TechWomen Delegation at the Women in Technology Conference at Technopark, Casablanca
Just about a week ago was our Morocco Delegation’s Farewell Celebration and Henna Party at the Association Solidarité Féminine (ASF), a social enterprise in Casablanca that provides unwed mothers with job skills, employment opportunities in its spa and restaurant, and childcare while they are working. It was a perfect ending to a week of visits to organizations dedicated to the social and economic advancement of underserved women, including one supporting widows, Mouassat in Mohammedia, and several handicraft cooperatives. Continue reading →
I am travelling through Morocco with the TechWomen delegation. I’ve visited small villages where women are the predominant earners, struggling to find distribution channels for their work. We teach them ecommerce, packaging, marketing, competition. Unable to ask their own product questions—the village men are the voices we most often hear—these women genuinely want to move their products into broader distribution. We describe Etsy, PayPal, eBay, leave materials, links and business cards. But I keep thinking, why can’t they learn to develop iPhone or Droid apps? Teach them
Google’s app builder. The younger women are not afraid.
“Bonjour, my name is Fabiola, a Techwomen mentor and a Yahoo!” – this is how I have been introducing myself during the latest Techwomen visits at local Moroccan universities, schools and various women entrepreneurial associations. I have been Fabiola since birth, and a Yahoo! employee by choice for the last 4 yrs. In 2011 a persistent inner voice lead me to become a Techwomen mentor.
The TechWomen delegation in Morocco had a full and interesting day today in Casablanca and Mohammedia. Our day started early, so we got to watch produce being sold in the neighborhoods from tiltcarts. It is surprising to see sheep, cows, horses, and donkeys grazing and wandering around on city streets. We had one herd of sheep cross the freeway in front of our bus – with the shepherd throwing smalls stones at the last sheep while he caught the one which was refusing to cross.
So far, the TechWomen delegation trip to Morocco is every bit as enriching and physically draining as the 5-week TechWomen program; that said, enriching is quite an understatement. For me, travel is synonymous with growth. Working at IIE (Institute of International Education) has been an invaluable learning experience. I am extremely fortunate to have had the chance to get to know 37 unique, intelligent, and generous TechWomen Mentees from the Middle East and North Africa over the period of their 5 week mentorship and to have traveled to Washington, DC with the group in July. I have learned more professionally and personally in the last 9 months than I ever thought possible. That being said, it has been an absolute honor to meet the Moroccan and Algerian Mentees in Morocco this week.