Impact Stories from Youth Engagement Policy Area
Fellow delivers talk on entrepreneurship at local event
Fellow(s): Fatima Zohra Benhamida
2017 fellow of Algeria Fatima Zohra Benhamida was a featured speaker at WikiStage El Oued, an event launched by local youth that aimed to make a positive impact on the Sufi community through idea exploration, debate and community gathering.
The conference featured a diverse list of speakers who presented on the event’s theme, “Rethinking Entrepreneurship.” Fatima’s presentation focused on her lessons in entrepreneurship from TechWomen as well as her experience as a computer science professor, speaker and Technovation mentor. The day’s programming was of special significance to Fatima, who was raised in the town next to El Oued. “This was more than just an additional talk on my list,” she said. “We could feel the energy and motivation to make a change.”
Report Date: 1/14/19
Fellow plans digital empowerment center in Cameroon
Fellow(s): Sophie Ngassa
2014 fellow of Cameroon Sophie Ngassa has broken ground in Douala to launch her new inititiave, a digital empowerment center for women and girls. The initiative, currently called #GiftFromMum, began after Sophie’s mother gifted her land to pursue her passion project. The center will serve as a space where women and girls can acquire digital skills training, participate in STEM-based workshops and learn skills to generate income.
Construction for the digital empowerment center is in progress and will eventually house a workshop, kitchen and offices. Speaking about her vision, Sophie says, “Two years ago it was a conversation, last year it became a plan and this year it is work in progress. We make little steps every day.”
Sophie, a digital rights activist and high school teacher, founded a youth vocational technical training organization, Center for Youth Education and Economic Development, in 2010. She has also served as a mentor for Technovation Cameroon since 2014.
Report Date: 1/14/19
Fellow to launch tech curriculum in South African schools
Fellow(s): Lindiwe Matlali
Country: South Africa
2017 fellow of South Africa Lindiwe Matlali, founder of Africa Teen Geeks, has announced a partnership with the South African Department of Basic Education to develop and implement a digital skills curriculum in South African schools. Lindiwe, a recipient of numerous accolades for her work, will develop a robotics and coding framework that will scale throughout the country over the next five years.
Lindiwe is partnering with City University of New York to develop a curriculum that is not dependent on computer and internet infrastructure, allowing it to be implemented in a greater number of schools across the country. She will also be supported by the network she built during TechWomen, including a connection from Autodesk’s Impact Design Workshop who will focus on developing a curriculum based on innovation.
Lindiwe will also build an online platform that trains South African teachers and provides interactive resources about the coursework. Moving forward, Lindiwe hopes to bring her coding and robotics curriculum to the greater African continent: “We want to inspire the next generation of Africa’s innovators and entrepreneurs,” she says. “We have to teach our children how to innovate as early as possible.”
Report Date: 12/31/18
Fellow hosts Africa Science Week in Cameroon
Fellow(s): Arielle Kitio
2016 fellow of Cameroon Arielle Kitio recently organized a week of lectures, panels and hands-on activities during Next Einstein Forum’s Africa Science Week Cameroon. Arielle, a Next Einstein Forum ambassador, is responsible for driving NEF’s public engagement activities in Cameroon.
Africa Science Week, a weeklong celebration of science and technology, is held in 13 countries throughout the African continent. In Yaoundé, Arielle organized a week of activities meant to inspire the next generation through coding workshops, panels on artificial intelligence, solar energy seminars, hackathons and more. She partnered with local educators, entrepreneurs and makers to deliver programming to both primary schools as well as local universities.
Report Date: 12/31/18
Fellow named first runner up at South African Youth Awards
Fellow(s): Tozama Qwebani-Ogunleye
Country: South Africa
Dr. Tozama Qwebani-Ogunleye, 2018 fellow of South Africa, was named first runner up at last week’s 2018 South African Youth Awards. Organized by the National Youth Development Agency, the awards recognize individuals aged 35 and under who are contributing to the South African community through empowering young people and encouraging the public and private sectors to contribute to youth development.
Tozama was nominated in the Academia category and was recognized for her work as Project Director at Vaal University of Technology. “Being a 2018 TechWomen fellow was an advantage for me to make it to the finalists,” she said. Before starting TechWomen program, Tozama wrote a guest blog post on her journey, challenges and path to TechWomen 2018.
