African Women and Youth as Agents of Change through Technology and Innovation

May 01, 2013 // 10:15am2:30pm
Event Co-sponsors: 
Africa Program
Urban Sustainability Laboratory
Global Womens Leadership Initiative
Environmental Change and Security Program
Science and Technology Innovation Program

On May 1, 2013, a group of African women and youth leaders met to discuss their experiences, thoughts, and advice harnessing technology and developing innovative ideas to overcome everyday issues and provide solutions for social resilience and sustainability. 

As investments in science, technology and innovations are increasingly critical for sustainable development, new generations of women and youth leaders throughout Africa are emerging and developing innovative strategies and solutions using new technologies to overcome daily issues at both the local and national levels. African youths and women have tremendous innovation capacities yet to be fully harnessed for sustainable development of the continent and globally. According to Nitin Sawhney, Assistant Professor of Media Studies at the New School for Public Engagement, "Adolescents are the lead adopters of new technology, new patterns of use and new ways of thinking, and it’s therefore crucial to focus on that group." Additionally, a recent report from the International Center for Research on Women titled, "Bridging the Gender Divide: How Technology Can Advance Women Economically," found that applying the technology enabled female users to increase productivity, pursue new entrepreneurial opportunities or skills, or otherwise improve their economic opportunities.

This conference highlighted technological innovations by women and youth leaders in Africa as a way of inspiring and mentoring a new generation of women and youth to be agents of change. It also assisted in the development of a growing network between current and new generations of women and youth leaders in technology and innovation.

This event was a collaboration of several Wilson Center programs, as well as with the African Technology Policy Studies Network located in Nairobi, Kenya. Watch the webcast here and an event summary will be available shortly.


6th Floor, Woodrow Wilson Center
Event Speakers List: 
  • Coordinator of the African Women’s Forum on Science & Technology, African Technology Policy Studies Network
  • Executive Director, Women’s Technology Empowerment Centre (W.Tec)
  • Plant Green
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Event Sessions: 

10:15am-10:30am:  Welcome and Introductions

- Steve Mcdonald, Director, Africa Program and the Project on Leadership and Building State Capacity, The Wilson Center

10:30am – 12:00:00pm:  From Local to Global, Rural to Urban: Problem-Solving through Innovative Solutions for Sustainable Development

- Isaak Mogetutu, Chief Innovations Officer, M-Farm
- Diana Mong'are, Founder, Planet Green
- Richard Seshie, Founder, Vivuus Renewables
- Rahel Getachew, Founder and Managing Director, Afrolehar, LLC
Moderated by Kevin Urama, Executive Director, African Technology Policy Studies Network

12:00pm - 1:00pm:  Luncheon


1:00pm - 2:30pm:  Paying it Forward: How to Sustain New Generations of Female and Youth Leaders in STI

- Edith Kirumba, Coordinator, African Women’s Forum on Science & Technology, African Technology Policy Studies Network
- Liz Ngonzi, Adjunct Faculty, NYU Heyman Center for Philanthropy & Fundraising and International Entrepreneur, Educator and Speaker
- Oreoluwa Somolu, Executive Director, W.Tec
-David Moinina-Sengeh, Founder, Innovate Salone, MIT Media Lab (via video-conference)
Moderator by H.E. Robin Sanders, Former United States Ambassador to the Federal Republic of Nigeria


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Event Resources: 

The article below, from Robin Sanders, focuses on the variety of ways mobile platforms are being used in developing world and ways to bring in youth and address development issues:

The second piece, also by Robin Sanders, addresses the need to respond to youth on issues of development in different ways to provide a better enabling environment for the next generation by being creative with Public-Private Partnerships.

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