US Silicon Valley mentorship opens for African women

African females with a university degree and two years professional experience in the science, technology, engineering or maths (STEM) fields are eligible for a five week mentorship at the world renowned Silicon Valley, San Francisco.

The professional exchange program, called TechWomen, is sponsored by the United States and all travel and lodging costs will be covered, as well as a daily allowance.

The programme presentation is motivated by the smart power diplomacy to give &ddquo;emerging women leaders” the opportunity of a once in a lifetime experience, according to the official site.

“We are always looking for new ways to reach out to women and girls who have the drive and the talent, but may not have had the opportunity to succeed,” said Ann Stock, the Assistant Secretary of the US State for Education and Cultural Affairs, during her introduction speech at October’s TechWomen Initiative.

Leadership, lack of US-based experience and community or voluntary work will count in the favour of applicants. Entrepreneurship skills and dedicated innovation are also two favourable traits in the candidate search.

All female residents from a selection from the African and Middle East countries Algeria, Cameroon, Egypt, Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Nigeria, the Palestinian Territories, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tunisia, Yemen or Zimbabwe will be taken in consideration.

Stock mentioned that the US is open to supporting Muslim-dominated countries.

TechWomen is managed by the Institute of International Education (IIE). The selected mentee, or apprentice, will be paired with a professional mentor who will help them tackle a project at one of the top companies that host this program.

Apart from the main project, the program also offers professional enriching activities such as leadership, entrepreneurship workshops, technology seminars and networking events. The participants are also treated to an array of cultural experiences, including art, sport sightseeing and educational institutions.

Applications will close on February 22, 2013.

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