Impact Stories from Environmental Sustainability Policy Area
Fellow selected as first recipient of the Kerr fellowship
Fellow(s): Rasha Abu Dayyeh
Country: Palestinian Territories
2017 fellow Rasha Abu Dayyeh was named the first recipient of the University of California, Berkeley Kerr fellowship, a scholarship that supports professionals from the MENA region whose work focuses on the environment, natural resources and peace-building through environmental programs. The scholarship is part of the Beahrs Environmental Leadership Program (ELP), a UC Berkeley program founded in 2001 that has trained 731 professionals from 121 countries The Kerr fellowship was created in celebration of the ELP’s 20th year.
Rasha, a water and environmental engineer, was mentored at the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission during TechWomen 2017. During her professional mentorship she visited UC Berkeley, where she learned about Beahrs ELP. After returning to Ramallah – and after applying to Beahrs ELP every year – Rasha was finally accepted with a partial scholarship, but was unable to secure the funds to attend. After being named a recipient of the Kerr fellowship, Rasha began online classes this year, and hopes to be able to attend UC Berkeley for in-person courses next year. During the program, Rasha and a group of environmental leaders began Heroines of Earth, a project that amplifies women’s contributions towards defending the environment and creating a culture of sustainability. In a UC Berkeley feature, Rasha spoke about the importance of bringing international leaders together to create effective change: “The clock is ticking on climate change, and I believe in the power of collective action. To be able to heal the world, we all need to work together,” she said.
Report Date...: 11/22/21
With lessons from TechWomen fellow holds engineering event
Fellow(s): Lucy Mutinda
This week, 2016 fellow Lucy Mutinda co-organized the 28th Institution of Engineers of Kenya Conference, a five-day event themed on how engineers are accelerating sustainable economic recovery during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Lucy is the CEO and founder of Ecocycle, a company that provides zero-waste products and services. Founded in 2014, Ecocycle turns sewage into clean water, installs water recycling machines in homes and hotels throughout Kenya and promotes water re-use and environmental conservation. She is also the founder of Envirologic, a company that offers consulting services as well as a sustainable dry toilet system that functions without water or chemicals. Lucy serves as the first vice president of the Institution of Engineers of Kenya (IEK), and leads publicity, branding and marketing of all IEK partnerships and events. As she leverages social media to spread awareness about engineering in Kenya, Lucy is using skills she learned from TechWomen 2016: “I acquired my social media skills at the training that was delivered at Autodesk on the power of social media,” she said. “I have used those skills for my individual brand, my company and now IEK.”
Report Date...: 11/15/21
Fellow speaks about climate action at UN COP 26
Fellow(s): Rim Assaad
This month, 2018 fellow Rim Assaad was invited to attend the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 26) in Glasgow, United Kingdom, speaking on two panels about climate action in Lebanon. The annual summit convened world leaders, businesses and citizens for twelve days of talks themed on the Paris Agreement goals and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. Rim is the co-founder of RISE2030, a community-led initiative managed by Sustain The World Org and Sustainable Empowerment for Youth International. Through their education and training programs – which include solar installation, literacy training and support for women farmers –RISE2030 aims to mobilize women and youth to create sustainable communities and contribute to Lebanon’s energy transition. In 2021, RISE2030 distributed 46,000 meals and created over 2,000 jobs.
Last year, RISE2030 won a United Nations Global Climate Action Award in the “Women for Results” category. After delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Rim represented RISE2030 at COP 26 as a featured guest and panelist, sharing her work addressing challenges in Lebanon. In her panel, Advancing Gender Equity in Climate Action, Rim spoke about Lebanon’s current energy crisis that was exacerbated by COVID-19 and the 2020 Beirut explosion. She said that RISE2030 aims to be a part of the solution, working to train and mobilize all-women teams to address power grid issues. “Creating all-women teams is a bold statement,” Rim said. “Being a woman in Lebanon has never been harder, yet women are proving to be leaders of change.”
