Tag Archives: Sierra Leone

Extra Gear? Gifts for Sierra Leone

Gifts for Sierra Leone trip June-July 2017

My daughter Jessica and I will be visiting Families Without Borders in Sierra Leone next week with Terri Khonsari. If you have any extra laptops or smart phones we can bring – no matter how old or dead – the students will be delighted with your donation. Please contact me soon!

I have visited the inspiring and fascinating continent of Africa at least once a year since 2010. With TechWomen Delegations, I have been to Morocco and Tunisia in North Africa, plus participating in Delegations to Rwanda, Zimbabwe, and South Africa below the Sahara. With People to People, John and I visited Ethiopia. My only actual vacation in Africa was to Egypt in 2010 – a much longer trip than planned since our family was stranded there by the eruption of Iceland’s Eyjafjallajökull volcano.  This will be my first trip to West Africa.

I bring gifts on each trip for our generous hosts and for new friends and colleagues. For my first TechWomen Delegations, I had custom pencils made but more recently, I have brought San Francisco keychains and geeky pens and toys given away at events like the Grace Hopper Conference.  For this trip, I bought keychains, the Willow Glen Wells Fargo Bank branch gave me a big bag of red pens, and I am also bringing packages of stickers for the children.

However, the best present for the students in Sierra Leone would be empowerment and greater connection to the wider world.  Your outdated computer gear can help them.  I hope to hear from you!

If you want to receive Katysblog posts by email, please sign up using the Sign Me Up! button (upper right).
Image Copyright 2017 by Katy Dickinson

Leave a comment

Filed under Home & Family, Hopper - Anita Borg Institute, Mentoring & Other Business, News & Reviews

Sierra Leone Trip – Families Without Borders

Families Without Borders Gala 10 June 2017

Terri Khonsari, my daughter Jessica Dickinson Goodman, and I are traveling to Sierra Leone in a few weeks to visit the Families Without Borders school Terri manages in Makeni.  Jessica and I will be making technical and business presentations in Makeni and in Freetown. Terri and I are both long-time Mentors for the TechWomen program.  We have been discussing this trip for years.

More about Families Without Borders:

    We believe in building communities from within through education and empowerment of local youth. We begin by recruiting top students from disadvantaged families. We enroll them in a four year Bachelors Degree program of their choice complemented by a full servant leadership and personal development program. The program includes: advance computer skills, communication skills and financial management.

On Saturday, John, Matthew, Jessica and I joined TechWomen IdaRose Sylvester (with her husband Neil Hendin) and Samera Edwards at the Families Without Borders annual fundraising Gala. We enjoyed good company, good food, and good music. Jessica even learned some drumming.

Terri Khonsari Families Without Borders Gala 10 June 2017

Jessica Dickinson Goodman and John Plocher with drummers at Families Without Borders Gala 10 June 2017

Here are Hamid and Terri Khonsari with four TechWomen Fellows from Sierra Leone at the Families Without Borders Gala in 2015:

Hamid and Terri Khonsari with Sierra Leone TechWomen 2015

If you want to receive Katysblog posts by email, please sign up using the Sign Me Up! button (upper right).
Images Copyright 2015-2017 by Katy Dickinson

Leave a comment

Filed under Home & Family, Mentoring & Other Business, News & Reviews

Africa Wins!

Tunisia 2016 TechWomen with Impact Advisors

At yesterday’s TechWomen Community Event, all five Pitch Day seed grant prizes went to teams representing countries in Africa: Cameroon, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tunisia, and Kenya! All 19 presentations from Central Asia, the Middle East and Africa were so inspiring, I am sure the judges had a tough time deciding which to honor.  It was a pleasure to spend the evening with my daughter Jessica.

I am so very proud to have been one of the Impact Advisors for Tunisia! Our WAKTECH action plan to improve transportation in Tunis included six from Tunisia and three from the San Francisco Bay Area:

  • Melek Jebnoun- Tunisia Emerging Leader
  • Raoudha Lagha- Tunisia Emerging Leader
  • Salma Saidi- Tunisia Emerging Leader
  • Salma Sayah- Tunisia Emerging Leader
  • Sinda Soussia- Tunisia Emerging Leader
  • Yosr Tammar- Tunisia Emerging Leader
  • Fatema Kothari- California Mentor and Impact Advisor
  • Katy Dickinson- California Mentor and Impact Advisor
  • Mercedes Soria- California Mentor and Impact Advisor

Early tomorrow, TechWomen shifts from the San Francisco Bay Area to Washington DC. What a month this has been!

