohort.
Zimkhita is a member of Dazzle Angels, a women-led angel fund that invests in women-owned startups. Through her participation in the African Angel Academy, she hopes to learn from like-minded investors who are looking to make an impact on the African continent. “I want to make a difference in the angel investment space,” she says. “We need more female founders to be successful, as this is how we can make progress in terms of unemployment and impact. The skills that I will gain from the course will enable me to make the right decisions.”
Report Date...: 1/25/21
Fellows launch training program for girls with UNICEF and UN
Fellow(s): Nazira Sheraly, Aiturgan Zulpukarova, Elena Chigibaeva, Gulzire Minbaeva
Cohort: 2016, 2017, 2018
2016 fellow Nazira Sheraly, 2017 fellow Aiturgan Zulpukarova and 2018 fellows Elena Chigibaeva and Gulzire Minbaeva have launched a new project for girls through Techaim, their initiative that provides mentorship to women and girls to grow and develop their STEM skills and expand their knowledge in business, leadership and more. Their new project, TechKyzdar, was launched with support from UNICEF Kyrgyzstan as well as the UN Peacebuilding Fund.
TechKyzdar, which officially began this week, is working with 220 girls aged 14-18 from 11 communities, teaching them about digital skills, social entrepreneurship, leadership and more. They also plan to work alongside Technovation Kyrgyzstan, encouraging the girls to apply their skills to creating innovative solutions to issues in their communities. Soon, the fellows will bring in mentors and guest speakers who will support the participants with their goals and inspire them to continue their educational journeys.
Report Date...: 1/25/21
Fellow facilitates STEM training for 700 teachers in Ekiti State
Fellow(s): Stella Uzochukwu
This week, 2019 fellow Stella Uzochukwu held a three-day training for schoolteachers in Ekiti State, Nigeria. Stella is the country director for Odyssey Educational Foundation, an NGO with a mission to equip African children, particularly girls, with STEM skills. Through her work with Odyssey, Stella has trained girls in computer science, robotics and more, as well as helped run an after-school STEM program for over 40 public and private schools in Nigeria.
Stella led the training in partnership with NSF, a local education management company. Together, they worked with 700 newly-employed educators at four primary schools, providing workshops on helping children thrive in a classroom environment, how to manage a classroom and how to best support students with special needs. Stella led a hands-on STEM education activity, training the teachers on using activity-based STEM learning to help children learn in-demand 21st century skills.
In late 2020, Stella traveled to Borno State for a five-day teacher training sponsored by Shell, demonstrating how teachers at Aisha Buhari Primary School can incorporate STEM learning into their curriculum. Next month, she will serve as a judge at Femtech Fest, a virtual hackathon for female entrepreneurs in Nigeria.
Report Date...: 1/18/21
Emerging Leaders share their progress at Regional Summits
Fellow(s): 2020-2021 Emerging Leaders
In November 2020, Emerging Leaders began working with their country cohorts to brainstorm and develop an action plan that addresses a socioeconomic need in their communities. The latest post on the TechWomen blog provides an overview of the 2020 Regional Summits where Emerging Leaders had an opportunity to share their progress, workshop their ideas and get inspired by women leaders in the San Francisco Bay Area. At the three Regional Summits — for country teams in the Middle East and North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa and Central and South Asia — country teams met with Impact Coaches and Peer Advisors in three rotations in order to further refine their plans and develop projects that create maximum impact.
Each Regional Summit also featured opening keynotes from inspiring woman leaders in the San Francisco Bay Area: Meg Garlinghouse, the head of social impact at LinkedIn, Nikkia Reveillac, head of research at Twitter and Amy Weaver, Salesforce’s president and chief legal officer.
Report Date...: 1/18/21
Cameroon Girls Hackathon empowers young girls to innovate
Fellow(s): Horore Bebga
Last month, 2018 fellow Horore Bebga hosted the inaugural Cameroon Girls Hackathon, a four-day program that empowered 30 girls from seven secondary schools throughout Douala to create solutions to the COVID-19 pandemic. The hackathon was organized in partnership with the U.S. Embassy in Cameroon and was hosted by the Dewey International School of Applied Sciences.
The project was a part of Likalo Education, the STEM education initiative Horore co-founded that educates young people with 21st century skills. Over the course of four days, the girls were brought through various modules including design thinking, 3D modeling, designing a chatbot and learning about mobile app development. They also had access to local and international mentors and experts in entrepreneurship and technology.
After the training, the girls were divided into six teams, working together to create solutions to help overcome the challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The girls pitched their projects at the end of the event, and three winners were chosen by a jury: an app that translates health information into local languages, an online self-screening health app and a chatbot solution that makes it easier for individuals to find employment. All three projects will receive continued support through Likalo Education in order to further develop and execute their ideas.
