“What I learned through TechWomen is that the more you share, the more you learn.”
After an unforgettable week of learning, exchange and community, it was time for #twrwanda to come to a close. At the farewell dinner, the delegation reflected on the week — meeting hundreds of bright young students, learning from Rwandan women leaders and creating lasting relationships — as delegates came to the front to share takeaways, memories and gratitude.
Although the farewell dinner marked the official end of the delegation trip, IIE offered a bonus day, providing an opportunity for mentors and fellows to connect with one another, share updates and gather wisdom and advice on their career paths.
Every last Saturday of the month in Rwanda, traffic and work halts for Umuganda, a day of community service. Mentors and fellows joined a local environmental club first thing in the morning, working together for Umuganda’s mission of bettering the community. Delegates planted trees, cleaned areas for future garden beds and planted fruit and vegetable seeds.
After an afternoon brunch, the day concluded with TechWomen Connect, a TechWomen-only event where mentors and fellows gathered to share professional updates, celebrate each other’s achievements and support others’ future goals and ambitions.
Alumnae took turns sharing their updates after they became TechWomen fellows and returned home: some earned a major promotion; others have gone on to mentor hundreds of girls in their communities; many have launched CBO’s in addition to their full-time and demanding day jobs, working towards fighting gender discrimination and bettering the lives of women and girls. As Rwandan fellow Lisette Gaju Shyamba said, “I try to influence as many girls as I meet.”
After, the group divided based on themes — social entrepreneurship, program management, social innovation, scaling a CBO and more — based off their interests and professional goals. In her group, mentor Samantha Raniere reminded mentors and fellows about the law of reciprocity: “How we influence people — and how we show up for other people — is how they’ll show up for you,” she said
A week of #twimpact
The TechWomen team at IIE is incredibly grateful for the Rwandan fellows, mentors and traveling fellows, without whom the delegation trip would not be possible. Together, the members of the delegation trip community encapsulate the spirit of TechWomen, showing that when curious, ambitious and dedicated women come together, anything is possible.