Tag Archives: Africa

Thanks, TechWomen!

Thanks to the TechWomen program for the recent Tweet quoting me:

Behind every successful woman is a tribe of women supporting her, like TechWomen

It is my honor to have helped design TechWomen – and to have been a TechWomen mentor and enthusiastic supporter since the program started:

TechWomen brings emerging women leaders in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) from Africa, Central and South Asia, and the Middle East together with their professional counterparts in the United States for a mentorship and exchange program. TechWomen provides participants access to networks, resources, and knowledge to empower them to reach their full potential.

During the five-week program, participants engage in project-based mentorships at leading companies in the San Francisco Bay Area and Silicon Valley, participate in professional development workshops and networking events, and travel to Washington, DC. for targeted meetings and special events to conclude the program.

Over the past seven years, more than 500 women from Algeria, Cameroon, Egypt, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Kenya, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Palestinian Territories, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Tunisia, Uzbekistan, Yemen and Zimbabwe have participated in TechWomen.

TechWomen is an initiative of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA). TechWomen, launched in 2011, supports the United States’ global commitment toward advancing the rights and participation of women and girls around the world by enabling them to reach their full potential in the tech industry.

TechWomen is managed by the Institute of International Education (IIE).
More: https://www.techwomen.org/

More about my company, Mentoring Standard: http://www.mentoringstandard.com/

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Refugees in Bunia, Congo

Last month, I posted a disturbing story and images: Help Needed for Displaced in Congo. The number of internal refugees who have settled in Bunia, Congo, continues to grow.  The camp now holds over 86,000 people, many of whom are women and children who have traveled for weeks under very dangerous circumstances.  The Congo Network of the Episcopal and Anglican churches gets regular updates from the Reverend Bisoke Balikenga who lives and works in Bunia, DRC.  The Congo Network is chaired by the Rev. Canon Dr. Isaac Kawuki Mukasa (Africa Relations, Episcopal Church).  The US media is reporting very little on this massive humanitarian crisis. I asked the Rev. Bisoke to send the Congo Network photos so that we could help tell the story.

Particularly disturbing were the photos of the girl Rachel and her little sister.  The Rev. Bisoke wrote with the photo below: “Rachel sister just come from the hospital, her left arm was cut by the rebel and Rachel was cut in the head and the mother was killed. Rachel is not in a good condition you can see her head. Please pray for them because the life which they have now it is not the good one.”  The Rev. Bisoke has taken 30 refugees into his own home, in addition to his family of 8.  He is getting some help from friends.  If you would like to help displaced people in the Congo, please donate to Episcopal Relief and Development (designate your donation to DRC). Your money will go toward food, clothing, shelter and assistance with trauma.

 


Recent news stories include:

Photos copyright 2018 by the Rev. Bisoke Balikenga – used with permission.
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Crafts and Souvenirs from Egypt

During the TechWomen Delegation to Egypt there was very little time for shopping but I did manage to find some presents and souvenirs.  Before our Professional Development Sessions with Alwan wa Awtar – AWA – Youth in Cairo, we bought bags, necklaces, and scarves from a young woman who started an embroidery craft and sewing business with her mother.  We also stopped by a Carrefour on the way to a meeting, where I found an excellent selection of lovely cotton scarves – not surprising in a country where colorful and well-designed scarves are worn by so many women.

We had time on the day we left to walk through Muizz Street and the shops of the old city in Cairo.  I was pleased to purchase a large black shawl with Egyptian hand embroidery, and a Ramadan tablecloth in a colorful primary color pattern we had seen many times as we traveled.  I even found some alabaster lamps which will be appreciated as presents, plus a pair of silver earrings for myself.  Thanks to 2015 Fellow Doaa ElEraqy of Egypt who was our patient guide and negotiator in the souq.

In addition to these treasures I bought, we Mentors received many kind gifts from the TechWomen Fellows of Egypt. I was also touched and honored to be given souvenirs from Palestine and Lebanon – presents from TechWomen mentees.

 

 

 

 

 

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Photos Copyright 2018 by Katy Dickinson.

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TechWomen Delegation to Egypt

Katy Dickinson TechWomen Egypt Delegation 2018 

I was honored to join the TechWomen Delegation to Egypt: my tenth TechWomen Delegation. TechWomen is an Initiative of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. We had an inspiring and enjoyable trip.  I got back to the USA a few days ago and am still getting used to California’s time zone (but am enjoying our clean air!).