Report Date...: 1/11/21
Fellow’s initiative wins UN Global Climate Action Award
Fellow(s): Ryme Assaad
RISE2030, the green tech initiative co-founded by 2018 fellow Ryme Assaad, was recently named a winner of the 2020 United Nations Global Climate Action Awards. The awards recognized 13 projects that are innovating for climate action and demonstrating leadership in their countries. RISE2030 was a winner in the “Women for Results” category.
Established in 2019, RISE2030 is a community-led initiative that empowers underserved women and youth through training, education and employment opportunities. Their projects – which include solar installation, literacy training and support for women farmers – aim to create sustainable communities and contribute to Lebanon’s energy transition. Their latest project will create 500 job opportunities for people affected by the 2020 Beirut explosion. Last month, all award winners showcased in a series of special online events.
Report Date...: 1/11/21
Four TechWomen alumnae projects win AEIF grant
Fellow(s): Dalia Shurrab, Yamama Shaka’a, Ruba Awayes, Christelle Tayou, Gisele Beatrice Sonfack
Country: Cameroon, Palestinian Territories
Cohort: 2014, 2016, 2017, 2019
Recently, it was announced that four TechWomen alumnae initiatives were named winners of the 2020 Alumni Engagement Innovation Fund. The 2020 theme of “Women, Peace, and Security” received over 300 submissions; 80 teams of exchange alumni from 67 countries were awarded funding for their community-based projects.
Through Mompreneur, 2019 fellow Dalia Shurrab will help support 60 mothers from the Gaza Strip and 30 from the West Bank to start their own online businesses. With specialized training in design and marketing, the program will empower women to monetize their skills in wood carving, embroidery, cooking and more. The project including Palestinian Territories alumnae Yamama Shaka’a (2016) and Ruba Awayes (2017), VTech Road, was recently adapted to a virtual setting due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The comprehensive online learning platform will offer courses and educational materials that support women’s political, economic and civic participation. 2014 fellow of Cameroon Christelle Tayou and her team created Protecting Internally Displaced Women from Abusive Arrests to address the needs of displaced and vulnerable women, many who lack proper documentation, through legal support and health assistance. They will also train women and girls in the monitoring and reporting of human rights violations. With Combatting Sexual Violence Against Female Students and Female Teachers in Secondary Schools in the Littoral Region of Cameroon, 2016 fellow Gisele Beatrice Sonfack will address Gender-Based Violence, targeting eight schools and working with students to raise awareness and create meaningful community impact.
Report Date...: 1/4/21
Fellow leads mentorship initiative for indigenous women
Fellow(s): Noella Nibakuze
2019 fellow Noella Nibakuze has completed leading a two-month project that mentored 10 young Rwandan women artists in sustainable architecture. Noella is a design associate at MASS Design Group, a U.S.-based architecture firm that leads purpose-driven projects, focuses on using sustainable materials and promotes local economies.
MASS recently partnered with the Soul of Nations Foundation, an organization that uplifts indigenous people through their programming centered on art, research and scholarship. The project also included the U.S. Embassy Rwanda, as well as the Institute of National Museums. Noella was appointed by MASS to lead the effort, titled “Indigenous International: Green Architecture Project,” helping mentor the 10 Rwandan women artists through job shadowing, workshops and more. The completion of the project was celebrated at a virtual event, where U.S. Ambassador to Rwanda Peter Vrooman thanked Noella for her mentorship.
Report Date...: 1/4/21
TechWomen/TechGirls Clubs host regional summits
Fellow(s): TechWomen/TechGirls Clubs
Country: Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestinian Territories, Tajikistan, Tunisia, Uzbekistan
This month, TechWomen/TechGirls Clubs held their biannual regional summits for the CSA and MENA regions, convening alumnae from both programs to share club updates, network and reignite club involvement for the coming year. TechWomen/TechGirls Clubs provide a space for career counseling, mentoring, leadership development and more. Launched in 2018, the cross-program clubs expanded from seven program countries in MENA to now include four countries in CSA.
After IIE and Legacy International shared program updates, summit participants were encouraged to provide updates about their club and activities, sharing about their progress despite a challenging year. Although the COVID-19 pandemic halted or delayed many outreach activities, workshops and initiatives, the clubs continue to organize, plan and provide mentorship opportunities to the TechGirls participants. In breakout rooms, club teams came together to discuss leadership structure, share what practices have created successful events and decide how the club will move forward in the coming year. After returning to the main room, teams shared out the highlights of their breakout room discussions. In a closing activity, TechWomen and TechGirls alumnae were prompted to type into the chat box what inspires them the most as a member of the TechGirls and TechWomen community. “We are so inspired by each of your efforts and work despite the challenging year,” said the TechGirls team.