Learning from the stories happening at the frontlines of climate change: How girls and young women are spearheading the development of powerful and scalable AI solutions

Join us on September 22 (10-11 am EDT) at Climate Week NYC 2022
for a conversation about youth, gender, and climate change
(please note, this event is online)

Climate Change is increasing gender inequality

Global headlines are increasingly dominated by projections about rising sea levels and soaring temperatures, but one climate story that rarely gets told is the tale of how women and girls are hit hardest by extreme weather and other climate-related shocks.

Researchers have found that women are more vulnerable to climate change in ways that extend beyond environmental devastation. In particular, female victims of domestic abuse are particularly vulnerable to wild weather, as many of them are already in situations that make meeting their basic needs difficult, let alone coping with a climate emergency or similar crisis. Women in many regions also have less access to resources, including education, accurate information, and wealth, which only multiplies the impact of a crisis.

Women’s vulnerability to climate change stems from a number of factors—social, economic and cultural.

  • 70% of the 1.3 billion people living in conditions of poverty are women
  •  In urban areas, 40% of the poorest households are headed by women
  • Women participate in most of the world’s food production (50-80%), but they own less than 10% of the land
  • Women are also heavily represented in poor communities that depend on local natural resources for their livelihood (especially in rural areas). This includes being responsible for the household water supply, fuel for cooking and heating the home, and securing and preparing food.

Climate change affects everyone, but we need to make sure that those who are most at risk—girls and women—are included in the conversation and leadership in climate movements and sustainability initiatives. We also need to equip them with the skills and resources to lead, innovate, and develop climate solutions—including technology like AI and big data.

Youth, Climate Change, and AI

Technovation empowers girls to get familiar with satellite data, global and national data sets, and then to layer on on-the-ground information through mobile phones and low-cost sensors. We do this because we know that AI holds incredible promise…and that girls do too. Empowering girls and women with the skills to develop technology to tackle the climate problems they face will accelerate climate innovation. With AI, girls on the frontlines of climate change can develop powerful, scalable solutions.

Youth as agents of change

Growing up in an increasingly diverse and challenging world has shaped the mindsets of young people. With this future- and solution-oriented vision, young people have the power to create real change by challenging political and social norms, and addressing stereotypes that have perpetuated the exclusion of female voices from conversations where all voices should be counted and heard.

The empowering and amplifying effect of social media allows youth’s voices to reach larger audiences and raise awareness to a more diverse audience. They do not depend on mainstream media as previous generations did. This group has the power to transform behaviors and help shape a more equitable mindset for the world—but they need a network that will support, empower, and fund them while also being accountable for helping them pave the way too.

Technology and innovation are also naturally intertwined in young people’s minds, which prepares them to find creative solutions when invited to the table. Every year we see hundreds of girls develop climate solutions (environmental issues are the second-most common problem globally addressed by Technovation Girls participants) and take their first steps to become ecopreneurs.

Another area of promise is well informed, empowered citizen AI. Citizen AI can be a forceful, real opportunity to strengthen social participation by collecting data on-the-ground and enhancing innovation with technology and AI based solutions that are more accessible and deliver key features: mobility, shareability and scalability.

Meet young women fighting climate change locally and learn the best ways to support them…and other women

We’re proud to be part of generating more momentum at Climate Week NYC 2022, and thrilled to shine a light on the amazing young women who are using what they learned through Technovation Girls to develop innovative climate solutions.

Climate Week NYC engages influential climate leaders from all fields, including business, government, the climate community, and the UN General Assembly. Climate Week NYC is ambitious, urgent, and focused on driving action. Join us at our “Young Women’s Climate AI Ecopreneurship Summit” on Thursday, September 22, 2022 at 10-11 am EDT. 

This online event is a conversation between nonprofit, tech industry, and youth community leaders about how to engage and uplift everyone so we can create sustainable gender-equal, community-inclusive solutions to address climate change and its effects.

Topics include: Ecopreneurship, AI entrepreneurship, low-cost technology and innovation, stories from young women ecopreneurs, financing models, and how to transform climate tech entrepreneurship

The event is free, online, and it will remind you together we can accomplish more than we think in the fight against climate change. We hope you’ll join us. 

Register here for the Young Women’s Climate AI Ecopreneurship Summit


  • Introduction to Citizen AI Ecopreneurship with Gabriela Burian, Bayer
  • Using low cost sensors in the field to support innovative climate enterprises with Jeff Herrick, USDA and Laura Hamrick, LandPKS
  • Stories from the field: boosts and barriers for young women ecopreneurs with Winnie Msamba, and Giovanna Romero Contreras, moderated by Kate Young
  • Innovative financing models: young women investors in young women with Samantha Quist, Stripe
  • The Road to Transforming Climate Entrepreneurship: Fireside Chat with Meaghan English, the Patrick J. McGovern Foundation and Winnie Msamba, Founder Morogoro Cocopeat, and Technovation Alumnae

About the Speakers

We’ll be announcing additional speakers in the following days, so check back soon! 

