FIRST THOUGHT: Sharing Your Passion
Today’s Woman to Watch has landed on Forbes’ 30 Under 30 Social Entrepreneurs list—twice—proving you’re never too young to get going on your passion project and make a real difference in the lives of others.That got me thinking about the pressure millennial women feel to decide and act on such passions early on. If your passion project right now is swiping right on Bumble, that’s cool. But if you happen to be someone who has a few innovative ideas, share with your girlfriends just how you figured it out. Explaining the direct or meandering way you got there might just help others get a jump-start.
WOMEN IN NUMBERS: 50 Percent
When it comes to global plights, there are lots of people who could benefit from some of those innovative ideas. Today, there are about 65 million people who are displaced from their homes, their towns, their nations because of conflict, constituting the largest number of refugees since World War II. These people are uprooted and in search of basic survival and safety. And despite the connectedness our modern technology affords most of us, displaced people throughout the world lack access to that connectivity, with refugees being 50 percent less likely than the general population to have a phone with internet access.
WOMAN TO WATCH: Joséphine Goube, CEO of Techfugees
The benevolent and pioneering Joséphine Goube has a great understanding of why getting internet access to refugees should be a top priority when it comes to helping these displaced people. While humans still share some of the same necessities as those back in the second world war—shelter and food—there’s something else just as crucial that provides connectivity, education, employment and so on: technology.
That’s where Joséphine’s brilliant nonprofit, Techfugees, comes in. The CEO of the organization, Joséphine utilizes Techfugees as a way to advocate for migrants’ social inclusion in 25 countries around the globe, all through something most of us absolutely take for granted: our phones. By making mobile and digital technology available in these communities, Joséphine is leading the tech community’s response to the refugee crisis and truly empowering the powerless.
Techfugees works its magic through a number of ways, including with hackathons, workshops, meetups and conferences throughout the world, all with the goal of developing tech solutions for and with displaced people. Today, more than 18,000 tech engineers, designers and entrepreneurs work together to get tech into the hands of those who need it most.
Joséphine and the dedicated team at Techfugees focus on five key areas of work to have an impact: infrastructure, education, identity, health and inclusion. Infrastructure elements like hotspots and Wi-Fi are essential for those in refugee camps or struggling communities to have online access to an array of helpful info. Once that infrastructure is established, language apps and online courses help refugees continue to learn. Online training and access to digitized documents assist them in maintaining or re-establishing their identity when relocated to a host community. Access to online medical info, as well as biotech devices and state-of-the-art medical technology, aids in improved mental and physical health. And access to social media, digital storytelling, banking and even entrepreneurship opportunities helps refugees feel a sense of inclusion in their new communities, like they truly belong.
Thanks, Joséphine, for employing the power of technology to help bring a little comfort and stability to the people caught up in one of the most significant crises of our time. Using her tech expertise, knowledge of community organization and her interest in empowering refugee and migrant populations, Joséphine Goube created Techfugees. Click here or visit www.OnTheDotWoman.com to learn more about what she says about being successful in tech and grassroots organizations.
QUITE THE QUOTE
Today’s quote comes from Queen Rania of Jordan:
“In education, technology can be a life changer, a game changer, for kids who are both in school and out of school. Technology can bring textbooks to life. The internet can connect students to their peers in other parts of the world. It can bridge the quality gaps.”
This is Melinda Garvey signing off until next time. Remember, ladies, empowered women empower other women. Share On the Dot so more women can have a voice. Thanks for getting ready with us.
Headshot by Ben McMillan.