Tag Archives: Sierra Leone

Blogging and Girl Time in Sierra Leone

Jessica Dickinson Goodman and Katy Dickinson at Families Without Borders, Makeni, Sierra Leone, July 2017

Jessica and presented on “Best Practices for Research, Online Learning & Blogging” and a variety of other technical and educational topics during our visit last week to Terri Khonsari‘s technical center Families Without Borders, in Makeni, Sierra Leone.

During the electronic Treasure Hunt (10 timed questions that the students had to answer by searching the web in teams of five) and during the first session on blogging, we noticed that the young men tended to take over, so we scheduled a special session just for the young women the following morning. The girls stayed for twice the time we had planned and had great fun!

We also worked with Terri to set up a special daily time during which the technical center computers are only available to girls, so that they could get more serious hands-on-keyboard experience.  So far, we have seen these five blogs come out of our sessions:

  1. MakeniGirls
  2. Salone Stories
  3. Modern Baibureh
  4. Flowers of Sierra Leone
  5. Tity in Sierra Leone

Jessica Dickinson Goodman at Families Without Borders, Makeni, Sierra Leone, July 2017

Jessica Dickinson Goodman at Families Without Borders, Makeni, Sierra Leone, July 2017

Families Without Borders, Makeni, Sierra Leone, July 2017

Families Without Borders, Makeni, Sierra Leone, July 2017

Families Without Borders, Makeni, Sierra Leone, July 2017

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Images Copyright 2017 by Katy Dickinson

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Sierra Leone: Leader in Religious Tolerance

Makeni, Sierra Leone July 2017

Jessica and I returned late Saturday from a short trip to Sierra Leone where we presented at Terri Khonsari‘s technical center Families Without Borders, and the University of Makeni in Makeni, and at Fourah Bay College (University of Sierra Leone) in Freetown – to about 300 students in all.

Sierra Leone is one of the friendliest and most welcoming countries in which I have ever traveled.  This West African country is particularly remarkable its its religious tolerance.  Although about 60% of the country is Muslim, we saw a wide array of religious institutions and practices coexisting in peace.  Jessica and I were particularly delighted with two small stores on either side of a shop where we bought bowls.  One store was called Christ In Me Enterprise and the other Allah is Great Enterprise.

Catholic Church in Makeni, Sierra Leone July 2017

Church near Makeni, Sierra Leone July 2017

Mosque in Sierra Leone July 2017

Mosque in Sierra Leone June 2017

Stylish Grandmas, Makeni Sierra Leone, June 2017

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Images Copyright 2017 by Katy Dickinson

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Families Without Borders, Sierra Leone 2 July 2017

Families Without Borders Makeni Sierra Leone 3 July 2017

Jessica Dickinson Goodman and I are on a trip to make presentations at Families Without Borders in Makeni, Sierra Leone.  We have been making presentations about the web, research, blogging, and social media.  This blog is being posted as a live example of How to Blog – it was written live in front of 28 students.  The students want you to know that they love each other and they work hard to get things done.  They welcome visitors to their country!  Thinking of Sierra Leone, they want to say:

  • They are rich in their culture.
  • “Salone” is a land of religious and political tolerance.
  • Their land is wealthy in mineral resources and agriculture.
  • Sierra Leone is a peaceful nation and it is not always about bad things.
  • The natural habitat is beautiful, especially the ocean and the Lion Mountains.
  • They have two seasons: rainy and dry.

Jessica Dickinson Goodman at Mrs. Ts home, Makeni Sierra Leone 2 July 2017

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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!

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Image Copyright 2017 by Katy Dickinson

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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

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Images Copyright 2015-2017 by Katy Dickinson

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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

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Images Copyright 2016 by Katy Dickinson

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TechWomen 2015 Winding Down

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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!

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Images Copyright 2015 by Katy Dickinson

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