Impact Stories from Entrepreneurship Policy Area
AfriTech Hub hosts its inaugural STEM Club Competition
Fellow(s): Sabina Nforba
2020-2021 fellow Sabina Nforba organized the first STEM Club Competition hosted by her STEM education initiative, bringing together students to engage in technology and learn about STEM. Sabina is the co-founder and president of AfriTech Hub, an organization that empowers young students to pursue STEM education and STEM careers. AfriTech Hub has worked with over 3,000 students through its clubs, workshops and summits.
AfriTech Hub launched STEM clubs at the beginning of the academic year in schools throughout five cities in Cameroon. Despite setbacks, including the COVID-19 pandemic and a lack of resources, Sabina, in partnership with STEMpreneur, trained AfriTech Hub team members to serve as facilitators for the STEM clubs. “Like every leader faced with challenges, I knew that they were inevitable, and what makes people different is their attitude when faced with these challenges,” wrote Sabina. Last week’s STEM Club Competition convened student representatives from AfriTech Hub’s partner schools to congratulate them for their hard work and facilitate activities in video game development, animation, electronics and more. “The students, ever so enthusiastic, developed video games and build a traffic lights system and a lie detector machine using Arduino electronics,” wrote Sabina. “We are extremely proud of what these students have accomplished in the course of the year and during this event. The energy here was contagious.”
Report Date...: 5/31/21
Fellow shares how she led Technovation through COVID-19
Fellow(s): Mutriba Akhmedova
2015 fellow Mutriba Akhmedova was interviewed this month by
Technovation founder and CEO Tara Chklovski, speaking about
Technovation’s success in Tajikistan and how she worked to
engage girls through the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to
working as a project coordinator of TechWomen fellow-led
T.I.M.E for Women, Mutriba launched Technovation in Tajikistan
and serves as its chapter ambassador.
In the interview Mutriba shared that, in year two of Technovation
Tajikistan, enrollment went from 50 to 300 girls. Year three, held
during the pandemic, Mutriba and her team registered 600 girls while expanding to new regions of the country.
She also spoke about the challenges the girls faced during the pandemic as Technovation programming
transitioned to a virtual format and offered new ways of learning. Mutriba engaged girls online via Telegram,
assigning them weekly tasks and creating friendly competition. She also provided professional development
opportunities for the mentors, encouraging them to expand their skills. When asked what inspires her, Mutriba
said, “What inspires me is when I hear that I’ve helped inspire someone else.”
Report Date...: 5/31/21
Fellows speak on Grace Hopper Celebration EMEA panel
Fellow(s): Mai Temraz (2014), Haneen Abu Farha (2015) and Sameera Salameh (2020-2021)
Country: Palestinian Territories
Cohort: 2014, 2015, 2020-2021
This week, fellows Mai Temraz (2014), Haneen Abu Farha (2015) and Sameera Salameh (2020-2021) were featured panelists at vGHC EMEA, the first-ever virtual Grace Hopper Celebration for Europe, Middle East and Africa. With a theme of Together We Build, the Grace Hopper Celebration’s EMEA conference seeks to celebrate women in technology worldwide, building new networks and creating new opportunities for women in the EMEA region.
The fellows were joined by Manara founder Iliana Montauk in their session themed on how COVID-19 has changed the landscape of remote work for women in MENA. Together, they discussed how women in MENA can leverage remote work opportunities in order to accelerate their careers and goals. “You cannot apply to international jobs in same way you do in your country,” said Haneen, who works as a diversity sourcer for Yardstick Management as well as a technical recruiter for Upwork. “Keep in mind, why should the company hire you from overseas to come and join them? You can apply to any job — you just need to position yourself in the right place to succeed.” The group also spoke about the types of skills applicants can develop in order to stand out in a wider pool of candidates, including advancing their soft skills. Sameera, a backend engineer, spoke about the challenges of remote work, including time zone differences and the importance of setting boundaries. “The world is changing,” said Mai as she concluded the panel. “We encourage everyone here to take advantage of those opportunities post-COVID.”
