Impact Stories from Environmental Sustainability Policy Area
With AU grant fellow begins research on sugarcane in Kenya
Fellow(s): Edith Mugehu
2018 fellow Edith Mugehu was named a recipient of the 2021 Intra-Africa Academic Mobility Scheme, an African Union program that supports higher education cooperation between countries in Africa by providing financial support to educational institutions and supporting its students.
Edith is a PhD candidate in plant breeding and biotechnology at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, as well as a research associate at the Zimbabwe Sugar Association Experiment Station. Recently, she began her six-month research stay at Kenyatta University in Kenya, where she is conducting ground-breaking research that will contribute to food security and poverty alleviation in Sub-Saharan Africa. She is working on identifying beneficial genes in Zimbabwean sugarcane germplasm, as well as developing a tissue culture protocol that will be adopted by the Zimbabwe sugar industry in order to help farmers reduce costs associated with the propagation of sugarcane seed. Since TechWomen, Edith has been awarded all five grant or scholarship programs she has applied for. “I bloomed after and because of TechWomen,” she said. “I got a confidence boost. I can address any audience without fearing that I’m not good enough. I can now set bigger research goals because I realize how extraordinary I am. Because of TechWomen, I always want to make other young women and girls feel the same way and look at life with the same ambition and hope.”
Report Date...: 7/5/21
Fellows featured for International Women in Engineering Day
Fellow(s): Shakira Nyiratuza and Zani Gichuki
2019 fellows Shakira Nyiratuza and Zani Gichuki were featured in a video from MASS Design Group in celebration of International Women in Engineering Day, observed annually on June 23. Shakira and Zani both work as structural engineers at MASS, a U.S.-based architecture firm that leads purpose-driven projects, focuses on using sustainable materials and promotes local economies. In the video feature, Zani speaks about the importance of inclusivity in their field: “We need way more women in engineering in general,” she says. “We can’t expect people to build things the way we want them to be built if we don’t have a say in it.” Shakira shares that although the path to engineering is difficult, it is worth it: “Being an engineer is not an easy journey. However, it requires you to be focused, determined and never give up,” she says.Read More »
Report Date...: 6/28/21
Fellow wins first place at Ideathon for social impact
Fellow(s): Menna Ayad
This week, 2019 fellow Menna Ayad was named first place winner at Fekretek, a competition and platform for Egyptian women with business ideas that create impact and address the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. Launched this year, the competition is sponsored by Vodafone Egypt in partnership with the National Council for Women, UN Women and the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology.
Menna, a network consulting engineer at Cisco, created Fosha, a mobile app that allows its users – both Egyptians and tourists – to discover Egypt in just a few clicks by accessing local tours, trips and activities. “Egypt relies heavily on tourism, and it got affected by the pandemic,” said Menna. “It is a critical time to introduce Fosha.” After Menna’s TechWomen mentorship at Twitter, she was inspired to find a way to use her background in computer science and app development. “At university, I fell in love with how a mobile app can reach millions of people and make their lives easier. During my mentorship at Twitter, I relived that passion again. It triggered my goal of creating a mobile app that can ease someone’s life.” Through Fosha, Menna hopes to digitally transform the tourism sector in Egypt and create a digital channel for service providers to market their offerings. As first place winner, she received a cash prize to kickstart her app, as well as access to entrepreneurship, marketing and finance training from the National Council for Women and UN Women.
Report Date...: 4/19/21
Fellow selected for Africa Innovation Fellowship
Fellow(s): Sirri Nelly Forbi
Recently, 2019 fellow Sirri Nelly Forbi was selected for the Africa Innovation Fellowship Accelerated Development Programme, a business and personal development program for female founders and co-founders. Sirri Nelly is one of eight women selected from a pool of candidates from across the African continent.
The nine-month accelerator is hosted by WomEng and the Royal Academy of Engineering, and includes comprehensive leadership development, networking, pitch training and continued mentorship. In addition to working as a researcher for Cameroon’s Ministry of Scientific Research and Innovation, Sirri Nelly is the co-founder of Green Growth Initiatives Solutions and Technologies (GGIST), a platform for professionals who are addressing Cameroon’s environmental challenges. Through her work, Sirri Nelly hopes to bring cost-effective clean energy solutions to communities throughout Cameroon.
