Africa, Tech & Women: The New Faces of Development
This panel provides a rare glimpse into the multitude of ways African women are applying technology to advance Africa’s development. The panel aims to dispel the myths about African women as breeders and victims -- incapable of participating in their own continent’s development, by: (1) showcasing contributions they are making in the technology field – through entrepreneurship, philanthropy, and community leadership; and (2) providing insights into how they are using technology to raise awareness about, mobilize campaigns against and address human rights violations.
The panel will specifically explore how African women are using technology to make an impact through:
- Digital advocacy to protect people’s rights
- Social media to help grassroots organizations engage new supporters worldwide
- Mobile advertising to enable small businesses to access new markets
- Internet connectivity to integrate the often unheard community voices into the global conversation on development
Throughout the discussion, panelists will provide anecdotes on how the resulting increased access to information is altering the role of women in African society.
Deborah Ensor is the Vice President for Africa, Health and Humanitarian Media Programs for Internews, where she guides the strategic direction of the Africa portfolio, focuses on the role of media and ICTs in the provision of health information, and continues to build the capacity of Internews to respond globally in humanitarian emergencies.
Previously as Regional Director for Africa, she developed and oversaw projects in Sudan, DRC, Chad, Central African Republic, Mali, Kenya, Ethiopia, Nigeria and Haiti. Ensor originally joined Internews as Country Director in Sudan, where she helped build a network of community radio stations across the country, and trained local journalists to run them.
Ensor holds a Master’s degree in Journalism and Human Rights from Columbia University. She has more than 15 years of experience as a working journalist and 10 years working in non-profits and development. She served as editor in chief for one of the largest community newspapers in the United States and was a reporter at several major metropolitan dailies.
In addition to her journalism and media development career, Deborah has spent the past eight years in East Africa, where she designed and implemented numerous projects for major international NGOs dealing with media, education, HIV and sexual violence. She started one of the first gender-based violence programs in Southern Sudan, building a women’s center for those experiencing violence, conflict and rape. In addition, she designed a program to create safer schools in Ugandan slums and developed a series of radio dramas on the link between HIV and violence. Ensor lived for several years in a remote Kenyan village as a Peace Corps volunteer, providing home-based care for those affected by HIV/AIDS. She is the founder of her own small non-profit foundation, “Ahadi kwa Nzalani,” that continues that work today.
Ebele Okobi is Director of Yahoo!’s Business & Human Rights Program, leading Yahoo!’s efforts to promote privacy and free expression on the Internet. Before joining Yahoo!, Ebele worked as a corporate securities and mergers & acquisitions attorney at Davis Polk & Wardwell in New York, Paris and London, an attorney fellow at Consumers Union (a consumer rights advocacy non-profit) in San Francisco, a director of Advisory Services at Catalyst (a non-profit with the mission of advancing women in business) in San Jose and Amsterdam and at Nike’s EMEA headquarters in Amsterdam, where she created marketing, corporate responsibility and business development strategy for Africa.
In 2001, she took a sabbatical in order to volunteer for human rights organizations in the US and Senegal.
Ms. Okobi earned a BA in Psychology from the University of Southern California, a JD from Columbia Law School and an MBA Certificat des Études from HEC-Paris.
Isis Nyong’o is the VP & MD, Africa for InMobi, the world’s largest independent mobile advertising network. Based in Kenya, Isis has close to ten years of experience in media and tech in Africa having previously worked at Google, MTV and Kenya’s first online job site MyJobsEye. While working in business development at Google she specialized in mobile partnerships and developed the company’s content strategy to bring more African content online. She was part of the founding team of MTV Networks Africa where she was responsible for the network’s commercial strategy. Isis holds degrees from Stanford University and Harvard Business School where she was president of the Africa Business Club. Isis has been named as one of the 'Top 40 Women under 40' in Kenya, has been featured in Wired magazine amongst others and is on the board of the Africa Cancer Foundation.
Africa, Tech & Women Panelist (3/12/12 6:00 - 7:00PM EDT AT&T Conference Hotel, Salon D): http://schedule.sxsw.com/2012/events/event_IAP9933
Born in Uganda and “raised” at the United Nations, Liz Ngonzi is an international educator, speaker and entrepreneur, who since 2009, has been on Faculty at New York University’s Heyman Center for Philanthropy & Fundraising and is a 2011- 2012 Entrepreneur In Residence at Cornell University School of Hotel Administration.
