Impact Stories from Environmental Sustainability Policy Area
A day with survivors of the Genocide against the Tutsi
Fellow(s): TechWomen delegation trip to Rwanda
The delegation had the honor and opportunity on day four to be welcomed warmly by Impinganzima Hostel in Bugesera District, a community for elderly survivors of the Genocide Against the Tutsi. The home, primarily occupied by women, has created a community where residents feel safe, supported and connected.
The 2018 fellows of Rwanda coordinated the visit to Impinganzima, introducing us to the community and sharing how they’ve worked to support residents through their TechWomen seed grant-winning initiative, Healing Together. Since the launch of Healing Together, the fellows have worked alongside the coordinators and psychologists at Impinganzima to bring customized training sessions on group therapy and group counseling. “We created Healing Together to support, activate, advocate and help create a network of counselors around the country who would help women widows and survivors,” said fellow Noella Nibakuze. “TechWomen pushed us to think beyond ourselves and think about our communities.”
Despite a language barrier, mentors and fellows spent a morning with the residents playing games, knitting and dancing. Although the women have faced unimaginable hardship, the delegates were uplifted by the true sense of community and home that Impinganzima provides. “When we reached this home, we found rest and happiness,” one resident said to the group. “We are not isolated anymore.”
Report Date...: 2/24/20
Fellow attends women in science assembly at UN Headquarters
Fellow(s): Ghada Ameen
Country: Egypt, United States
This week, 2018 fellow Ghada Ameen traveled to the United Nations Headquarters in New York to attend the 5th International Day of Women and Girls in Science Assembly held by by The Royal Academy of Science International Trust (RASIT).
The event was held on the UN’s International Day of Women and Girls in Science, a day that recognizes women and girls in science and advocates for gender equality and opportunity within the field. The event convened government officials, representatives from international organizations and women in science to discuss gender inequality in science and create collaborative solutions and public policy recommendations. This year, the assembly had a particular focus on the role of women in science in creating green and inclusive economies. Ghada, a researcher and engineer in the field of sustainable development, participated to raise awareness about her work and support other women in joining STEM fields.
During the assembly, Ghada had the opportunity to share best practices from her field, working alongside other women researchers to create tangible solutions to promote STEM and advance women in science. When Ghada returns to Egypt, she plans to start a mentorship program in Cairo with a mission to encourage and empower girls to enter STEM.
Report Date...: 2/10/20
Fellow interviewed about her career in technology
Fellow(s): Chepkemoi Magdaline
This week, 2017 fellow Chepkemoi Magdaline was interviewed about her career in computer science by Girl Talks Tech, a website that brings diverse stories and inspiration from women in tech around the world. Chepkemoi is the founder and executive director of Eldohub, an education technology platform that brings digital skills and ICT training to young people, focusing on empowering them to solve community challenges using technology.
In her interview, Chepkemoi spoke about her journey from growing up in a rural village to becoming a computer scientist, company founder and recipient of the Anitab.org Pass it on Award. She also discussed the need for more women mentors and role models: “We need women…to speak up, gain confidence, gain visibility and impact other women and girls,” she said. “I recently participated in the Techwomen program … [TechWomen] enabled me to build a business model for my startup, and I built genuine sustainable professional connections.”
Report Date...: 2/10/20
Fellow founds sustainability initiative to empower women
Fellow(s): Ryme Assaad
2018 fellow Ryme Assaad recently co-launched Rise2030, a green tech initiative that empowers underserved communities through training, education and empowerment. Ryme, the initiative’s co-founder and executive director, is also the co-founder of My ioLab, the 2018 seed grant-winning initiative from team Lebanon. Rise2030 received funding from GIZ, a German-based company that supports companies and foundations in achieving the UN’s 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.
Through providing solar training for youth, women and refugees, Rise2030 has a mission to upskill vulnerable populations and enable them to contribute to a sustainable future in Lebanon. Rise2030 has already launched an all-women solar team to train community members in Qaroun to design and install an on-grid solar photovoltaic system at a local waste sorting facility. In addition to solar training, the team plans to support rural women-run businesses and implement literacy training for Syrian refugees in Lebanon.
Report Date...: 1/27/20
Fellow speaks to women in green tech at conference
Fellow(s): Linah Anyango
Last month, 2019 fellow Linah Anyango was a featured speaker at
the East Africa Women in Energy Conference, sharing her experience
transitioning from school to the job market. The conference was
organized by Women in Energy Awards, an annual conference and
awards ceremony that brings together women in the energy sector
to share best practices and discuss the latest innovations within the
Linah is a teacher and the head of the science department at a
secondary school in Mombasa; she also trains and coaches teachers
on how to teach effectively with technology. During her session, she
discussed the role women in energy can play in mentoring young
girls and encouraging them to enter STEM fields. She shared stories about the girls she mentors at her school’s Girls in STEM club, highlighting the work they’ve done to create clean energy solutions from waste products.
Report Date...: 1/13/20
Fellow wins Women in Energy Award
Fellow(s): Lilian Motongori
2019 fellow Lilian Motongori won the Professional Technical Award at the Women in Energy East Africa Awards, held this month in Nairobi. Lilian is the country representative for ElectraTherm, a Nevada-based company that generates fuel and emission-free power from low temperature waste heat. She is also the co-founder of Women in Energy Africa, an unaffiliated initiative that offers a platform for women in energy and offers consulting, career development and energy solutions to empower women and girls in the green tech fields.
The Professional Technical Award recognizes women who have both excelled in the energy sector and served as advocates for advancing and mentoring women and girls in green tech. The award ceremony is the culminating event of Women in Energy’s annual conference that focuses on innovations in energy and womens’ role in shaping the future of the field. “I am grateful to every person who contributed in giving me an opportunity in my career and professional journey, and my family for the support,” Lilian said. “This is for all their efforts, support and belief in me.”
Report Date...: 12/30/19
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