Sierra Leone 2016 TechWomen

Tunisia 2016 TechWomen

TechWomen 2016 Flag Parade

Arezoo Riahi 2016 TechWomen Seed Grants

Cameroon 2016 TechWomen

TechWomen 2016 Seed Grant Award

Gaza Sky Geeks Impact Photo

Tunisia TechWomen 2016 Impact Advisors

If you want to receive Katysblog posts by email, please sign up using the Sign Me Up! button (upper right).

Images Copyright 2016 by Katy Dickinson

1 Comment

Filed under Mentoring & Other Business, Mentoring Standard, News & Reviews

TechWomen 2015 Winding Down

IMG_0975

We are enjoying the last bittersweet days with our dear 98 TechWomen mentors from 19 countries in Africa, the Middle East, and Central Asia. TechWomen participants enjoyed the Volunteer Day (tilling the soil at Veggielution in San Jose), and Community Celebration in San Francisco (hosted by Automattic), including seed grant awards presented to the six winners of the 22 October TechWomen Pitch Night presentations (hosted by Google):

  1. Team Nigeria’s “STEM in a Box” – this education project was also voted “Audience Favorite”
  2. Palestine’s “STEM Fem” – project to connect technical women to jobs
  3. Jordan’s “She Can Do It!” – focus on workforce training
  4. Egypt’s “She is Back” – project to re-employ women returning to workplace
  5. Kyrgyzstan’s “We Care” – project to improve healthcare
  6. Sierra Leone’s “Big Sisters” – to help orphans left by Ebola epidemic (collaborating with Families Without Borders

Today was the first of our visits to the US State Department – Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs in Washington DC. Tomorrow is our most formal dress day, featuring lunch in the Benjamin Franklin State Dining Room.

During this term, Mentoring Standard has not only provided training for both TechWomen mentors and mentees but we have also been helping program participants to become Certified Mentors. My company’s Honor Roll of Certified Mentors is growing quickly! Several of the TechWomen Emerging Leaders are now working hard to finish their submissions before they return to their home countries. Busy days!

IMG_1147

IMG_1264

IMG_1372

IMG_1484

IMG_1677

IMG_1652

IMG_1672

IMG_1694

Images Copyright 2015 by Katy Dickinson

Leave a comment

Filed under Mentoring & Other Business, Mentoring Standard, News & Reviews

Families Without Borders – Sierra Leone

IMG_0411

Last weekend, Terri Khonsari (TechWomen mentor and friend) and Dr. Hamid Khonsari generously hosted the 3rd Annual Gala fundraising event for Families Without Borders to support higher education for young women and men in Sierra Leone. The four TechWomen 2015 Emerging Leaders from Sierra Leone were honored guests at the event. Congratulations on the success of this worthy effort!

IMG_0283

IMG_0365

IMG_0370

IMG_0381

Images Copyright 2015 by Katy Dickinson

Leave a comment

Filed under Mentoring & Other Business, News & Reviews

TechWomen Country Introductions

IMG_8362

The 98 TechWomen Emerging Leaders introduced themselves to us today at the Juniper Networks Aspiration Dome in Sunnyvale, California. Each of the 19 country groups had about five minutes to show a video, dance, sing their national anthem or perform a skit to tell us about their traditions and life. Most wore their national dress. They are all so beautiful and talented! We were welcomed by our staunch champion at the US State Department – Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, Sheila Casey, were moved by a talk by Mitchell Baker (Executive Chairwoman, Mozilla), and even heard a video poem about women by Bulelwa Basse, the South African poet whom we met earlier this year. The day ended with our beloved IIE staff performing a medley of American dances as a gift in return.

IMG_8172

IMG_8235

IMG_8248

IMG_8271

IMG_8301

IMG_8323

IMG_8343

IMG_8331

IMG_8406

IMG_8321

IMG_8442

IMG_8467

IMG_8223

IMG_8491

Images Copyright 2015 by Katy Dickinson

Leave a comment

Filed under Mentoring & Other Business, News & Reviews

First Day with TechWomen 2015 Emerging Leaders – South Bay

IMG_8096

99 TechWomen Emerging Leaders have arrived in the San Francisco Bay Area from 19 countries. I am one of the Cultural Mentors working with the South Bay contingent. Erin Keeley and I spent time after their orientation today – giving a tour of the CalTrain and VTA Light Rail Stations, going to lunch, and going to the market to stock the kitchens in their apartments. Hanging out with amazingly smart and capable technical women from Algeria, Cameroon, Egypt, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Morocco, Nigeria, Palestine, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tajikistan, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Zimbabwe is such a delight!

IMG_8105

IMG_8109

IMG_8112

Images Copyright 2015 by Katy Dickinson

2 Comments

Filed under Mentoring & Other Business, News & Reviews