Impact Stories from Environmental Sustainability Policy Area
Mentor(s): 2019 Emerging Leaders
On Sunday, IIE welcomed the arrival of the 2019 cohort of 108 Emerging Leaders from 21 countries. This year’s Emerging Leaders will join TechWomen’s network of over 300 Professional Mentors, Cultural Mentors and Impact Coaches – and an alumnae community of over 600 fellows and 700 mentors – as they embark on five weeks of mentorship and professional exchange.
This year’s 40 host company partners include Glassdoor, 23andMe and Salesforce; the program is also welcoming a group of new host companies, including Airbnb, SurveyMonkey, Okta and Zume. 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.
Leading into the program, three 2019 Emerging Leaders wrote guest posts on the TechWomen blog in the series Emerging Leader Voices, sharing their perspectives as women in STEM and highlighting and their achievements, challenges and life lessons. Follow along as we provide #techwomen19 updates on Twitter, Instagram, and the TechWomen blog!
Report Date...: 9/23/19
Fellow featured as keynote speaker at energy conference
Fellow(s): Charity Wanjiku
2017 fellow of Kenya Charity Wanjiku was a featured keynote speaker and panelist at the Future Energy East Africa conference, held this week in Lagos, Nigeria. Charity is the co-founder and COO of Strauss Energy, a company that brings cost-effective and renewable energy to power off-grid areas in Kenya and beyond.
Charity, who Forbes named one of The World’s Top 50 Women in Tech 2018, shared her expertise on establishing and operating mini-grid systems in underserved communities. She spoke about achieving successful implementation through community participation, community ownership and community understanding. During her keynote at the Women in Power Luncheon, Charity spoke about women-owned businesses in the energy sector. She emphasized the importance of creating business opportunities for women, and explored issues of gender equality in the male-dominated clean energy sector.
Next month, Charity will be attending Women in Tech in Finland, speaking alongside former Yahoo CEO and president Marissa Mayer and other leading women in technology.
Report Date...: 9/16/19
Fellow holds seminar on TechWomen mentorship learnings
Fellow(s): Zuleyha Achilova
2018 fellow Zuleyha Achilova recently held a seminar on best practices in waste management, sharing her key TechWomen mentorship learnings on innovative waste processing. Her session was held in the Lebap region of Turkmenistan, an area that will soon have its first waste processing facility.
Her talk, attended by local representatives and entrepreneurs, was themed on the solid waste management practices she learned at her TechWomen host company, Northgate Enviromental Management. During her session, she shared common household waste sorting practices in San Francisco, outlining the San Francisco Bay Area’s processing, composting, recycling and landfill practices. “All of the topics I shared can be applied in Turkmenistan in the future,” says Zuleyha. “This new facility will ensure the protection of human health and provide an efficient, reliable and well-operated collection system in the town of Farap.” Zuleyha will continue to support the new facility, and is currently creating a public awareness campaign that educates students and teachers on waste management.
Report Date...: 9/9/19
Fellows establish Uzbekistan’s first green tech accelerator
Fellow(s): Saida Yusupova, Elena Selezneva
Recently, 2016 fellows Saida Yusupova and Elena Selezneva organized
Uzbekistan’s first green startup accelerator program. The accelerator,
Water Solutions Innovation Lab, was established for green business
startups that are working to advance green technologies and solve water
The accelerator was implemented by Saida’s company, Green Business
Innovation, and founded with a mission to create awareness about
environmental challenges and bring the latest innovative technologies to
the agricultural and environmental sectors within the country. Earlier this
year, the innovation lab accepted 12 startups into an intensive six month
program, and became the first Uzbek program to partner with
ClimateLaunchpad, the world’s largest green business ideas competition.
During the program, ClimateLaunchpad’s founder and lead trainer
traveled to Uzbekistan to conduct a two-day bootcamp for participating startups.
