IIE’s WeTech invests in the future of Sub-Saharan Africa

Sub-Saharan Africa is home to nascent networks, organizations and social enterprises, and individuals taking impressive steps to support women and girls in computer science. IIE’s Women Enhancing Technology Program, with financial support from Google, invested in those efforts through the Seed Fund for Women+Girls in Computer Science.

The Seed Fund Network consists of a total of 33 organizations from 16 different countries throughout Africa. Seed grants ranged from $2,000 to $20,000 and the projects they funded included hackathons, networking and outreach events, coding boot camps, internships, mentoring programs, web and application development. To date, Seed Fund grantees have reported direct impact on over 4,800 beneficiaries and indirect impact on over 4,400.

The Seed Fund program culminated in the creation of a Leadership Council, comprised of four outstanding women who received WeTech grants. The Leadership Council will maintain and strengthen the existing network. Aretha Mare, a member of the leadership council and alumna of TechWomen Zimbabwe, said “As a member of the Leadership Council, my work is no longer limited to the confines of my organization or country, but rather across the continent. We are envisioning building a movement for women and girls in STEM in Africa.”

The Seed Fund is just one of many networks and projects supported by IIE’s WeTech, a Clinton Global Initiative partner. Working with companies like Qualcomm, Goldman Sachs, and Juniper Networks in Asia, Africa and the U.S., WeTech also supports afterschool programs, mentorships and scholarship opportunities that encourage girls to engage in STEM studies and careers. IIE is excited to be a part of ensuring that change is happening not only on the community level, but within the broader landscape of women in tech worldwide.