Catching up on my blogging with my adventures as a member of the TechWomen Delegation to Zimbabwe, 20-28 February 2016. This was my 8th Delegation trip since 2011, and 4th trip to the region of Sub-Saharan Africa. Zimbabwe was the third country of a three-week trip, after a week in Jordan and a week in Israel-Palestine. Each of these journeys has been fascinating and different from the others!
The Delegation stayed at the Meikles Hotel in Harare but made day trips to Mbare, Bindura, and Bulawayo among other locations nearer the capital. We visited girls in school as well as programs and universities focused on STEM, including: TechWomen Zimbabwe’s Pamusha Project (at Chitsere Primary School, Mbare), University of Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe Institute of Engineers, Harare Institute of Technology, Bindura University, African Regional Intellectual Property Organization, and the National University of Science and Technology (Bulawayo).
We had some opportunities to see Zimbabwe’s famed wildlife (zebras, giraffes, antelope, wildebeests, lions, leopards, baboons…) but that was not a big focus for our trip. I was much more interested in the technical challenges and entrepreneurial accomplishments of a country which has at least 80% unemployment (for which the most common computing device is a cell phone) – and in their creative artworks. I found many chances to use the Notable Technical Women materials to present role models and career choices to the hundreds of friendly and fascinating women and girls with whom I spoke.
After the delegation ended, I had an opportunity to meet with some of the leaders of the Anglican Diocese of Harare and to shop for Shona stone sculptures, printed cloth, and reclaimed metal work art at the remarkable Newlands craft street market in Harare.
Images Copyright 2016 by Katy Dickinson, photo at Pamusha Project by Molly Pyle