Impact Stories from Youth Engagement Policy Area
TechWomen/TechGirls Clubs host first cross-regional summit
Fellow(s): TechWomen/TechGirls Clubs
This week, the TechWomen/TechGirls Clubs from the CSA and MENA regions convened for their first-ever Cross-Regional Summit, gathering online to network, share updates and support one another’s activities and initiatives. TechWomen/TechGirls Clubs provide a space for career counseling, mentoring, leadership development and more. Launched in 2018, the cross-program clubs expanded from seven program countries in MENA to include four countries in CSA.
Callie Ward, ECA’s youth programs branch chief, opened the day, speaking about the importance of engaging and empowering girls to create change in their communities. “You are moving forward, you are leading…I applaud all of your efforts. I want to thank you for everything I know you’ll do moving forward,” she said. 2013 TechWomen fellow of Lebanon Nisreen Deeb also delivered a keynote, emphasizing that, through communities like TechWomen/TechGirls, women and girls can foster innovation, entrepreneurship and community impact. “Keep supporting each other, keep empowering each other — because we need each other,” she said.
In breakout rooms themed on IT, tech business, engineering, and medical/ed/tech policy, TechWomen and TechGirls alumnae had an opportunity to talk about their work, share how they were celebrating International Women’s Day and give career support and advice.
Report Date...: 3/1/21
Mentor(s): Sreeja Nair (mentor)
Mentor Type: Professional
TechWomen mentor Sreeja Nair was invited this month to serve as a Hult Prize OnCampus virtual judge at the Heritage Institute of Technology in Kolkata, India. The Hult Prize is a startup accelerator that empowers social entrepreneurs at colleges and universities to solve the world’s most pressing issues; the final winning student team wins one million dollars in seed capital.
Joined by entrepreneurs across India, Sreeja judged 22 teams competing for the regional rounds. The student teams pitched solutions to this year’s theme of Food for Good, presenting their agricultural mobile apps, initiatives that introduce ethnic foods to a wider audience and more. “It was awe-inspiring to see the entrepreneurial spirit and passion that each of the teams brought to the table,” said Sreeja. “It was also heartening to see a lot of young women on the teams actively leading, pitching ,and answering questions confidently.” Since the event, many of the teams who were not sent to the final round have reached out to Sreeja to request mentorship and guidance. “This ethos of striving to bring change makes me believe that our future is really bright,” she said.
Report Date...: 2/22/21
Fellow is first Jordanian to be named 2021 Influential Leader
Fellow(s): Hiba Shabrouq
This week, 2017 fellow Hiba Shabrouq was named a 2021 Influential Leader by The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), an international association that brings together business, students and educators to amplify innovation and impact business education. The annual initiative recognizes leaders who are using their business education to create impact.
Hiba, the first Jordanian to be honored by AACSB, was nominated by Princess Sumaya University For Technology. She was highlighted in the “Diversity and Inclusion” category. In her feature, Hiba is recognized for co-founding Ozwah, a 2017 TechWomen seed grant-winning mentorship and training program for Jordanian girls in orphanages. She is also a financial skills mentor at INJAZ, a Jordanian nonprofit that trains young people with entrepreneurship and financial skills.
Report Date...: 2/22/21
Fellow shares advice for women entrepreneurs in Jordan
Fellow(s): Reema Diab
2019 fellow Reema Diab was featured in an “Ask Me Anything” session for women in technology, sharing her experience as an entrepreneur and answering questions on how to succeed as a woman in technology in Jordan. The event was organized by the Exchange Alumni team at the U.S. Embassy in Jordan as part of their monthly sessions that feature exchange program alumni.
Reema is the founder of Galaxy Organization for Technology, an IT non- profit that empowers women and youth with STEM skills. Their latest course for kids offers hands-on training in robotics, teaching them about Arduino technology and helping them build small robots controlled by phones via Bluetooth. At the online event, Reema spoke about what makes a successful entrepreneur, how new businesses can seek funding and how her participation in the TechWomen program helped build her entrepreneurial skills. She also shared the obstacles that women face as entrepreneurs, giving the audience advice on succeeding as a woman in technology. “It can be difficult as a woman trying to compete,” she said. “Unfortunately, women often are not confident or underestimate their skills. It’s important to find a support system and to find a mentor.” She encouraged women to find their passion and work hard on their skills by seeking out programs that support their goals. “The TechWomen program was life-changing. Gathering with like-minded women opened doors for me to be a leader,” she said.
Report Date...: 1/25/21
Fellows launch training program for girls with UNICEF and UN
Fellow(s): Nazira Sheraly, Aiturgan Zulpukarova, Elena Chigibaeva, Gulzire Minbaeva
Cohort: 2016, 2017, 2018
2016 fellow Nazira Sheraly, 2017 fellow Aiturgan Zulpukarova and 2018 fellows Elena Chigibaeva and Gulzire Minbaeva have launched a new project for girls through Techaim, their initiative that provides mentorship to women and girls to grow and develop their STEM skills and expand their knowledge in business, leadership and more. Their new project, TechKyzdar, was launched with support from UNICEF Kyrgyzstan as well as the UN Peacebuilding Fund.
TechKyzdar, which officially began this week, is working with 220 girls aged 14-18 from 11 communities, teaching them about digital skills, social entrepreneurship, leadership and more. They also plan to work alongside Technovation Kyrgyzstan, encouraging the girls to apply their skills to creating innovative solutions to issues in their communities. Soon, the fellows will bring in mentors and guest speakers who will support the participants with their goals and inspire them to continue their educational journeys.
