Technovation Uzbekistan, a project designed by a team of U.S. exchange program alumnae from Uzbekistan, has become one of the 70 winners of the United States Department of State 2018 Alumni Engagement Innovation Fund (AEIF) competition. Chosen out of 1,300 entries, the Technovation Uzbekistan Project aims to address the country’s STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) gender gap by encouraging more girls to develop skills in critical thinking, community problem solving, entrepreneurship, and IT.
With funding from AEIF, the alumnae of the TechWomen exchange program – supported by volunteer mentors drawn from business leaders, teachers, other professionals, and students – will recruit and coach local teams to participate in the Technovation Challenge, the world’s largest technology competition for girls ages 10 to 18. The Technovation Challenge inspires and empowers young women to solve problems in their community using technology and entrepreneurship.
The Alumni Engagement Innovation Fund, a program managed by the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs, provides small grants to teams of participants of U.S. government-sponsored exchange programs to carry out public service projects using the skills and knowledge they gained during their exchange experiences.
Since its inception in 2011, the Alumni Engagement Innovation Fund competition has supported 360 initiatives and projects led by U.S. exchange alumni across the world. AEIF projects extend and increase the impact of the U.S. Government’s investment in exchange participants and programs by enhancing the leadership capacity and community engagement of alumni and alumni networks. The program annually invites alumni to submit innovative project ideas to address one of five U.S. foreign policy themes.
The themes of this year’s competition are: Fostering Economic Prosperity; Building Civic Participation, Good Governance, and Resilient Communities; Advancing Science, Technology, Health and Innovation; Promoting Inclusion and Educational Opportunity; and Empowering Women and Girls.
The program has reached millions of people directly and indirectly through training sessions, awareness campaigns, and leadership and empowerment programs. From sharing social entrepreneurship skills with youth to creating clubs that promote religious tolerance and peaceful coexistence, alumni around the world are making a change within their communities with innovative solutions to global challenges.