Report Date...: 5/24/21
Fellow holds science camps for kids around the globe
Fellow(s): Saba Rasheed Malik
2017 fellow Saba Rasheed Malik launched a summer STEAM camp for kids, bringing students through DIY lessons that teach the fundamentals of STEM. The program is a part of weePro, the STEM education program Saba co-founded that teaches young students about computational thinking, robotics, programming and more.
The camp began this week with Demo Week, three days of free programming that includes learning about science through common household items as well as coding from scratch. Students joined Demo Week’s first event from around the world, including the United States, Saudi Arabia, the UK and Pakistan. The second event brought students from multiple regions of Pakistan as well as London for a coding session where they learned how to build a computer game. Saba offers discounts to girls as a way to encourage them to participate in STEM. “It is a step forward to respond to gender parity in science and technology,” she said.
Report Date...: 5/24/21
Alumnae of Kyrgyzstan guide new fellows with action plans
Fellow(s): Nazira Sheraly, Aiturgan Zulpukarova, Elena Chigibaeva, Gulzire Minbaeva
Cohort: 2016, 2017, 2018
Although TechWomen 2020-2021 has concluded, country teams continue to work on their action plans, focusing on project implementation with support from seed grants that all 21 teams were offered this year. In IIE’s Action Plan Implementation course, fellows can access comprehensive materials meant to support and guide them. One resource is a video from the TechWomen fellows who founded Techaim — 2016 fellow Nazira Sheraly, 2017 fellow Aiturgan Zulpukarova and 2018 fellows Elena Chigibaeva and Gulzire Minbaeva – that outlines successful program implementation and shares how to create impactful projects.
The AEIF-winning Techaim project provides mentorship to women and girls to grow and develop their STEM skills and expand their knowledge in business, leadership and more. Since it’s launch, the fellows have expanded their programming to include TechKyzdar, a digital skills program for girls launched with support from UNICEF Kyrgyzstan, as well as an online mentorship course for women. In the video, the alumnae emphasize the importance of defining team roles and responsibilities as well as evaluating and monitoring performance, guiding 2020-2021 fellows through implementing a high-impact, sustainable project. In addition to sharing the importance of flexibility and adaptability, the alumnae encourage fellows to stay focused on their mission: “Just like in TechWomen, the brightest result is how the girls change, how they feel empowered and how they want to be mentors, changemakers and inspirational people for the coming generations,” said Aiturgan.
Report Date...: 5/17/21
Mentor(s): Sepideh Nasiri
Company: Women of MENA in Technology
Mentor Type: Impact
This week, TechWomen mentor Sepideh Nasiri authored a post on
Entrepreneur, sharing actionable ways companies can ensure pay
equity, hire more fairly and creating lasting change from the top
down. Sepideh, a diversity, equity and inclusion advocate, is also the
founder and CEO of Women of MENA in Technology.
“Companies need to take bold and intentional action now; anything
less perpetuates an ecosystem that fails women,” writes Sepideh in
the article. Through her six tips – which include readjusting salary
and benefits, revisiting hiring strategy and approaching diversity as a
spectrum rather than a checklist – Sepideh hopes that companies
can make measurable improvements that better serve employees
and companies. “Recreating the workplace is everyone’s
responsibility,” she said.
Report Date...: 5/17/21
With EduClick Careers fellow connects young people to jobs
Fellow(s): Angele Messa
2019 fellow Angele Messa has launched EduClick Careers, a job
portal with a mission to help one million young people access
jobs and other opportunities by 2025. Angele is the founder of
EduClick, an EdTech platform that offers alternative learning
methods for those who don’t have access to formal education
in Cameroon. With both offline and online educational
methods, EduClick supports displaced people, recent graduates
and young professionals who are looking to gain marketable
In addition to listing the latest job opportunities and
scholarships for young people, EduClick Careers offers
resume/CV assistance, support creating a business plan and
tools to create an online presence. By offering a comprehensive search engine for young people, Angele hopes
to democratize job access, matching talent to opportunity regardless of geographic location and gender.