Report Date...: 1/25/21
Fellow facilitates STEM training for 700 teachers in Ekiti State
Fellow(s): Stella Uzochukwu
This week, 2019 fellow Stella Uzochukwu held a three-day training for schoolteachers in Ekiti State, Nigeria. Stella is the country director for Odyssey Educational Foundation, an NGO with a mission to equip African children, particularly girls, with STEM skills. Through her work with Odyssey, Stella has trained girls in computer science, robotics and more, as well as helped run an after-school STEM program for over 40 public and private schools in Nigeria.
Stella led the training in partnership with NSF, a local education management company. Together, they worked with 700 newly-employed educators at four primary schools, providing workshops on helping children thrive in a classroom environment, how to manage a classroom and how to best support students with special needs. Stella led a hands-on STEM education activity, training the teachers on using activity-based STEM learning to help children learn in-demand 21st century skills.
In late 2020, Stella traveled to Borno State for a five-day teacher training sponsored by Shell, demonstrating how teachers at Aisha Buhari Primary School can incorporate STEM learning into their curriculum. Next month, she will serve as a judge at Femtech Fest, a virtual hackathon for female entrepreneurs in Nigeria.
Report Date...: 1/18/21
Cameroon Girls Hackathon empowers young girls to innovate
Fellow(s): Horore Bebga
Last month, 2018 fellow Horore Bebga hosted the inaugural Cameroon Girls Hackathon, a four-day program that empowered 30 girls from seven secondary schools throughout Douala to create solutions to the COVID-19 pandemic. The hackathon was organized in partnership with the U.S. Embassy in Cameroon and was hosted by the Dewey International School of Applied Sciences.
The project was a part of Likalo Education, the STEM education initiative Horore co-founded that educates young people with 21st century skills. Over the course of four days, the girls were brought through various modules including design thinking, 3D modeling, designing a chatbot and learning about mobile app development. They also had access to local and international mentors and experts in entrepreneurship and technology.
After the training, the girls were divided into six teams, working together to create solutions to help overcome the challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The girls pitched their projects at the end of the event, and three winners were chosen by a jury: an app that translates health information into local languages, an online self-screening health app and a chatbot solution that makes it easier for individuals to find employment. All three projects will receive continued support through Likalo Education in order to further develop and execute their ideas.
Report Date...: 1/11/21
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
Four TechWomen alumnae projects win AEIF grant
Fellow(s): Dalia Shurrab, Yamama Shaka’a, Ruba Awayes, Christelle Tayou, Gisele Beatrice Sonfack
Country: Cameroon, Palestinian Territories
Cohort: 2014, 2016, 2017, 2019
Recently, it was announced that four TechWomen alumnae initiatives were named winners of the 2020 Alumni Engagement Innovation Fund. The 2020 theme of “Women, Peace, and Security” received over 300 submissions; 80 teams of exchange alumni from 67 countries were awarded funding for their community-based projects.
Through Mompreneur, 2019 fellow Dalia Shurrab will help support 60 mothers from the Gaza Strip and 30 from the West Bank to start their own online businesses. With specialized training in design and marketing, the program will empower women to monetize their skills in wood carving, embroidery, cooking and more. The project including Palestinian Territories alumnae Yamama Shaka’a (2016) and Ruba Awayes (2017), VTech Road, was recently adapted to a virtual setting due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The comprehensive online learning platform will offer courses and educational materials that support women’s political, economic and civic participation. 2014 fellow of Cameroon Christelle Tayou and her team created Protecting Internally Displaced Women from Abusive Arrests to address the needs of displaced and vulnerable women, many who lack proper documentation, through legal support and health assistance. They will also train women and girls in the monitoring and reporting of human rights violations. With Combatting Sexual Violence Against Female Students and Female Teachers in Secondary Schools in the Littoral Region of Cameroon, 2016 fellow Gisele Beatrice Sonfack will address Gender-Based Violence, targeting eight schools and working with students to raise awareness and create meaningful community impact.
Report Date...: 1/4/21
TechWomen/TechGirls Clubs host regional summits
Fellow(s): TechWomen/TechGirls Clubs
Country: Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestinian Territories, Tajikistan, Tunisia, Uzbekistan
This month, TechWomen/TechGirls Clubs held their biannual regional summits for the CSA and MENA regions, convening alumnae from both programs to share club updates, network and reignite club involvement for the coming year. TechWomen/TechGirls Clubs provide a space for career counseling, mentoring, leadership development and more. Launched in 2018, the cross-program clubs expanded from seven program countries in MENA to now include four countries in CSA.
After IIE and Legacy International shared program updates, summit participants were encouraged to provide updates about their club and activities, sharing about their progress despite a challenging year. Although the COVID-19 pandemic halted or delayed many outreach activities, workshops and initiatives, the clubs continue to organize, plan and provide mentorship opportunities to the TechGirls participants. In breakout rooms, club teams came together to discuss leadership structure, share what practices have created successful events and decide how the club will move forward in the coming year. After returning to the main room, teams shared out the highlights of their breakout room discussions. In a closing activity, TechWomen and TechGirls alumnae were prompted to type into the chat box what inspires them the most as a member of the TechGirls and TechWomen community. “We are so inspired by each of your efforts and work despite the challenging year,” said the TechGirls team.