Report Date...: 3/29/21
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
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
Fellows host second annual TechWomen Nigeria Conference
Fellow(s): Hannah Kabir, Busayo Durojaiye, Joy Agene, Ogechi Onuoha, Ogo Maduewesi, Azizat Gbadegesin, Oluremi Hamid, Carolyn Seaman, Hannatu Onogu
Cohort: 2013, 2014, 2016, 2017, 2018
Last week, TechWomen fellows from multiple cohorts came together to host the second annual TechWomen Nigeria Conference, convening women in technology throughout Nigeria for a one-day virtual event. Fellows Hannah Kabir (2013), Busayo Durojaiye (2014), Joy Agene (2014), Ogechi Onuoha (2014), Ogo Maduewesi (2014), Azizat Gbadegesin (2016), Oluremi Hamid (2016), Carolyn Seaman (2017) and Hannatu Onogu (2018) collaborated to deliver this year’s event themed on technology for economic and emotional well-being. TechWomen Director Katie Zee delivered opening remarks, highlighting the impact Nigerian fellows have created in their communities and beyond.
“We have selected this theme in sensitivity to the events of the year 2020, to be able to engage on key topics such as Artificial Intelligence, healthcare, automation, education and more,” said Busayo. The conference was co-sponsored by Global Tea Party, the event series founded by TechWomen mentor Dr. Jeannice Samani, who also delivered the opening keynote, “The Next Big Wave: Transformation of the Tech Economy.” Jeannice served as a Facilitator for the TechWomen 2020-2021 Professional Interest Groups, and invited Emerging Leader Flora Asibe to participate; Flora, an agricultural researcher, moderated a breakout room that discussed using technology for food security and wellness. After a series of opening talks, attendees were split into breakout sessions moderated by fellows and local tech leaders to discuss new tech trends, Artificial Intelligence and how to boost well-being in a remote work environment.
Report Date...: 12/21/20
In article fellow is recognized for work fighting deforestation
Fellow(s): Davephine Tholley
Country: Sierra Leone
2018 fellow Davephine Tholley was featured in an article from The Urban Activist, an online publication that features stories of positive social impact in cities throughout the world. The article features Davephine’s recent work combatting deforestation in Freetown, Sierra Leone, where she is studying the damage of deforestation and working to restore Freetown’s natural infrastructure.
Davephine, a civil engineer and operations manager for Water4Ever, is also a part of the Women4Climate mentorship program, an initiative that empowers and supports women climate leaders. She was recently part of an assessment studying how forest felling depletes water levels and affects the supply of drinking water for the people of Freetown. “I have seen firsthand the challenges people face to access water,” said Davephine. “They are basically cut off from water supply.” After recently visiting a region in urgent need of reforestation, Davephine worked with local authorities and volunteers to plant 500 trees in an effort to reforest and restore the area.
Report Date...: 12/14/20
Mentor(s): Reshma Singh
Company: Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Mentor Type: Professional
This month, Professional Mentor Reshma Singh served as a “Dream Speaker,” speaking to students at Grovetown Middle School in Georgia about her career in architecture and renewable energy. Reshma’s talk was facilitated by DreamWakers, a Washington, DC-based non-profit that virtually connects classrooms to career role models.
Reshma, a program director at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, spoke about growing up in a remote region of India and how her father influenced her to make a difference in the world. She also explained her work in renewable energy, sharing with the students why mindful energy use is important for the health of the planet. After she was asked what skills students should develop, Reshma spoke about the importance of curiosity, reading from diverse sources and developing arithmetic skills to use data to tell their stories. “It was such a refreshing experience hearing from the bright young minds, and I left with such a feeling of wonderment and optimism after my time with them,” Reshma said.
Report Date...: 11/23/20
Fellow featured as a leader in architecture
Fellow(s): Charity Wanjiku
2017 fellow Charity Wanjiku was highlighted in the Daily Nation newspaper, featured as a woman who is “rocking the world of architecture” in Africa. In addition to founding energy solution company Strauss Energy, Charity is the co-founder, director and architect for Trioscape Space Planning Services. Through Trioscape, Charity designs residential and commercial buildings, including a 500 car capacity underground parking facility at Nairobi’s Holy Family Minor Basilica. She is also a member of the National Construction Authority, a committee that is evaluating alternative and sustainable building materials.
In the article, Charity speaks about her journey to becoming a successful architect and the people who inspired her along the way. Despite being told that architecture was a course for boys, she committed herself to becoming the first girl to enroll. “We need to encourage girls and let them know they can do it,” she says. “We also need to normalize women into taking up STEM-related courses.”
Report Date...: 10/5/20