Technovation just published our 2021 Annual Impact Report! Explore the report to learn about the problems girls care about most, and how they use tech to solve them. Scroll through our interactive map showcasing Technovation Clubs and Chapters around the world, and learn more about the incredible local impact of these regional hubs. And of course, learn more about how partner and individual support makes our work possible—we’re open about our expenses, our revenue, and how that money supports girls and local Technovation hubs around the world.
To mark the occasion, we asked Technovation Founder and CEO, Tara Chklovski, to share a few reflections on the past year, and how she evaluates Technovation’s success.
How do you know that Technovation’s model is working?
Technovation is having an impact both in the short and long term. Technovation tracks changes in girls’ knowledge, technical skills, confidence, and self-efficacy throughout our program, but we believe the best evidence of learning is the apps and AI projects that the girls create, which showcase the real-world application of their knowledge. We also have worked with an independent research firm to conduct an alumnae survey, which shows that Technovation alumnae are pursuing STEM degrees and careers at much higher rates than women in the general population.
What is a tool that Technovation uses to measure success?
MIT’s Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-Pal) shared A Practical Guide to Measuring Women’s and Girls’ Empowerment in Impact Evaluations, which has been helpful in guiding the development of Technovation’s pre and post surveys. You can read more about the creation of this incredibly useful guide on their blog, where they explore the question “What does an empowered girl do differently than a girl who is not empowered?”
Give us an example of how you’ve used data to shape Technovation’s program.
In 2018, a team from MIT App Inventor analyzed the apps that the girls created and concluded that many of the apps used relatively simple code. We found one challenge was that the tutorials for low-code/no-code platforms were either simplistic games, or focused on very narrow solutions such as quizzes. Learning how to build an “Angry bird game” was not going to help create an innovative solution to a behavior change app for addressing racial bias.
Since receiving that feedback, we’ve been steadily improving our technical tutorials that walk learners through all the steps needed to create technology-based solutions to complex real-world problems such as matching volunteers with local opportunities, tracking your goals, how to collect weather data and so on. We have also been improving our AI-entrepreneurship curriculum and are excited to bring even more cutting-edge tools to girls around the world!
What is one area where Technovation could improve?
Through conversations with our alumnae and surveys, we’ve heard that our alumnae need more support as they pursue degrees and careers in STEM. This year, we are hosting our first-ever Career Summit to increase awareness of the diverse career opportunities for alumnae, help them strengthen their social networks, and increase access to job opportunities. We are excited to build out our support for alumnae and are exploring ways that we can act as bridging or linking social capital between our alumnae and our vast network of volunteers and corporate partners in Tech.
Tell us about a team or app from 2021 that stood out to you and why?
Headway is a team of three young girls in Tajikistan who created an app to improve communication between fathers and children. I was very impressed by how these young girls were tackling such complex problems, and having such incredible courage to be able to tell their parents, and especially their fathers, that there was a problem with communication between them, and that needed to improve.
Thanks so much for sharing your reflections with us Tara—let’s end on a positive note. What was a high point for you in 2021?
The highlight of last year for me was to personally connect with Alumnae from the past ten years and to hear how Technovation changed the course of their lives, developing within them the voices of leaders. And we’re bringing that into 2022—the excitement of helping our 150,000 Alumnae continue on their journey as technology leaders and innovators.
Read the full 2021 Technovation Annual Impact Report to learn more about the incredible girls Technovation has the privilege to support.