Liz is a recognized authority on women / minorities in entrepreneurship and leadership; as well as technological innovations advancing causes, empowering disenfranchised people and improving service delivery. Liz is a frequent speaker at industry and academic conferences in the US and Africa.
Very passionate about education, Liz has over the last eight years, taught and developed numerous college-level fundraising, events and hospitality management courses. For the last six years, she’s been a frequent guest lecturer at her alma mater, Cornell University School of Hotel Administration -- including serving as one of 15 Dean’s Distinguished Lecturers in the fall of 2005 and a panelist during the 2007 Entrepreneurship@Cornell Celebration. Additionally, Liz was quoted in the recently published book: The Cornell School of Hotel Administration on Hospitality: Cutting Edge Thinking and Practice.
Committed to volunteerism, Liz has held several board positions, including currently serving as a member of the President’s Council of Cornell Women (as Co-Vice Chair of its Communications Committee); the Advisory Board to the Cornell Pillsbury Institute for Hospitality Entrepreneurship; and the United Nations International School’s Council for Alumni Affairs. Liz is also a proud member of 85 Broads and Womencentric.
Liz has contributed to Africa.com, Project Diaspora and 85 Broads blogs; and appeared in Crain’s NY Business, CNBC, CBS News' The Early Show, The New York Times, New Jersey Jewish News, The Nonprofit Times and BlackEnterprise.com.
A natural connector, Liz also founded and runs Amazing Taste, LLC., a values-led boutique consulting firm that connects nonprofit organizations with corporations, foundations and philanthropists, to jointly achieve their strategic objectives through fundraising events, online and mobile marketing campaigns, along with educational activities. She founded the firm in 2001, drawing on her professional career in Corporate America, her global upbringing and her personal commitment to making a social impact. Amazing Taste has worked with or advised domestic and international educational institutions, gender rights organizations, healthcare foundations, political campaigns and youth development organizations.
Liz spent her 10-year corporate career in marketing, sales and business consulting management at Digital Equipment Corporation, MICROS Systems, Inc. and Arthur Andersen, respectively.
She obtained her Master of Management in Hospitality degree from Cornell University and a Bachelor of Science in Information Systems degree from Syracuse University. Additionally, she graduated from the United Nations International School, which she attended from kindergarten through 12th grade -- studying French and Spanish.
TMS “Teddy” Ruge is currently serving as the lead social media strategist for the Connect4Climate campaign at the World Bank. In 2007, he cofounded Project Diaspora, an online platform for mobilizing, engaging and motivating members of Africa Diaspora to engage in matters important to the continent’s development. A technology enthusiast, Ruge writes and speaks extensively on Africa’s current renaissance driven by technology, youth and the Diaspora. He is a frequent contributor to several online publications including CNN, PopTech, The Globe and Mail, and The Guardian. In January 2012, he was recently received a Champion of Change award by the White House for his community development work in East Africa.
Over the past four years, TMS Ruge has worked in East Africa with various grassroots organizations, businesses and communities that are using online tools and innovations in the ICT sector, to maintain a competitive edge and foster a global presence. His work includes serving as a founding board member of Hive Colab in Kampala, Uganda -- a co-working space for young entrepreneurs working on web applications in Uganda, in which they are able to meet and collaborate on software applications designed to solve the most challenging problems in their communities.
As an active social entrepreneur, he is a director and shareholder in Uganda Medicinal Plants Growers, ltd., an agricultural start up dedicated to the value-added export of indigenous medicinal crops. By introducing local processing, farmers are able to attract lucrative international customers in need of organically grown and processed raw materials.
Ruge is also the host of The Digital Continent Podcast, an interview podcast featuring the key innovators and entrepreneurs whose work is shaping the digital economies of Africa.
Ruge is currently serving as the Lead Social Media Strategist at the World Bank’s Connect4Climate climate change platform.
He was born in Masindi, Uganda and grew up in Uganda, Kenya and the United States.