Report Date: 12/24/18
Fellow hosts digital training session for university students
Fellow(s): Afnan Saqr
2015 fellow of Jordan Afnan Saqr hosted a digital marketing training for more than 100 students at Applied Science University last week in Amman. The training, called “Maharat Min Google,” is Google’s first Arabic digital skills program that was launched to help youth in the MENA region access free courses and increase their job prospects.
Afnan led the training in partnerhsip with INJAZ, a non-profit organization that offers financial education, business and entreprenurship skills training for local youth. During the session, she taught students about search engine marketing, social media, e-commerce, geo-targeting and data analytics. At the end of the course, students took an assessment on the Maharat Min Google platform and received a certification of completion to demonstrate their newly acquired capabilities.
Report Date: 12/24/18
Fellow launches coding school for local youth
Fellow(s): Natalya Tyudina
2018 fellow of Tajikistan Natalya Tyudina recently launched ilmhona, a non-profit initiative with a mission to increase digital literacy among youth in Tajikistan. The pilot project, which will begin in January, recently began accepting applications and will select 20 girls and 20 boys to begin a three-month coding curriculum. The program will include HTML and CSS training and a course on Android application development.
After successfully completing the course, students will have the opportunity to participate in a one-month internship during which they will develop projects to tackle social challenges in Tajikistan. The ilmhona team is first launching the initiative in the capital city of Dushanbe, and Natalya hopes to expand into other cities in the near future.
Report Date: 12/3/18
Fellow(s): Cynthia Leung
Country: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, United States, Uzbekistan
During her travels through Central Asia, longtime TechWomen mentor Cynthia Leung, formerly of SunPower, coordinated with fellows in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan to deliver more than 10 talks and workshops discussing mentorship, gender equality in STEM fields, sustainability and her TechWomen experiences.
In Uzbekistan, Cynthia presented on the power of mentorship, sharing best practices on how to be an effective mentor and mentee. She also visited universities and maker spaces like Curiosity Maker Space, where she hosted an interactive solar energy workshop for children. In Kazakhstan, Cynthia visited the American Corner and Maker Space and IQcoworking, teaching techniques on self-development and cultivating a culture of innovation.
“This trip was about having impact and spending time meaningfully and intentionally,” she said. In all three countries, Cynthia was hosted by TechWomen fellows, reconnecting with former mentees and meeting potential applicants for TechWomen 2019.
Report Date: 11/26/18
Fellow recognized as advocate for women in Tunisia
Fellow(s): Amel Ghouila
This month, 2014 fellow of Tunisia Amel Ghouila was recognized as a leading advocate for women by Orange, one of the world’s largest telecom operators. Their magazine, DigitAll, recognizes entrepreneurs and thinkers behind advances in education, healthcare, energy and more in Africa and the Middle East. After participating in TechWomen, Amel launched the Tunisia chapter of Technovation, the global technology entrepreneurship program for girls, and has been a regional ambassador since. In the magazine, she spoke about her work mentoring the young women: “We already see the difference between the girls when they sign up and start the programme and when they reach the end, full of enthusiasm, energy and self-confidence.” Currently, Amel is a bioinformatician at Institut Pasteur de Tunis.Read More »
Report Date: 11/12/2018
Fellow pitches tech education iniatitive at Harvard conference
Fellow(s): Afnan Ali
This week, 2011 fellow of Jordan Afnan Ali participated in a startup pitch
competition at Harvard Business School. The competition is a pillar event at the
Arab Conference at Harvard, an annual conference that brings together
students, Harvard alumni, faculty, business and societal leaders to discuss
business and economic issues in the Arab region.
Afnan, the founder of Eureka Tech Academy, was one of 10 entrepreneurs
selected to present their initiatives to a panel of judges with tech and business
backgrounds. After the pitch, participants received feedback and were able to
network with venture capitalists, angel investors and industry experts.
Eureka Tech Academy, the first of its kind in Jordan, teaches students
engineering, electronics and invention. Students participate in classroom
activities and development workshops and compete in engineering and
robotics competitions throughout the region. Through her work, Afnan hopes
to make tech education a classroom requirement in Jordan, scaling up and
making a shift in the MENA region.
Report Date: 11/5/2018