Impact Stories from Youth Engagement Policy Area
With T.I.M.E for Women fellows inspire a new generation
Fellow(s): Mutriba Akhmedova, Anzurat Kosimova
Cohort: 2015, 2016
Fellows Mutriba Akhmedova (2015) and Anzurat Kosimova (2016) have launched T.I.M.E for Women, a project that works with women and girls to expand their IT knowledge and skills. T.I.M.E – which stands for Technology, Innovation, Management and Entrepreneurship – is a new venture of SheCanDoIT, the fellows’ initiative that was recently named a grantee of the 2020 Democracy Commission Small Grants Program from the U.S. Embassy in Tajikistan. The program focuses on initiatives centered on social empowerment, entrepreneurship and skills development.
Through SheCanDoIT, the fellows will encourage and inspire girls to enter the IT field. “Our name contains our main goal,” says Mutriba. “Women can do everything and be successful in IT.” The T.I.M.E for Women platform launched in October, and will soon offer women and girls training in both technical and soft skills: app development, cybersecurity, IoT, leadership, communication and more. They will also offer professional advice that will prepare Tajik women for the TechWomen application and other exchange program opportunities. Already, the platform features videos from three fellows – Mahina Usmonova (2016), Natalya Tyudina (2018) and Zevar Davlatmamadova (2018) – who offer motivational speeches on their journeys in IT. “TechWomen connected us, but we are also connected by our common goals and mission,” says Mutriba. “We want to change the views of our society. We want to bring IT and innovative ideas to our country. Together, we can achieve more. And as TechWomen says, we are empowered to empower.”
Report Date...: 11/16/20
Fellows collaborate for Facebook Live event
Fellow(s): Racha Bia and Sabine Kai
Country: Algeria, Lebanon
Last year, 2014 fellow of Algeria Racha Bia founded TecHealth Voice, an online platform that shares YouTube videos, podcasts and Facebook Live interviews themed on health, science and amplifying women in tech in Algeria and beyond. In addition to running TecHealth Voice, Racha is a regional ambassador for Technovation Algeria, working with girls to create innovative tech solutions to real-world problems.
This week, Racha launched Tuesday live talks on TecHealth’s Facebook page, a weekly series aimed at empowering diverse voices in tech. Her first guest was 2014 fellow of Lebanon Sabine Kai, the founder and managing director of Kids Genius, a STEM-based initiative that spreads maker culture to young students through hands-on activities and courses in their maker hubs throughout Lebanon. In the live event, Sabine shared her journey in entrepreneurship and experiences as a woman engineer, speaking about how her curiosity for STEM as a young child developed into a country-wide business that spreads maker culture to kids. During their talk, Sabine said that her workshops go beyond teaching students hands-on skills – they also empower them with confidence and problem-solving abilities. “It’s not only about teaching kids technology,” said Sabine. “To me, we’re building the personality of a maker, someone who doesn’t wait for someone to bring the solution for them. They start by building it from scratch.”
Report Date...: 11/9/20
Fellow featured as African Union changemaker
Fellow(s): Angele Messa
This week, 2019 fellow Angele Messe and her organization, EduClick, were featured for Africa Youth Month 2020. The month-long campaign is sponsored by the African Union, a continental body that promotes unity, solidarity and building a more prosperous and peaceful Africa.
The African Union’s One Million by 2021 Initiative aims to create one million opportunities for young people through jobs, engagement and entrepreneurship. For the month of November, One Million by 2021’s African Youth Month is amplifying voices in Africa that work towards educating and empowering young people. As founder of EduClick, Angele brings innovative alternative learning solutions to underserved and displaced communities in Cameroon. Through an SMS learning system integrated into EduClick’s platform, school children can access lessons and exams without the need for an internet connection.
