TECH AGE GIRLS 2011 ABOUT TAGThe Tech Age Girls (TAG) project address-es the lack of skilled women in the fieldof informat...
www.irex.org    TAG 2011 JOURNEY...    From 460 applications, Tech Age Girls     selected 175 quarter-finalists to at-   ...
www.irex.orgIt all began with 460           applicants...
www.irex.orgThe Tech Age Girls 2011 project started in Febru-           strongest plans for their community projects werea...
www.irex.orgAnd then there were 88,  developing new online               resources
www.irex.org                                                       good and bad things happening on the way to 88 Semi-fin...
www.irex.orgSummer Conference 2011
www.irex.org Finalists Attend Summer ConferenceAfter months of hard work, 34 distinguished final-ists gathered for the two...
www.irex.org GUEST SPEAKERS:                                                           Elnura Osmanalieva,                ...
www.irex.org                                                             much greater than she had thought before,Next Ste...
www.irex.orgDarya Azina,                            Amanda                            Guliza AlmazbekFinalist             ...
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Tech Age Girls 2011 Report


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The Tech Age Girls (TAG) project address-
es the lack of skilled women in the field
of information technology (IT) by encour-
aging and training the most promising
young female computer specialists.
Through a process in which they have the
opportunity to further develop IT skills,
learn from successful female leaders,
and design their own community pro-
jects, participants take their first steps
toward entering one of the most promis-
ing and dynamic fields in the global econ-
omy. IREX started the Tech Age Girls pro-
ject in Kyrgyzstan in 2010 and adminis-
tered its second round in 2011.

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Tech Age Girls 2011 Report

  1. 1. >> TECH AGE GIRLS 2011 REPORT
  2. 2. TECH AGE GIRLS 2011 ABOUT TAGThe Tech Age Girls (TAG) project address-es the lack of skilled women in the fieldof information technology (IT) by encour-aging and training the most promisingyoung female computer specialists.Through a process in which they have theopportunity to further develop IT skills,learn from successful female leaders,and design their own community pro-jects, participants take their first stepstoward entering one of the most promis-ing and dynamic fields in the global econ-omy. IREX started the Tech Age Girls pro-ject in Kyrgyzstan in 2010 and adminis-tered its second round in 2011.From June 27 to July 9, 2011 the ef-forts of the Tech Age Girls (TAG) projectculminated in a two-week conference for34 outstanding young women throughoutKyrgyzstan who developed their IT andleadership skills. These talented, drivengirls have returned to their homes, wherethey are using their new skills and expe-riences to implement projects that willbenefit their communities. Together, theTAG implementing partners have laid thefoundation for a talented group of youngwomen to shape their country’s future. 1
  3. 3. www.irex.org TAG 2011 JOURNEY... From 460 applications, Tech Age Girls selected 175 quarter-finalists to at- tend basic IT training. The quarter- finalists then implemented their very first community service projects, ded- icated to Global Youth Service Day which affected 2,700 people. Ap p lic a t io n Based on their commitment and per- 175 Quarter- 460 Applicants formance during the quarter-final finalists receive basic IT training round, 88 participants moved on to the semi-final round to take part in Global Youth intermediate IT and leadership train- Service Day ing, and created their own blogs about women leaders in their commu- blog! nity. s 88 semi- finalists: 34 finalists 34 most promising and hard-working intermediate selected for conference IT, blogging participants were then selected as TAG finalists, and attended a two- week leadership and intensive IT training conference held in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. TAG finalists returned to their com- munities, remaining linked in to a network of young women leaders who are implementing local projects and training their peers in key IT skills. 2
  4. 4. www.irex.orgIt all began with 460 applicants...