Some of us mentors arrived in Egypt early so that we could acclimatize and see the sights.  I was part of a group that toured Alexandria on 24 February, the day before the Delegation officially started.  We had three flat tires on the road but were able to visit the Citadel of Qaitbay, a 15th-century fortress on the Mediterranean sea coast on the eastern point of the Pharos Island. It was erected on the exact site of the Lighthouse of Alexandria, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Some of the lighthouse stones were used to build the fort.  We also saw the remarkable 2002 Bibliotheca Alexandrina (Library of Alexandria) and the Montaza Palace.

Katy Dickinson at the Citadel, Alexandria Egypt Feb 2018 aty Dickinson at the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, Alexandria Egypt Feb 2018

The first day of the Delegation, we had a short tour of Giza and Cairo. The Great Pyramid is another of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. I was delighted to discover so many of us Mentors and Fellows from the inaugural 2011 class of TechWomen were part of the Delegation.  We also welcomed Fellows from Lebanon, Libya, South Africa, Palestine, Morocco, Jordan, and Kenya.  All three of the 2011 mentees who were hosted at my company were part of the Delegation: Sukaina Al-Nasrawi and Maha Akkari (Lebanon), and Reham Nasser (Egypt).  I was delighted to catch up with 2011 mentees Maysoun Ibrahim and Huda Alwahidi from Palestine, as well as Eman Ezzat, Ghada Bahig and others from Egypt. Sukaina and Maysoun and Reham have been on TechWomen Delegations before but I had not seen Maha for years.  The Delegation included mentees from all TechWomen years, although Lara Chikhani (from my Team Lebanon) was the only Fellow who came from 2017. I was very happy to see Sara Abdelhafez (Egypt) for the first time since she was hosted at my company in 2012 – and to meet her new son who came to our Farewell Dinner on a Nile river boat.

Giza, TechWomen Egypt Delegation 2018 Sphinx, TechWomen Egypt Delegation 2018
We were very busy during the Delegation, sometimes being on the bus as early at 7:30 am and getting back to our Cairo hotel in the Zamalek district at 10:30 pm.  Activities during which we interacted with hundreds of girls, women, entrepreneurs, and technologists included:

  • Briefing from U.S. Embassy (Monday, Feb 26)
  • The Power of Mentorship at the American Center (Monday, Feb 26)
  • Meet & Greet with U.S. Embassy Colleagues (Monday, Feb 26)
  • Workshops with Women in Tech and Entrepreneurship at the GrEEK Campus (Tuesday, Feb 27)
  • Pitch Practice and Speed Geek Sessions at the GrEEK Campus (Tuesday, Feb 27)
  • Girls in STEM Career Fair at Mentor Graphics (Tuesday, Feb 27)
  • Networking Reception at the Technology Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center – TIEK (Wednesday, Feb 28)
  • Discussions with Professionals in STEM at Vodafone (Wednesday, Feb 28)
  • Hands-on STEM Activities at High School (Thursday, March 1)
  • From Silicon Valley to the Nile: Soft Skills Workshops at the American University in Cairo – AUC (Thursday, March 1)
  • Reception with U.S. Embassy at INJAZ (Thursday, March 1)
  • Visit with Teenpreneurs at FabLab Egypt (Friday, March 2)
  • Professional Development Sessions with Alwan wa Awtar – AWA – Youth at Montessori Mokattam (Friday, March 2)

We were delighted to visit many projects started and supported by TechWomen Fellows in Egypt. Cairo traffic is as bad as that of the Silicon Valley so we spent about 1-1/2 hours on the bus to get from event to event. We enjoyed the time to catch up with dear friends and learn more about each other.  Unfortunately, over half of the delegation came down with a respiratory illness and fever so we had to swap speaking slots quite a bit. On Monday, I gave a TED-style talk about mentoring then lead a panel discussing mentoring at the US Embassy’s American Center. Later, I helped Jill Finlayson teach girls to brainstorm and develop solutions to community problems, lead another discussion at AUC with Mohna Dhomse on how to Find a Mentor, joined a panel about life challenges, and gave two talks with Rekha Pai-Kamath on self-branding.  All of us in the Delegation participated in speed geek sessions at several venues.

The day after the Delegation ended, groups of us Mentors and Fellows were able to tour the amazing Egyptian Museum and get some shopping done in the old city of Cairo – with 2015 Fellow Doaa ElEraqy of Egypt as our patient guide and negotiator.

TechWomen Egypt Delegation 2018 

TechWomen Egypt Delegation 2018 

TechWomen Egypt Delegation 2018 

TechWomen Egypt Delegation 2018 

TechWomen Egypt Delegation 2018 TechWomen Egypt Delegation 2018

 TechWomen Egypt Delegation 2018

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Photos Copyright 2018 by Katy Dickinson, TechWomen, and Lara Chikhani.