Report Date...: 11/9/20
Fellow brings equal access to education for Kyrgyz students
Fellow(s): Gulzire Minbaeva
During TechWomen 2018, Gulzire Minbaeva, a teacher in applied math and informatics, had the opportunity to visit Khan Academy headquarters in Mountain View. The site visit was facilitated by her TechWomen Professional Mentor Nancy Hang, who organized a meeting with Khan Academy’s international communication officer. There, Gulzire expressed interest in becoming an official language advocate for Khan Academy Kyrgyzstan. Language advocates are international volunteers who translate and localize the academy’s educational content, working with schools and community partners to further their mission of providing accessible and free education to anyone.
Gulzire maintained her connection to the academy when she returned home, and in 2019 was officially selected as a language advocate for Khan Academy Kyrgyzstan. Today, Gulzire and her team of project managers, proofreaders, methodologists and over 200 volunteers are working to empower students to reach their full potential by providing them with effective learning opportunities. Gulzire has translated and recreated 13 video lessons, organized education fundraising events and recruited regional teacher ambassadors from all regions of Kyrgyzstan. Her work and advocacy has gained attention from the media, leading to a recent interview that features her impact. “We believe that all knowledge-seeking youth of Kyrgyzstan should have access to quality and free education,” says Gulzire. “As a proud alumna of TechWomen, I can surely say that the program enhanced my understanding of how little actions can help to make a big difference in society.”
Report Date...: 10/26/20
2020-2021 Emerging Leader of Tajikistan authors guest blog
Fellow(s): Manizha Khailobekova
TechWomen Emerging Leader Manizha Khailobekova of Tajikistan is the latest guest author on the TechWomen blog, sharing her background, passions and journey in STEM. Manizha’s post is part of the TechWomen Emerging Leader Voices series, which invites TechWomen Emerging Leaders to share their voice, perspective and experiences with the TechWomen community.
At Central Asia Institute Tajikistan, Manizha works to bring equal education access to communities throughout Central Asia. In her post, “Educate a girl and change the world,” she recounts the struggle of being a mother while remaining ambitious in pursuing her educational goals. Manizha also writes about her motivation to pursue an international exchange experience, reflecting on the opportunity to challenge her existing beliefs and exchange ideas with women around the world. “People usually avoid changes, and prefer to stay in their comfort zones,” she writes. “But I am true believer that once you get the courage and take the first step to change, your life will become much better.”
Report Date...: 10/19/20
a hands-on learning kit
Fellow(s): Aseel Honein
2013 fellow Aseel Honein has launched Architecture in a Box, a new company that provides hands-on kits teaching the principles of architecture, building and environmental sustainability to youth ages eight to 17. Aseel, an architect and university instructor, wanted to increase the visibility of the architecture field and inspire women and girls to pursue careers in a historically male-dominated space.
In Lebanon, most students are not introduced to architecture, urban planning or interior design at school, and many women trained in architecture are not actively employed as architects. “Due to many challenges, there are no opportunities for all graduates, engineers, and architects in Lebanon,” says Aseel. “Therefore, proper career orientation and design thinking tools and resources are required to create new opportunities.” Each kit provides interactive activities that teach youth about sustainable building, creative problem solving and critical thinking; Architecture in a Box will also offer complimentary workshops to schools that use the kits in their classrooms. Last year, Aseel had an opportunity to pilot her prototype boxes with 100 girls at an event run by Girls Got IT, an initiative co-founded by two Lebanese TechWomen fellows that exposes girls ages 15-17 to STEM through interactive workshops. As the company grows, Aseel hopes to create more kits that will spark creativity, create environmental awareness and help inspire youth – especially girls – to pursue a career in architecture.
Report Date...: 10/12/20
Fellows hold alumnae Q&A to inspire girls in STEM
Fellow(s): Alice Tyan, Elena Chigibaeva, Mira Abdimetalieva, Kyzzhibek Batyrkanova, Aigerim Beishenbekova
Cohort: 2017, 2018, 2019
This week, TechWomen fellows collaborated to hold a virtual session themed on encouraging women and girls to pursue STEM fields. 2017 fellow Alice Tyan, 2018 fellows Elena Chigibaeva and Mira Abdimetalieva, and 2019 fellows Kyzzhibek Batyrkanova and Aigerim Beishenbekova organized the webinar in partnership with the High Technology Park of the Kyrgyz Republic as part of its ongoing series that promotes IT fields.