  5. 5. www.irex.orgThe Tech Age Girls 2011 project started in Febru- strongest plans for their community projects wereary, receiving 460 applications from candidates all chosen to begin the semifinal round of training inacross Kyrgyzstan. One hundred and seventy-five photo and video editing, blogging, and sessions inquarterfinalists were selected and trained in com- leadership, teambuilding and conflict mitigation.puter basics and social networking where theybuilt relationships virtually with their fellow par-ticipants. On April 15-17, the TAG project quar-terfinalists planned and implemented community TAG Survey Results:service projects as part of Global Youth ServiceDay, a global event founded in 1988 to mobilize 165 quarterfinalists took survey and answered the follow-youth throughout the world in service projects ing question: Did you participate in community projects?and service learning.This year, the Tech Age Girls’ community projectsfocused on leadership and IT training, health edu-cation, and aiding those in need. The 2,700 bene-ficiaries ranged from parents of local students tolow income families with ill children; from theelderly to kindergarteners. In stepping forward tolead and promote a change in their communities,their work served not only those directly impact-ed, but anyone who was inspired by their exam-ple. Following one quarterfinalist’s service pro-ject at a local hospital, one of the facility’s nurs-es expressed how impressed she was: “This is thefirst time that I have seen students visiting ourelderly patients who aren’t their own family…it is great,” she shared.In addition to creating their own community ser-vice projects, the TAG quarterfinalists worked torecruit their peers in conducting service-relatedactivities to create lasting change in theirhometowns, and connected online to share theirwork with each other and a High School club inthe United States.Of the 175 quarterfinalists, 88 candidates whodemonstrated the most IT and leadership experi-ence, superior communication skills, and the 4
  6. 6. www.irex.orgAnd then there were 88, developing new online resources
  7. 7. www.irex.org good and bad things happening on the way to 88 Semi-finalists... success. Therefore, no matter what the circum- stances we face, we should never give up”.At the beginning of May, the TAG semi-finalists Each semifinalist worked tirelessly to produce ahad completed training conducted by bloggers creative and moving blog, and the TAG selectionof Kyrgyzstan and created 81 blogs at kloop.kg. committee identified 34 finalists to move to theThe blogs were dedicated to female leaders in next round – the Tech Age Girls Conference.Kyrgyzstan. To gather information for them,TAG semi-finalists conducted research online,and interviewed prominent women leaders intheir communities from the public, private and Are Leaders Born or Made?non-profit sectors. Before participation After participation Don’t KnowThe semifinalists appreciated the opportunity 19% Born % h: 2to talk more closely with women whom they 12% Bot Born: 3%have admired, and develop vital new confi-dence and skills in professional exchange. As Made Made 69% 95%Nazgul Abdykerimova of Naryn shared, “My in-terview with Narynkul Chorobaeva, Dean of After participating in TAG training events,Foreign Faculty at Naryn State University, 26% more respondents believed that lead- ership is gained through experience, ra-was very beneficial for me; after the conver- ther than genetics alone.sation, I understood that there are always “Your dreams become plans only TAG Rukiya Isakova had an oppor- if you work hard.” tunity to sit down for an interview Nazgul Abdykerimova interviewed with Jeanne Saraleva, the founder Naryn State University Dean Naryn- -- Health care worker Olesya of “Women’s Association of Jalal- kul Chorobaeva for her semifinal Ivanchenko, during her interview Abad,” a local women’s rights blogging project with Darya Azina organization 6
  8. 8. www.irex.orgSummer Conference 2011
  9. 9. www.irex.org Finalists Attend Summer ConferenceAfter months of hard work, 34 distinguished final-ists gathered for the two-week TAG Conference inBishkek from June 27 – July 9. TAG finalists un-derwent advanced training in IT skills, developedtheir knowledge in gender issues and HIV/AIDS,and participated in workshops on planning smallcommunity projects, applying for grants, andbudgeting. Throughout their coursework, they notonly learned key skills in running a successful pro- TAGs explore the inner workings of the com-ject, but also gained real-life knowledge for their puters they use at the conferencefuture professional lives. Aigerim Jyrgalbekovaof Talas shared, “This project helped me to be-come wiser. Before TAG I didn’t know how to er repair and maintenance empowers them, their communities, and their schools, where IT profes-work with the computer, but now I know how to sionals may be lacking.do it and I’ve improved my English as well.” The IT training also included sessions on recording and producing videos, podcasting, digital photog- raphy and photo editing, adding Kyrgyz-language content to Wikipedia, and leveraging the power of social media. TAGs Meet Young Successful Leaders Several guests were invited to the conference – successful leaders in politics, art, IT, and busi- Under guidance of Peace Corps volunteers, ness. the TAGs discuss time management, interview tips, and writing resumes and cover letters. They shared not only their memories and sto- ries of success, but also described how they overcame difficulties in their livesThe advanced IT training gave TAG finalists an in- and in their careers. Meeting with Elnura Osmon-timate understanding of the computers they use alieva, a FLEX alumna and independent film mak-so frequently at school, serving to demystify the er, helped the finalists to understand the im-devices: the girls learned about computer hard- portance of giving back to their communities. Os-ware, operating systems, equipment mainte- monalieva underscored how many institutions shenance, and learned computer security. In rural owes her thanks to for her success: “I feel respon-Kyrgyzstan particularly, this knowledge is essen- sibility to stay in Kyrgyzstan and develop mytial: giving the TAGs an understanding of comput- country, she shared with the girls. 8
