Mentors make all the difference. For the thousands of girls around the world who participate in Technovation Girls each year, working closely with a mentor is often one of the richest parts of their experience. As volunteers, mentors do more than help girls solve problems with their code—they encourage and inspire their teams, and help them pick themselves up and keep going even when things get tough. Over the last two years especially, as learning has shifted to digital spaces, Technovation Girls mentors have gone above and beyond to make sure girls feel connected and supported. Mentors are tech champions in a hundred ways big and small, fighting for girls to receive the education and access to technology they deserve. Today, meet one of these incredible volunteer mentors—Joan Nabusoba, a Technovation Girls mentor in Kenya. 

Meet Joan Nabusoba, a mentor and a champion for girls’ education.

Joan is a software developer and a co-founder of Pwani Teknowgalz—a women-led, community-based organization which equips girls and young women in marginalized communities in Kenya with practical STEM skills. Joan is also a Technovation alumnae—in 2013 she coded an app to help users administer emergency medical aid. In 2014, Joan came back as a volunteer to support teams as a mentor, and has continued to mentor teams ever since.

Joan’s passion for supporting girls to develop both technical and creative problem-solving skills shines through every conversation with her—”[girls] can solve their local problems because they’re the ones who understand it better…I believe with the skills that they have acquired they can create solutions for their community and then they can also come back to mentor other young women, they can be the next coaches, they can be the next mentors. That’s what I really look forward to.”

The work Joan and Pwani Teknowgalz have done is incredible, bridging an enormous gap in technology access in Kenya, where 80% of schools can’t afford the tools required for e-learning. With the generous support of their local partner SafariCom, Pwani Teknowgalz connected girls with internet access and the necessary technology to keep learning during the COVID-19 pandemic. Pwani Teknowgalz became a digital hub in Mombasa, supporting 5,000 girls locally. The impact is lasting too—80% of those girls have gone on to pursue STEM careers. Additionally, 80% of girls have gone on to become mentors in Technovation and other programs, making Joan’s dreams of girls returning to mentor other girls a reality.

You can be a champion too.

When we spoke to Joan at the start of the year, we asked if she had any advice for girls just starting their Technovation journeys. “Congratulations for having the courage to be among those who are willing to make change” she told the girls. “Keep on innovating with your community in mind. You are the change that the community needs.”

You can be part of that change too. Join us, Joan, and the entire Technovation Girls community in championing girls’ education this year, and help more girls connect with incredible mentors like Joan, so they too can create technology to help their communities.

Donate today and be a champion for girls
and their mentors. 

If you’re ready to step up and volunteer a mentor to support girls beginning their technology journeys, registration opens in early December, and we’d love for you to join us. Learn more about becoming a mentor for Technovation Girls.