Global Multi-Stakeholder Platform Lead at Bayer
Gabriela Burian is Agriculture Engineer with master in sustainability and has been, since 2020, the Global Multi-Stakeholder Platform Lead at Bayer, a global enterprise with core competencies in the Life Science fields of healthcare and agriculture. In her role, Gabriela works as a leader integrating sustainability in the company’s strategy. As a leader, Gabriela is results-driven, strategic, innovative, and passionate about sustainability and how people can make a difference to create a sustainable future. A mission of hers is to advance sustainability goals and how can people contribute to these goals through their lives. Throughout her career, Gabriela has acquired over 20 years of consistently delivering results in sustainability, food and agriculture, environmental strategy, diversity, and multi-stakeholder platforms. Some of her accomplishments at Bayer include:

  • Establishing the first regional sustainability area in the company, being recognized as one of
    the top leaders in sustainability.
  • Co-founding the Climate Smart Agriculture which enables the agri-sector to present solutions
    to reduce CO2 emissions.
  • Creating Bayer’s strategy around food systems that drive business solutions to advance
    sustainable development goals.

Sustainability is both a career path and passion of Gabriela’s, as she is also an advocate for getting more people involved in the sustainable development goals. She was born in France, grew up in Brazil and lives with her family in United States.


Soil Scientist, USDA Agricultural Research Service 

Jeff is a Soil Scientist with the USDA Agricultural Research Service in Las Cruces, NM and is a Sustainability Innovation Lab Fellow at the University of Colorado in Boulder. He currently leads development of the global Land-Potential Knowledge System (LandPKS) mobile app. Jeff led the development of the nationally (US) applied rangeland monitoring protocols, and co-led the development of the national rangeland assessment system, both of which have been adapted for use in a number of other countries. He has published widely on a variety of topics including soil health, land restoration, and strategies for applying resilience to management. He is a member of UNEP International Resource Panel and serves as the US science representative to the UNCCD.


Communications & Research Coordinator for LandPKS
Laura Hamrick is the Communications & Research Coordinator for LandPKS, where she conducts training and communications efforts and research on soil texture. Laura is passionate about communicating complex and technical topics to non-experts in an understandable way. Laura previously taught technology to middle and high school students, where she encouraged students to engage in design thinking processes, understand the connection of technology to society, and explore emerging technology. She has also worked on improving the access of people with disabilities to technology by managing training, outreach, and captioning services for the University of Colorado Boulder’s Digital Accessibility Office.


Co-Founder, Morogoro Cocopeat, Technovation Alumna 

Winnie Msamba, from Kenya, for her work on Morogoro Cocopeat, an initiative to help small farmers switch to the more environmentally-friendly cocopeat (a 100% organic growing medium made from coconut husks). So far Winnie and Morogoro Cocopeat have manufactured and sold over 50 tons of cocopeat.



Mechatronics Engineering Student, Technovation Alumna 

Giovanna, from Mexico, is a Mechatronics Engineering student and Technovation Alumna, member of the Latin America Regional Winning Team in the 2020 season for the development of “Kap”, a venomous species mapping and recognition app that uses AI. She has participated in various contests and projects related to the use of technology with a focus on sustainability. She was part of the winning team of the first “Girls with Energy Hackathon” by Siemens Energy, and a finalist team member of the “Girls Save the World” award by HP in the first ever MIT Solv[ed] Youth Challenge for creating a climate academy for girls in her community. Currently, she participates in the development of an app for species conservation together with Technovation and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).


Startup Partnerships Lead, Stripe
Samantha Quist is a Startup Partnerships Lead at Stripe, where she works with venture capitalists and startup communities to create delightful experiences for their portfolio companies. Previously, Sam was a co-founder at Founder Friendly Labs startup accelerator, founder/CEO of Copywriter Central (pre-acquisition), Senior Director at Technovation, and an early Product Marketing Manager at Google. Sam loves working with founders, meeting interesting people, and learning new things.


Office of the President, Patrick J. McGovern Foundation

Meaghan leads the work of the Office of the President at the Patrick J. McGovern Foundation. In this role, Meaghan oversees Foundation strategic priorities, partnership development, external engagement, and communications. Previously, Meaghan managed business and society partnerships focused on social impact and corporate responsibility at the Boston Consulting Group. She holds a BA in Political Science from Boston College and an MA in Gender & International Development from The George Washington University.


Moderators and Emcees


As Technovation’s Senior Director of Volunteer Programs, Bryant leads mentor engagement with current and prospective corporate partners. Bryant earned his B.A. in Political Science from UC Santa Barbara and a M.A. in Education and Teaching from USC’s Rossier School of Education. Prior to working with nonprofits in the social impact space, Bryant taught Social Studies in middle school and high school classrooms in the Bay Area and Ann Arbor.

Kate Young (Moderator)

As Technovation’s Community Engagement Coordinator, Kate has the privilege of meeting alumnae from all over the world, collecting their stories and connecting them to opportunities to help them continue to grow after participating in Technovation’s core programs. She has also worked on fundraising, special events, and research initiatives for Technovation. Kate studied Public Health and Political Science at the University of California, San Diego. Prior to joining the Technovation team, Kate worked on a successful Congressional campaign in Southern California and helped pass LGBTQ legislation in Washington DC.