Report Date...: 11/8/21
At BeMore Bootcamp fellow empowers girls in green tech
Fellow(s): Damilola Asaleye
2020-2021 fellow Damilola Asaleye trained and mentored nearly 400 girls throughout three states in Nigeria, teaching them about renewable energy, energy management and how to become a future technology leader.
Damilola is the co-founder and COO of Ashdam Solar Company Limited, a renewable energy company that brings alternative energy solutions to Nigeria. She also founded Girls and Women Technological Empowerment Organisation (GWTEO), a non-profit that empowers girls and women to be technology leaders in ICT and green technology. This month, Ashdam Solar was invited to be the technical partner on renewable energy and climate change mitigation training for the BeMore Summer Bootcamp for Girls in Naija, a summer training initiative from the First Lady of Ondo State, Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu. The week-long program trained girls in ICT, green technology, sexual health, self-defense and confidence-building skills.
During the bootcamp, Damilola and her team led 380 girls in a training on solar technology and the basics of solar installation, followed by a hands-on project where the girls connected solar cells to make a panel and generate electricity. “We were there for impact,” said Damilola. “The girls were saying ‘We are super girls, we can be what we want to be, we can BE MORE.’”
Report Date...: 9/20/21
Fellows work together to inspire youth in Turkmenistan
Fellow(s): Merjen Saparmyradova, Maral Rejepova, Nasiba Charykulyyeva
Cohort: 2019, 2020-2021
This month, 2019 fellow Merjen Saparmyradova participated in the UNFPA Turkmenistan International Youth Day celebration, recruiting fellows Maral Rejepova (2019) and Nasiba Charykulyyeva (2020-2021) to help her educate and motivate young people in Turkmenistan.
The three-day event offered online seminars and training for youth, featuring sessions on emerging technologies, cyber security, women in tech and more. Merjen, who is currently a visiting lecturer at the International University for the Humanities and Development, led the Youth and Girls in Technology session for 150 youth ages 10-24.
Merjen began the session with a presentation on cyber security and the future of technology, and Maral shared about her work with 5G technology and her TechWomen mentorship at Qualcomm. “Speaking about my mentorship caused great admiration, motivated them and gave a clear understanding that they can reach heights if they pursue their goals,” she said. Nasiba concluded with a presentation on nanotechnology and the manufacturing of the third generation of solar cells. Each session was followed by a Q&A where the participants could ask the fellows questions about their fields of expertise. “I saw sparking excitement in the eyes of our youth when they asked us questions,” said Merjen. “We aimed to come together and work with with youth to build a more inclusive and sustainable future for all.”
Report Date...: 8/30/21
Two fellows named to a Top 5 Nigerian Women in Tech list
Fellow(s): Carolyn Seaman, Olamide Ayeni
This month, 2017 fellows Carolyn Seaman and Olamide Ayeni-Babajide were named to the Top 5 Nigerian Women in Technology list from WebNation Africa, a media company sharing stories of African business, politics and culture. The list features five women who are creating change and positively impacting communities in Nigeria and beyond.
Carolyn is the founder of Girls Voices, an initiative that trains and empowers adolescent girls in human rights, STEM skills and leadership. Girls Voices has reached over 300,000 girls through their programs, and has collaborated with the UN to create policies that seek to end child marriage, violence against women and human trafficking. Carolyn was also recently featured in a World Pulse #SheTransformsTech article about her work with girls in Nigeria during the pandemic.
Olamide founded Pearl Recycling, an initiative that collects waste such as plastic, car tires, newspapers and other recyclables and trains youth and women to transform them into furniture and upcycled items.
Olamide was recently included in an International Youth Day campaign by the British High Commission in Nigeria, sharing her thoughts on how young people have the power to create change: “We hope that young people will stop waiting for the world to call them to the table when they can actually build theirs,” she said.
Report Date...: 8/23/21
Fellows hold summer camp for over 100 students
Fellow(s): Damilola Asaleye, Ehi Aigiomawu, Flora Asibe, Happy Amos, Olayinka Fagbemiro and Oluwatoyin Adegoke
This week, 2020-2021 fellows Damilola Asaleye, Ehi Aigiomawu, Flora Asibe, Happy Amos, Olayinka Fagbemiro and Oluwatoyin Adegoke successfully hosted a five day summer camp for children in partnership with the Girls and Women Technological Empowerment Organisation (GWTEO). The EduChamps summer camp is part of the 2020-2021 Nigerian fellows’ action plan project created during the TechWomen program to reduce the number of out-of-school children in Nigeria.