  10. 10. www.irex.org GUEST SPEAKERS: Elnura Osmanalieva, Young actress & film producer Shirin Aitmatova, Elvira Sarieva, Media consultant, Chairman of Supervisory Deputy of Parliament of Kyrgyzstan Board, Public Television & Radio Corporation Tolondu Toichubaev, Daniyar Abdykerimov, Social worker Film producer “Asel was very enthusiastic in informing stu- Taking Part in Internships dents about new tools like Facebook, Movie Maker, Twitter, and Storify,” shared Aida Ab- dullaeva, Assistant at the Soros Foundation’s Bish-During the second week of the conference, the kek Resource Center. “What I liked the most isTAG finalists participated in their first real-world, that she was not only telling them about theseprofessional internships at international organiza- tools, but also showing how to use them intions, businesses, and local NGOs. During their practice.”four-day internships, the Tech Age Girls appliedtheir newly acquired skills to perform professionalwork and conduct presentations while teachingothers how to use technological tools, answerphone calls, and communicate with visitors.At the Coalition for Democracy and Civil Society,Guliza Almazbek kyzy created a Facebook pageand a Twitter account for the organization. Fol-lowing Almazbek kyzy’s hard work and the initia-tive she demonstrated during her internship, hersupervisor invited her to continue working forthe summer, to gain experience and further de-velop the organization’s social media presence. During their Summer Conference Internships, sever-The Soros Foundation in Kyrgyzstan invited Asel al Tech Age Girls established social media presences for their host companies and organizations onRayimbekova as a trainer for their event dedicat- Twitter and Facebooked to students, to teach social media tools. 9
  11. 11. www.irex.org much greater than she had thought before,Next Steps for New Leaders “Thanks to TAG I got to know myself better. I have always known that I want to be useful for At the confer- the society, but I haven’t realized how much I ence’s closing cer- wanted it.” emony, partici- pants set up a The conference has wrapped up, but the TAG pro- Tech Expo where ject will continue as three finalists will travel to they showed dif- the United States this October to represent Kyr- ferent tools such gyzstan. The participants now have the Ambassador Spratlen hears about as Storify, Twit- responsibility to not only lead their local what new IT tools the TAGs discov- community but also serve as global ered during their training ter, Facebook, QR codes, and Google ambassadors. The youth will return to their com-Earth to guests including Pamela Spratlen, Am- munities with a worldly perspective and under-bassador of the United States, officials from the standing that they can apply to their lives andPresidential Administration of Kyrgyzstan, the those around them. In preparation for their returnMinistry of Education, the Ministry of Youth, and to their communities, conference participantsseveral representatives of international organiza- drafted ideas and project proposals about whattions. they will do after returning their home towns. Project implementation will begin in late August.Seven ofthese girls Two weeks of conference may be a short time forwere invited career development, but it was the start of a longand recreat- journey for their future, to become leaders ined this Tech their societies and promoting ICT among the youthExpo for the of Kyrgyzstan. For months, these girls began ainternational journey, struggled, learned, shared theirparticipants knowledge with peers, practiced their skills, andof the Cen- Seven TAGs gave IT presentations at the made it to the end, and their perseverance will Central Asia and Afghanistan Women’s take them far.tral Asia and Economic SymposiumAfghanistanWomen’s Economic Symposium held in Bishkek TAG is part of the Global Connections and Ex-where again they showcased different ICT tools, change Program, funded by the United Statesdemonstrating a key element in TAG’s program Department of State and Digital Youth Dialoguemodel in which youth train and inspire other project, funded by the United States Embassy inyouth and community members, and thus deepen Bishkek, administered by IREX with support ofthe impact and sustainability of the work. the English language teachers’ association FO- RUM. The TAG conference was partly fundedTAG Participant Dariya Azina realized during the through a grant from Soros Foundation in Kyr-project that her desire to help her community was gyzstan and assisted by FORUM and Peace Corps Volunteers in Kyrgyzstan. 12
  12. 12. www.irex.orgDarya Azina, Amanda Guliza AlmazbekFinalist Japarova, Finalist kyzy, Finalist10th grader at School 9th grader at School No. 8, 9th grader at National Comput-No. 2, Karakol Naryn er Gymnasium No. 5, BishkekFollowing the conference: Following the conference:Plans to host IT and video pro- Going to make a three day con- Following the conference:duction training courses ference for more than 20 8 th Plans to form a club to hold IT and 9th grade girls in Naryn on training, seminars on gender IT skills, business etiquette, equality, and art classes for“After my high school graduation I resume writing, and time man- girls in her community.want to apply to Journalism and agement – like a preparatoryMass Communications department camp for TAG hopefuls.in Kyrgyz-Slavic University. I really “When I’ll finish the school Iwant to become a good journalist want to study Internationaland in addition to my professional “In the future I really want to and Comparative Politics incolumn in the newspaper, I want be employed in the interna- USA, and become one of theto lead my own blogs in the inter- tional organizations, and pro- leading politicians in Kyrgyznet, create useful websites and vide assistance to my country Republic”promote them.” through various useful pro- jects” 11