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Help Needed for Displaced in Congo

Bunia, Congo 18 Feb 2018 by Rev. Bisoke Balikenga

Violence has recently gotten worse in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. I was on a call a few days ago during which we learned of tens of thousands of displaced people, about two thousand of whom are now seeking help near a hospital in Bunia. The Reverend Bisoke Balikenga sent us the photos you see here of families in Bunia in need of food, water, firewood, bedding, and schools for the children. We are coordinating our aid efforts through Episcopal Relief and Development.

Since 2015, I have been a part of the Congo Network group of the Episcopal Church. The group is chaired by the Rev. Canon Dr. Isaac Kawuki Mukasa (Africa Relations, Episcopal Church). I was nominated to join the Congo Network group by my Bishop, the Right Rev. Mary Gray-Reeves (of the Episcopal Diocese of El Camino Real, California).  We meet by phone and online about quarterly to share information and coordinate support work. I have been taking the Congo Network minutes.

Bunia, Congo 18 Feb 2018 by Rev. Bisoke Balikenga

There is small awareness in the United States about the size and severity of the Congo’s humanitarian crisis. Little news is published, mostly by non-US media and organizations:

However, if I did not know about it directly from the Congo Network, I may not have heard about this crisis at all. I have to go searching for news of the Congo – it does not appear in my regular news sources.  I have never been so aware of the limitations of the US media and how news is distributed.

Congo is about 70% Christian and many of the displaced people are seeking help from their churches. Pope Francis has raised awareness by holding a day of prayer and fasting on 23 February for those in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and South Sudan.

If you would like to help displaced people in the Congo, please donate to Episcopal Relief and Development (designate your donation to DRC).

Bunia, Congo 18 Feb 2018 by Rev. Bisoke Balikenga

Photos copyright 2018 by the Rev. Bisoke Balikenga – used with permission.
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Reading for Mentoring Month

TechWomen Team Lebanon Action Plan Workshop 30 Sep 2017, photo by Saul Bromberger for TechWomen

Every day I am online looking for interesting news and articles from around the world, especially about mentoring. Most days, I post what I find on my Twitter account, with summaries of the most interesting posted in batches to Mentoring Standard on LinkedIn. In honor of January being America’s National Mentoring Month, here is a selection recent notable articles on mentoring to inspire you. Please nominate mentoring gems I have missed!

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Honoring STEM Mentoring

ECR Simple Servant Award to Katy Dickinson 3 Nov 2017

At the 37th Episcopal Diocese of El Camino Real annual convention last weekend, I was honored by Bishop Mary Grey-Reeves with a second Simple Servant Award for my work since 2010 with the TechWomen mentoring program of the US Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. The award certificate reads:

Simple Servant Award
Presented on November 3, 2017 to
Katy Dickinson
The Diocese of El Camino Real honors you. May God bless you for your
faithful ministry mentoring women in Africa and the Middle East in STEM
professions, and for your contribution to the creation of a “virtuous cycle” of
knowledge and wisdom sharing in the world of technology.

It has been an honor and pleasure to work with TechWomen and my mentees from Africa, the Middle East, and Central Asia. Watching this program thrive and touch so many lives is a great delight. Since I worked in 2010-2011 as the TechWomen Process Architect, I have been a volunteer with this life-changing program as a mentor, working with groups of STEM leaders who travel to the San Francisco Bay Area and Silicon Valley to be hosted by 122 science and technology companies and organizations for a month (and then continue a mentoring relationship once they have returned to their home country).

Beginning with the first cohort of 37 from 6 countries in 2011, there have been 518 TechWomen Fellows from 22 countries and 698 mentors. I have formally been assigned to mentor 14 women in Lebanon, Algeria, Gaza-Palestine, Jordan, and Tunisia – and have worked with many more who have asked me to be their mentor. I have also participated in nine formal TechWomen Delegations with the State Department, to: Jordan (twice), Kyrgyzstan, Morocco (twice), Rwanda, South Africa, Tunisia, and Zimbabwe, as well as making informal trips with TechWomen mentors to visit our mentees in Lebanon, Gaza-Palestine, and Sierra Leone.  Learning from my sister mentors as well as from my mentees is part of the joy and value of this excellent program for Citizen Diplomats.

Want to make a different in STEM? Please consider joining TechWomen as a mentor yourself!

ECR Convention Simple Servant award Bishop Mary Gray-Reeves, Katy Dickinson 3 Nov 2017 by Elrond Lawrence

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Photo Copyright 2017 by the Diocese of El Camino Real, Elrond Lawrence.

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