The camp was attended by over 100 secondary school students, most of whom were girls. Over five days, the students were placed into break out sessions where each group discussed leadership, efficiency, upcycling, solar energy and sustainability. They also received training on various topics including entrepreneurship, financial literacy, renewable energy, team building, sustainable agriculture and more. In addition to workshops and training, the students heard inspiring keynotes from women in STEM who encouraged them to be ambitious, dream big and believe they can be world leaders.
The goal of the camp was to provide an opportunity for students to network, learn leadership and technical skills and visit educational institutions during the summer break. “Through this program, we believe that these kids are better prepared and inspired to return to school having the right mindset on the importance of education and are empowered with the resources to enable them remain in school,” Flora said. Next, the fellows will continue to work with partners to further prepare the students for the upcoming fall school term.
Report Date...: 8/16/21
Fellows serve as TechGirls Pitch and Project Mentors
Fellow(s): CSA and MENA fellows
Recently, a TechWomen-TechGirls Summit was held where over 100 TechGirls participants from 12 countries presented their pitches on community-based project initiatives to address issues with the environment, education systems, the gender gap, technology disparities, mental health and more. Select TechWomen fellows served as mentors to TechGirls participants, assisting them from the beginning of the process with solution ideation all the way to this pitch summit. Despite their young age, both the fellows and session facilitators were impressed by the TechGirls participants’ commitment to achieve their project despite the constraints due to the ongoing pandemic. They noted the girls’ outstanding professionalism that allowed for feedback on each project to be shared effectively and for concrete next steps to be planned all while making meaningful connections with one another. “This TechWomen-TechGirls Summit is the perfect moment to understand the impact of bringing women and girls from different countries, sectors and backgrounds,” said Salma Gherraby, 2019 fellow and project mentor for TechGirls Morocco. “While discussing issues around the world, they all show the importance of STEM to resolve those problems.”
Report Date...: 8/16/21
Fellow named Anitab.org Abie Award winner
Fellow(s): Ainura Sagyn
This week 2017 fellow Ainura Sagyn was named an Anitab.org Abie Award winner, recognized for her career success, her commitment to her community and her dedication to improving the world. Ainura is the co-founder and CEO of Tazar, a mobile app that seeks to reduce waste in landfills by connecting waste producers with recyclers. She is currently studying for her master’s in computer vision and image processing at the Autonomous University of Madrid. Ainura was named the Student of Vision Award winner for using technology to solve leading issues and working to inspire more women to enter technology fields. In addition to receiving a cash prize, Ainura will be speaking at the Virtual Grace Hopper Celebration later this year, presenting on when ideas meet action. “Every idea and opportunity I’ve had I turned to action, from mentoring girls to organizing a coding training for schoolgirls in all regions of Kyrgyzstan, or helping the planet by using Tazar to reduce the pervasive problem of litter and waste in Kyrgyzstan,” she said.Read More »
Report Date...: 8/9/21
Fellow named sustainability ambassador by Egypt government
Fellow(s): Ghada Amin
2018 fellow Ghada Amin was named an ambassador of sustainable development by Egypt’s Ministry of Planning and Economic Development, an initiative that seeks to build capacity around environmental sustainability through training and partnerships with universities, NGO’s and the private sector. Ghada is part of a small group of ambassadors chosen out of over 7,000 candidates. Ghada, a researcher and engineer in the field of sustainable development, will soon enter certification training in order to learn more about sustainable development, the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Egypt’s sustainability priorities. After, Ghada will begin working with schools and youth for training on the UN SDGs, educating them in order to help create a culture of sustainability. Previously, Ghada attended the UN International Day of Women and Girls in Science Assembly in New York, sharing best practices on advancing women and girls in science.Read More »
Report Date...: 8/9/21