WeTech to Award Seed Grants in Africa

SAN FRANCISCO, May 20, 2014—Women Enhancing Technology (WeTech), with the generous support of lead partner Google, has selected 17 projects in Africa to receive WeTech Seed Fund grants of $2,000 to $20,000 to support their impressive work to involve more women and girls in computer science-related opportunities.

WeTech helps more women and girls enter into, and succeed in, tech-focused education and careers. Launched last fall by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at the 2013 Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Annual Meeting, the program is led by the Institute of International Education (IIE) and carried out with a consortium that includes Goldman Sachs, Google and Qualcomm Incorporated. WeTech will impact women and girls in Africa, India and the United States, developing the skills needed to fuel technological and economic growth.

The first round of WeTech Seed Fund grants will support a diverse range of projects led by women and men. Projects include hackathons, summer camps, mentoring programs, trainings and virtual education platforms, and are being conducted in Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Nigeria, Republic of Congo, Rwanda, South Africa, Tunisia, Uganda, and Zambia. Projects selected to receive the grants include:

  • Akirachix, Kenya 
  • Asikana Network, Zambia
  • AZUR Development, Republic of Congo
  • Centre for Information Technology and Development (CITAD), Nigeria
  • Global Minimum Inc, South Africa
  • iLab Liberia, Liberia
  • Makarere University, Uganda
  • Mobile Web Ghana, Ghana
  • Nairobi Developer School, Kenya
  • Nathalie Tekam, Cameroon
  • Outbox, Uganda
  • SAWomEng: Women in Engineering, South Africa
  • Semya Elaoud, Tunisia
  • TechWomen Rwanda Alumni Network, Rwanda
  • University of Pretoria, Sci-Enza, South Africa
  • The Women’s Technology Empowerment Center, Nigeria
  • Yetunde Folajimi, Nigeria

Individuals, NGOs, social enterprises and academic institutions were eligible for the seed grants. IIE received more than 90 applications from 20 countries throughout all regions of Africa, in an online application process that opened last December. To select Seed Fund finalists, IIE hosted seven independent selection committees comprised of technical, regional and development experts.

“There is a growing movement of innovative, women-focused tech initiatives gathering momentum across Africa. By supporting and linking the leaders behind this progress, we hope to witness great potential for scale and impact, getting more women and girls into the global tech industry,” says Trish Tierney, Director of IIE’s Center for Women’s Leadership Initiatives.

All WeTech grantees are considered part of the larger WeTech Network. In addition to financial support, WeTech grantees will receive regular capacity building support from the WeTech team as they revise implementation plans, track impact and become more sustainable. Each grantee will also join a network of peers that will meet virtually at least one time every month to share successes, lessons learned and professional connections. As part of their grant responsibilities, the project leads will write a blog post about their experiences, which will be featured on the WeTech site.

In August 2014, IIE will announce a competition for a second round of seed funding that will focus primarily on scaling existing successful initiatives in Computer Science. This new round of grantees will also be integrated into the existing WeTech network.

“We are delighted to be part of this great initiative that seeks to empower women in Africa with the support they need to continue on their path towards economic liberation through careers in technology,” says Omoju Miller, Technology Portfolio Manager at Google.

As the WeTech Manager, IIE is actively seeking new partners and resources to expand the program’s reach and impact. Individuals and organizations that wish to participate should contact IIE at WeTech@iie.org. For more information visit the WeTech website, Twitter and Facebook page.

About the Institute of International Education

As WeTech Manager, IIE aims to expand the consortium of partners and grow its resources to $10 million over three years, in order to build out activities and expand to additional regions in Africa, India and the U.S. as well as to new countries, such as Brazil and China.

IIE is a world leader in the international exchange of people and ideas. An independent, not-for-profit organization founded in 1919, IIE has a network of 19 offices and affiliates worldwide and over 1,200 member institutions. IIE designs and implements programs of study and training for students, educators, young professionals and trainees from all sectors with funding from government agencies, foundations, and corporations. Our vision is that educational, cultural and professional opportunities transcend borders to foster a peaceful and interconnected world where all people achieve their full potential; think and act as global citizens; and build inclusive, thriving communities. Through its Center for Women’s Leadership Initiatives, IIE provides opportunities for women worldwide to participate in cutting-edge training, professional development and exchange programs and pursue higher education. Through these programs, women develop and join networks of peers, mentors and experts and serve as effective leaders in the public and private sectors around the world.

About Google

Google is a global technology leader focused on improving the ways people connect with information. Google’s innovations in web search and advertising have made its website a top Internet property and its brand one of the most recognized in the world.

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