Impact Stories from Professional Growth Policy Area
Fellow wins Zero Project Award for EdTech platform
Fellow(s): Angele Messa
This month, 2019 fellow of Cameroon Angele Messa won the Zero Project Award for her initiative, EduClick. This year’s awards were given to practices and policies that support people with disabilities within education. Angele will be presented with the award next month at the United Nations in Vienna, Austria.
Angele founded the EdTech platform to offer alternative learning methods for those who don’t have access to formal education in Cameroon. With both offline and online educational methods, EduClick supports students, recent graduates and young professionals who are looking to gain marketable skills. They also offer an after-school program that includes STEM Labs and workshops, introducing students to VR, game development, puzzles and more. EduClick also recently debuted an extracurricular STEM Saturdays program designed to make STEM exciting and fun for young children. In the future, Angele hopes to build education telecenters for refugees and displaced people.
Report Date...: 1/20/20
Fellow awarded postdoctoral fellowship for women in science
Fellow(s): Fatima Zohra Benhamida
Policy Area(s): Professional Growth
2017 fellow of Algeria Fatima Zohra Benhamida was recently selected for the
competitive Science by Women fellowship run through Women for Africa
Foundation. The fellowship, now in its fifth year, selects top African female
researchers working in technology for a six‐month postdoctoral fellowship in one of its Centers of Excellence in Spain. The program’s ultimate goal is to enable African women researchers to return to their communities and bring their experience to solve challenges in food security, water, energy, economic science and more. Fatima has a PhD in computer science and is an assistant professor at the National School of Computer Science in Algiers. She is also a board member of the TechWomen/TechGirls Club in Algeria.
Each Center of Excellence accepts one female researcher; Fatima is currently
placed at the University of Deusto in Bilbao, working alongside a team that
focuses on addressing socioeconomic issues through technology. She recently
authored an article for the foundation, chronicling her experience thus far and
reflecting on the technical and leadership skills she has gained. “Not only was I
able to present my work and share my knowledge with my peers, I have also been offered the privilege to contribute in European projects that work to solve complex issues (energy and climate change, human wellbeing, eHealth…),” Fatima writes. “These experiences will allow me to come back to my community with innovative processes and new perspectives to tackle the great challenges faced by my country.”
Report Date...: 1/13/20
Alumnae host Technovation kickoff event in Nablus
Fellow(s): Ayah Soufan, Yamama Shaka’a, Ruba Awayes, Waed Jabareen, Hiba Ghannam, Sondos Ibrahim, Mai Abuthraa
Country: Palestinian Territories
Cohort: 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019
This weekend, TechWomen fellows came together to organize
a Technovation challenge kickoff event Nablus that was
attended by over 100 girls and mentors. 2015 fellow Ayah
Soufan, who organized the event hosted by her employer,
Paltel, has been a Technovation Regional Ambassador since
Ayah was joined by 2016 fellow Yamama Shakaa, 2017 fellow
Ruba Awayes, 2018 fellow Waed Jabareen, and 2019 fellows
Hiba Ghannam, Sondos Ibrahim and Mai Abuthraa. The
fellows, who were also supported by two TechGirls alumnae,
spoke to the group of young girls and mentors about using
technology to spark social change. Technovation Girls
Palestine will be participating in the new season of the
Technovation Challenge, where groups of young girls come together to solve leading issues in their communities through technology.
Report Date...: 1/13/20
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 is first African to win Digital Female Leader Award
Fellow(s): Lindiwe Matlali
Country: South Africa
This past November, 2017 fellow of South Africa Lindiwe Matlali won the Education Award at the Digital Female Leader Awards, becoming the first African to win at the ceremony. The annual awards are held by Global Digital Women and seek to amplify the work and stories of women leaders and changemakers. This year’s event, themed on “This is What Digital Female Leadership Looks Like,” considered 740 nominations from 19 countries spanning categories such as innovation, entrepreneurship and diversity.
Lindiwe was recognized for her work as the founder and CEO of Africa Teen Geeks, a computer science academy dedicated to teaching underserved communities within South Africa. “I am humbled, proud and honored that I have an opportunity to keep inspiring African girls to pursue STEM careers, work hard, dream big and serve others, because they don’t know where pursuing their passion with excellence and commitment could lead them,” said Lindiwe.
