WeTech Awards Second Round of Seed Grants

SAN FRANCISCO, December 11, 2014—Women Enhancing Technology (WeTech) has partnered with Google to make seed grants of up to $20,000 to 18 organizations in Africa for their inspiring work to involve more women and girls in computer science-related opportunities. WeTech and Google share the belief that retaining more girls in computer science should be tackled from various levels, in various parts of the world—from the U.S. to Africa—and is most effective in partnership with NGOs, corporations, associations and individuals.

WeTech is a consortium of dedicated partners led by the Institute of International Education (IIE) to design and support a series of innovative activities that provide training, build networks and offer professional opportunities to help women and girls around the world enter STEM fields and succeed in technology careers. Launched at the Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting in 2013, WeTech has engaged 26 companies, 115 mentors, 36 schools and 3,400 girls in 13 countries to date and was the subject of a video narrated by Chelsea Clinton in 2014.

IIE launched the WeTech Seed Fund network in 2014, and announced the first round of 17 grants in June 2014. With the second round of grants announced today, a total of 35 WeTech Seed Fund grants have now been awarded, building a strong network to organizations and individuals in 16 countries across Africa. The fund provides small grants, investing in nascent networks, organizations and social enterprises, as well as individual champions already taking impressive steps to support women and girls in computer science. Through these organizations and individuals, WeTech aims to play a role in increasing access for women and girls to computer science-related training, jobs and leadership roles.

One first round WeTech recipient, Code for Cape Town (Code4CT), used its grant to provide a unique and intensive three-week summer camp for high school girls that exposed them to the exciting world of web development for social impact. Campers applied newly acquired skills in programming to create mobile websites for community organizations around South Africa. Code4CT aims to continue showing young girls the possibility of using coding and web design to create useful solutions, as well as developing the girls as future professionals and problem solvers.

Second round projects include hackathons, summer camps, bootcamps, internships, mentoring programs, trainings, virtual education platforms and workshops, and are being conducted in Cameroon, Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zimbabwe. The Youth for Technology Foundation (YTF) will use its grant to dramatically increase the number of girls interested in STEM careers in Nigeria to empower them as problem solvers and inventers. Another organization in Ghana initiated a project called Tech Needs Girls, which will teach hundreds of girls in Ghana to code, lead and innovate through hands-on mentorships and internships.

Projects selected to receive the second round of WeTech Seed Fund grants include:

  • Africa ICT Right, Ghana
  • Akilah Institute for Women, Rwanda
  • Akirachix, Kenya
  • Apps and Girls Foundation, Tanzania
  • Emerging Leaders in Technology and Engineering, Inc, Ghana
  • IDEA Incubation Center, Malawi
  • ImagiNation Afrika, Senegal
  • Noha Mahmoud, Egypt
  • Protecting Women and Children Against Violence, Uganda
  • Soronko Foundation, Ghana
  • STEMbees Organization, Ghana
  • Street Level Initiative, Kenya
  • Tassah Academy, Cameroon
  • TechWomen Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe
  • Women in Technology Uganda (WITU)
  • Women of Uganda Network (WOUGNET), Uganda
  • Yetunde Folajimi, Nigeria
  • Youth for Technology Foundation (YTF), Nigeria

IIE received more than 300 applications from 33 countries throughout all regions of Africa in an online application process that opened in August 2014. To select Seed Fund finalists, IIE hosted independent selection committees comprised of technical, regional and development experts.

As the Manager of the WeTech initiative, 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 WeTech’s WeTech, Twitter and Facebook Page.

About the Institute of International Education

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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