The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs is expanding its TechWomen initiative to sub-Saharan Africa beginning in 2013, offering more women a chance to get technical training and skills.
First announced in 2010, TechWomen is an international exchange that uses technology as a means to empower women and girls worldwide, particularly in North Africa and the Middle East.
The latest development of the mentor program means that women working in the technology sector within Cameroon, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Africa, and Zimbabwe will have the opportunity to visit to the United States for a four to six week mentoring program with American counterparts in the United States.
Participants are supposed to be women engaged or rising in professional careers that require significant expertise and knowledge of technology -- whether it be science, education or business-related. They're also picked if they already are or show promise of being role models within their countries.
Following the trip, U.S. mentors then travel to Africa to conduct workshops and follow-up training for women in the technology sector and young girls who are interested in pursuing a tech-based career.
Last summer, 37 women from the Middle East and North Africa traveled to the United States as part of the inaugural five-week trip.
More than 20 leading U.S. companies already participated in the public-private partnership with TechWomen. Some of those enterprises include AT&T, Adobe, Facebook, Google, and Oracle, just to name a few of the tech heavyweights lending their support.
In September 2012, the State Department is planning to bring 42 women from Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, the Palestinian Territories, Tunisia, and Yemen to the United States for the peer mentorship program.