US to expand TechWomen programme to sub-Saharan Africa by 2013

The US Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs says it will expand the TechWomen programme to sub-Saharan Africa beginning in 2013.

The TechWomen is an international exchange that uses technology as a means to empower women and girls worldwide.

“TechWomen will bring women working in the technology sector from Cameroon, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Africa, and Zimbabwe to the United States for a four to six week mentoring programme with their American counterparts in the United States,” a State Department statement March 13, 2012 said.

The US government, according to the statement is currently accepting proposals to administer TechWomen in 2013.

Following the US portion of the exchange, US mentors will travel to Africa to conduct workshops and follow-on training for women in the technology sector and young girls who have expressed interest in pursuing a tech-based career, it noted.

Launched by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton in 2011, TechWomen builds on her vision of “smart power” diplomacy. It embraces the full range of diplomatic tools, in this case technology, to bring people together for greater understanding and empower women and girls worldwide.

TechWomen initially started in the Middle East and North Africa region last year. In September 2012, the US Department of State will bring 42 women from Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, the Palestinian Territories, Tunisia, and Yemen to the United States for this peer mentorship. TechWomen is currently accepting applications for American mentors.

During the 2011 inaugural programme, more than 20 leading US companies participated in the public-private partnership by hosting international TechWomen.

By Ekow Quandzie

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