Report Date...: 5/17/21
Fellow will be first Egyptian instructor on LinkedIn Learning
Fellow(s): Nevien Magdy
During TechWomen, fellow Nevien Magdy and the 2019 cohort had an opportunity to visit LinkedIn for Action Plan Workshop II, where they networked with LinkedIn employees, discussed social impact issues, received feedback on their action plans and spoke about how to use tech for good.
In 2020, Nevien saw a post on the TechWomen Alumnae Facebook group from LinkedIn Professional Mentor Jacqueline Barrett sharing a call-out for Africa-based instructors on LinkedIn Learning, LinkedIn’s platform that offers video courses taught by industry experts in the technology, creative and business fields. Nevien, the founder and CEO of UXit and Origin Technology Solutions, decided to apply, sending in her resume and sharing how she learned about the opportunity. After working with a production studio in Egypt to create an audition tape, Nevien was accepted as LinkedIn’s first LinkedIn Learning instructor from Egypt. “I was astonished,” said Nevien. “I didn’t expect to be accepted, but they said I was the fastest audition to be approved.”
This fall, Nevien will travel to the San Francisco Bay Area to LinkedIn’s studios to record a course on User Experience and how design leadership impacts the software industry; she expects the course to be published on the platform in 2022. “I would have never reached such an opportunity without being part of TechWomen,” she said.
Report Date...: 5/10/21
Fellow’s students present projects to King and Queen of Jordan
Fellow(s): Ala’a Agha Karss
In 2019, founder of Superiors Tech Hub and 2017 fellow Ala’a Agha Karss
collaborated with Princess Taghrid Institute for Development and Training
to design an immersive tech and business training for rural youth in
Jordan. For two months, Alaa’s project, “Productive Youth,” trained its 35
participants in design thinking, digital marketing, storytelling and more,
guiding them on how to create businesses for local and handmade
Last month, Princess Taghrid Institute organized an exhibition to
showcase the students’ projects and products to King Abdullah II bin Al-
Hussein and Queen Rania Al-Abdullah. There, the King and Queen walked
through the exhibit, speaking to Alaa’s students about their training and
seeing their handicrafts and products on display. “I personally witnessed a
long journey for the students, a journey of self-development and creating
their products with unmatched determination,” said Ala’a.
Report Date...: 5/3/21
Fellow’s project AfChix expands reach with USAID funding
Fellow(s): Houda Chakiri
2012 fellow Houda Chakiri is a board member and project coordinator for AfChix, an initiative that addresses the digital gender divide through digital skills trainings, supporting women-led enterprises and advocating for digital inclusion. The initiative – already named a round one winner in 2018 – was recently named a round three winner of the Women Connect Challenge, a USAID-funded challenge that solicits global solutions that transform the ways women access and use technology.
Round three of the challenge, which focused on scale, replicability and private sector partnerships supporting emerging technologies, awarded four initiatives that are advancing women’s digital development. The AfChix project, “Scaling up Women-Led Community Networks for Women’s Prosperity,” will work with community networks in Kenya, Morocco, Namibia and Senegal to harness the power of digital technologies, partnerships and collaborations for the prosperity of women. “We will empower underserved women communities to use technology to improve their livelihoods and small businesses,” said Houda, who will work as Morocco’s project coordinator to identify and customize digital skills and literacy training programs for women. The digital training will be delivered via MOOCs (Massively Open Online Courses) in order to reach the most women in Africa, and will focus on using smartphones, digital marketing, working with online customers and more. “We hope to reach one million women aged 18 and above to strengthen their participation in the digital society,” says Houda.
Report Date...: 4/26/21