The program culminated with a Demo Day in August, held in partnership with ClimateLaunchpad, where the teams pitched a group of judges and local investors. The two winning startups were invited to the ClimateLaunchpad Grand Finale in Amsterdam, which will be held in November. VIOM, the team that won first place, consists of two women who are producing water-soluble and biodegradable products for agricultural applications.
Report Date...: 9/2/19
Fellow speaks at international conference in Japan
Fellow(s): Patu Ndango Fen
Last month, 2017 fellow Patu Ndango Fen was a featured panelist at the Tokyo International Conference on African Development. The conference is initiative of the Japanese government and held in partnership with the United Nations Development Program, World Bank and the African Union Commission.
Patu is the founder of Closed Loop System Ventures, a waste management social enterprise, as well as the president of its foundation. In one panel, “Human Capital Development for Youth Entrepreneurship,” Patu spoke about innovative education approaches that empower and engage youth. “Africa has a young population and is experiencing a rapid growth rate,” she said. “Young people should be encouraged to venture into entrepreneurship in order to create jobs and contribute to resolving pressing social, environmental and economic challenges.”
Report Date...: 9/2/19
Fellow accepted into bioscience accelerator program
Fellow(s): Dr. Tiisetso Lephoto
Country: South Africa
This month, 2016 fellow of South Africa Dr. Tiisetso Lephoto was accepted into FemBioBiz, an accelerator program with a mission to support, connect and empower ambitious women entrepreneurs in agri-food, biowaste and health sectors.
Tiisetso, who has a PhD in microbiology and biotechnology, recently launched Nematech, a biotech startup that will supply farmers with biopesticides and other eco-friendly products to control problematic pests. She was one of 12 women selected for the program and will soon begin a bootcamp followed by a pitching competition to investors. Tiisetso has received multiple accolades and awards for her research, including the Excellence in Science Engagement award from the National Research Foundation.
Report Date...: 6/10/19
Fellow presents at international climate action conference
Fellow(s): Patu Ndango Fen
This week, 2017 fellow Patu Ndango Fen presented at the 2019 International Conference on Climate Action, held in Heidelberg, Germany. Organized by the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, the conference convened government officials, UN representatives and the scientific community to discuss ways to improve collaboration and coordination for international sustainable development.
Patu is the founder and managing director or of Closed-Loop System Ventures Foundation, a waste management social enterprise that turns organic plant and animals waste into organic fertilizer. In her workshop, “Energizing Cities,” Patu and conference participants discussed policies that can support local renewable energy implementation. Using case studies from her work, Patu presented on developing innovative ways of managing waste in Cameroon, introducing the challenges, opportunities and future plans for innovative waste management systems.
Report Date...: 5/20/19
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
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
2018 seed grant winners launch Internet of Things initiative
Fellow(s): Farah Shouman, Mel Azzi, Ryme Assaad and Stephanie Bassil
2018 seed grant-winning Team Lebanon, comprising Farah Shouman, Mel Azzi, Ryme Assaad and Stephanie Bassil, have initiated their STEM-based impact project, My ioLab. The initiative provides opportunities for youth to innovate and refine their Internet of Things (IoT) knowledge, identifying solutions for the environment, security, home automation and industrial sectors. Through Ryme and Farah’s TechWomen mentorships at Mozilla, the team was able to leverage the company’s Things Gateway, an online resource that provides an open source IoT framework upon which anyone can build. Last month, the fellows hosted a hands-on coding workshop for teenage girls, using an environmental case study to show the relevance of IoT in solving real-world challenges. The event was an introduction to coding for many of the girls, helping them acquire skills and gain exposure to possibilities in the tech industry. Last month, three members of the team joined the TechWomen delegation to Uzbekistan, hosting an IoT workshop alongside Farah’s TechWomen Professional Mentor and Mozilla senior project manager Kathy Giori.
Next month, the fellows are partnering with Girls Got IT and the Lebanese League for Women in Business to host an innovation and IoT workshop for girls from schools throughout Lebanon.
Report Date...: 4/1/19