Report Date...: 1/6/20
Mentor(s): Sepideh Nasiri (mentor)
Company: Persian Women in Tech
Mentor Type: Impact
TechWomen Impact Coach Sepideh Nasiri was a featured panelist at the Womxn of Color Leadership Forum, held recently in Silicon Valley. Sepideh is the founder of Persian Women in Tech, a non-profit that mentors and empowers Persian, Middle Eastern and North African women in technology. She also serves as an advisor to early-stage startups and inclusion initiatives, providing best practices for closing the gender gap in tech.
The event was organized by Breaking Glass Forums, an initiative that creates customized diversity and inclusion programs for tech companies. In her panel, “Realize your Worth,” Sepideh discussed the path to self-worth, battling impostor syndrome and defining your values. She also shared her own career path, providing tips on translating your experience into your worth and celebrating your unique career journey. “Not everyone takes the same path,” says Sepideh. “People often look only at the end goal, but should celebrate the smaller successes and milestones along the way.”
Report Date...: 1/6/20
Fellows host Tajikistan’s first Hour of Code for girls
Fellow(s): Mutriba Akhmedova, Anzurat Kosimova, Mahina Usmonova
Cohort: 2015, 2016
This month, 2015 fellow Mutriba Akhmedova and 2016 fellows Anzurat Kosimova and Mahina Usmonova held the inaugural Hour of Code in Tajikistan, traveling to five regions of the country to teach over 200 girls coding and computer science. The global Hour of Code program, now implemented in more than 180 countries, introduces youth to the fundamentals of programming and computer science.
The fellows implemented their project through a grant from the Alumni Small Grants Program offered by the U.S. Embassy in Tajikistan’s Public Affairs section. From December 7 to 23, they traveled throughout Tajikistan with a mission to bridge the gender gap in STEM, holding coding classes that familiarized girls with programming basics and instilled in them a curiosity to pursue STEM fields.
In Dushanbe, Khujand, Dj.Rasulov, Kulob and Bokhtar, the fellows met with over 200 girls ages 10-18 to teach a one-day course on coding. During the day of skill-building, the girls were encouraged to creatively solve problems, develop their design thinking abilities and understand the basics of IT and STEM. “This is just the beginning,” says Anzurat. “Children are the future of Tajik society. They have to gain good skills and knowledge, and we are here to support them. We have many fresh ideas to implement in the near future. TechWomen makes us social-oriented and we are ready to make a difference in our lovely country!”
Report Date...: 12/30/19
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
TechWomen and TechGirls launch alumnae platform
Fellow(s): Nisreen Deeb,Ghana Bteich, Lara Chikhani, Rasha Sukkarieh
Cohort: 2013, 2015, 2017
This week, alumnae from the TechWomen and TechGirls programs unveiled USALTech, a club and online platform that connects Lebanese exchange program alumnae, promotes opportunities for women and girls in STEM and encourages its members to share their skills and expertise.
In partnership with Legacy International and two TechGirls alumnae, fellows Nisreen Deeb (2013), Ghana Bteich (2015) and 2017 fellows Lara Chikhani and Rasha Sukkarieh hope to create monthly meetings and programming that nurture the ecosystem of local women and girls in STEM fields. The group’s first event, “Introduction to the TechGirls and TechWomen Programs,” will invite local girls and women in STEM to learn more about the TechGirls and TechWomen programs as well as network with peers in their fields.
Report Date...: 12/30/19
Fellows create speaker series to discuss digital economy
Fellow(s): Aretha Mare, Tarirayi Mukabeta, Natsai Mutezo
Cohort: 2013, 2016, 2018
Recently, 2013 fellow Aretha Mare created a roving speaker series and networking event that brings together TechWomen alumnae, leaders and policymakers to discuss Zimbabwe’s role in the digital economy. Hosted in partnership with the Zimbabwe-United States Alumni Association, Aretha has now held four events in Bulawayo, Gweru, Mutare and Harare.
With rotating fellows featured in each event, the Digital Aspirations series bring together leaders and changemakers in government, academia, business and more to discuss the creation of a vibrant digital economy in Zimbabwe. Each gathering centers around a specific topic such as boosting entrepreneurship for an inclusive digital economy, addressing the digital skills gap and data and privacy issues.
The most recent event, “Connectivity for all: unpacking infrastructure and policy issues for an inclusive digital economy,” featured 2016 fellow Tarirayi Mukabeta, 2018 fellow Natsai Mutezo, a local computer scientist, an ICT lecturer and a member of the energy regulatory authority in Zimbabwe in a panel discussion. Each expert contributed their perspective on ensuring inclusion, particularly gender inclusivity, in a thriving digital economy.
Report Date...: 12/23/19