How Digital Citizen Fund is empowering women through education
Women are disproportionately affected by this skill deficit, and in many developing countries are given no opportunity to gain access to an education or to any form of digital literacy. These women are being left behind as the world moves forward without them.
Roya Mahboob is an Afghan entrepreneur, a New Now leader, and the co-founding CEO of Digital Citizen Fund (DCF). Her incredible body of work focusses on providing digital literacy for women and children in developing countries, with a particular focus on Afghanistan, where only 3% of women over 25 have completed any level of formal education.
DCF’s mission is to increase women's participation and advancement in the workplace – they do this through the provision of education, training, and support. By creating new pathways to digital literacy and to well-paying jobs, the DCF team is transforming societies and helping women take control of their careers and futures.
In 2018 Roya joined the New Now – a global group of rising leaders incubated by Virgin Unite tackling the world’s toughest challenges – and since then we have been in awe of her commitment and passion to bridging the gap between developed and developing countries.
As it has to so many, COVID-19 presented some exceptional hurdles to the DCF team, and though they were unable to reach as many students as they had originally intended, they did provide training in entrepreneurship, coding, robotics, and gaming for almost 600 students during this difficult time.
Both DCF and Roya’s other organisation, Dreamers Institute, focused much of their 2020 efforts on fighting COVID-19. They utilised their facilities and resources to create a COVID focused workspace for local women. What resulted was an open-source ventilator, a variety of robotics devices, and several innovative approaches to combat the virus.
“By educating and training women to harness their creativity and tap into their potential for business, we offer them the chance to realize their dreams of success and play a vital role in our country's future,” said Roya.
Looking to the remainder of 2021 and beyond, DCF is preparing to expand programming and training to cities and villages across Afghanistan. The team is committed to providing tech training to 15,000 females in IT centres in Herat, Kabul and Nimorz. Roya is also working on building the first STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Mathematics) school in Afghanistan – focusing on robotics technology, scientific research, and making STEAM education accessible to all in Afghanistan.
DCF’s projects have the potential of generating truly sustainable, long-term impact. Empowering women with a technology-based education allows them to improve lives within their own cities, towns, and villages, while simultaneously making an impact on the wider world.