Guest Blog by Nezha Larhrissi, Fellow 2013, on how a Techwomen Pitch Day project grew into a thriving non-profit over the course of ten years
Dear Techwomen and IIE Community,
This is Nezha Larhrissi of the Techwomen 2013 cohort from Morocco. With Salima Kaissi we are co-founders of eSTEM Morocco — A Girl Today A Leader Tomorrow, which is a seed-granted Techwomen impact initiative since 2014.
eSTEM Morocco — environmental, Science, Technology Engineering & Mathematics — is a nonprofit organization that has been working exclusively on Girls in STEM since its inception in 2013 at Techwomen and its launch during the Techwomen Delegation trip to Morocco. We have worked with an extensive network of volunteers and Tech partners to equip girls between the ages of 8 and 18 with the tools and confidence to pursue scientific and technological careers, while raising awareness of the role of Technology for a Sustainable World.
Indeed, eSTEM Morocco, being the unique ambassador organization of Technovation Girls in Morocco, has mobilized more than 950 girls and more than 300 mentors for the development of more than 70 mobile applications around community issues. Our programs have also included several excellence camps and the first edition of the International Conference for Girls in Science.
In 2017 we received the Global Citizen Award from the United Nations Association in California for our contribution to the Sustainable Development Goal Education for All. This award is intended for outstanding achievements aiming for the education of all girls and boys to ensure gender equality.
We are also proud to have partnered with the US Embassy in Rabat to prepare the cohort that joined Mrs. Michèle Obama’s initiative “Let Girls Learn” in addition to many other grants and programs.
Today, we are proud to share with you that eSTEM Morocco has made it to the top 4% of NGOs worldwide that got selected to represent Morocco in the first edition of the prestigious Aspen Institute Digital Equity Accelerator among seven associations in India, USA, and Morocco. Our organization got provided a significant cash grant, 4 months of acceleration training, hardware and innovative technology provided by HP Inc. Our selected project “Titrit” (Shining Star in Amazigh) consists of developing a digital web and mobile platform to connect, train and support +50,000 girls from disadvantaged backgrounds in the 12 regions of Morocco by 2025. You can watch our Accelerator Closing pitch to get a deeper sense of the challenge we aim to address.
We didn’t do any of this alone, we were blessed by the cooperation and the support of our valued partners and the trust of our volunteers. But all of this could never have been possible without the inspiration and support of our Techwomen experience. Accept our gratitude for it.
The upcoming years mark a new era for the expansion of eSTEM Morocco; in this regard, we hope that you will continue to stand by our side in this great endeavor of promoting science and technology for girls and women. Thank you so much for the role that you played and please extend our gratitude to anyone involved in this journey. Looking forward to a long-lasting partnership.
Nezha & Salima