During the session, “Why Should Girls Consider an IT Career,” the fellows shared advice on how to succeed in tech and spoke about how to develop skills that can lead to a career in STEM. They explored the diverse careers within IT that go beyond programming: data analytics, project management, product management, Scrum, quality assurance and more. Elena also presented on the TechWomen program, speaking about the opportunities it provides to international women in STEM.
Although women’s representation in tech is growing in Kyrgyzstan, the fellows spoke about the need for gender equality, and encouraged the girls to claim their space within STEM. At the conclusion of the webinar, each fellow gave advice on why girls should consider an IT career: “It doesn’t matter what gender you are if you do your job well,” said Aigerim.
Report Date...: 10/5/20
Fellow launches virtual program for young leaders
Fellow(s): Omnia Eteyari
This week, 2013 fellow Omnia Eteyari debuted Oratoriia, an online program that educates and empowers young leaders. Omnia is the founder of Jordan-based BulbulHub Academy of Public Speaking, an academy that provides public speaking, leadership and personal development courses to youth ages 11-17.
When the COVID-19 pandemic forced Omnia to suspend BulbbulHub’s in-person activities, she wanted to continue providing value to the community and its young leaders. With all-virtual programming, Oratoriia allows young leaders to access courses in leadership, public speaking, effective communication and more. Omnia has also started an Oratoriia YouTube channel, where she will provide content for its students. Her first video shares strategies for how leaders can solve common workplace challenges.
Report Date...: 10/5/20
TechWomen/TechGirls Club hold second summit
Fellow(s): TechWomen/TechGirls Club in Uzbekistan
This week, Uzbekistan’s TechWomen/TechGirls Club hosted their second summit, bringing together alumnae of both programs to network, discuss their community projects and brainstorm ways to enhance mentorship and support in a virtual setting. Launched in 2018, the cross-program clubs provide a space for career counseling, mentoring, leadership development and more. The club’s first summit, held in January of this year, established their foundational goals, provided opportunities for mentorship and laid the groundwork for future projects and collaboration.
This week’s summit brought together 22 participants, including TechWomen alumnae from multiple cohorts, TechGirls alumnae and incoming TechWomen 2020-2021 Emerging Leaders. After a welcome from the U.S. Embassy in Tashkent, the club’s participants introduced themselves to one another, speaking about their careers and their participation in the TechWomen and TechGirls programs. Despite challenges that have arisen from the COVID-19 pandemic, the group discussed creating future online workshops and masterclasses themed on soft skills, pitching, design thinking and more. The club also discussed future impact projects, including a virtual STEM school for girls as well as an awareness campaign that educates youth on environmental issues. The club hopes to hold its third summit this spring.
Report Date...: 9/28/20
Fellow named Schwab Foundation Social Innovator of the Year
Fellow(s): Lindiwe Matlali
Country: South Africa
2017 fellow Lindiwe Matlali is an awardee of the 2020 Schwab Foundation Social Entrepreneur award, recognized as an outstanding leader who is pioneering innovative solutions for social challenges in her community. Lindiwe is the founder of Africa Teen Geeks, the largest computer science NGO in Africa that is dedicated to teaching and training underserved students. To date, Africa Teen Geeks has trained over 48,000 children in IT skills.
The Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship, a sister organization of the World Economic Forum, supports global social entrepreneurs who are creating a more equitable world. Lindiwe was honored alongside 12 international changemakers who are driving change in education, government, healthcare and more. Recently, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Lindiwe and Africa Teen Geeks launched STEM Digital School, an online school that brings free classes to students throughout the African continent. The school partnered with South Africa’s Department of Basic Education, working to expand their comprehensive and interactive curriculum in order to reach a wider audience both online and on community television.
Report Date...: 9/21/20