This week marks the start of the 65th UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW65), and we are pleased to introduce DOT’s delegation of staff and youth leaders.
DOT’s delegation consists of 15 women from Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Jordan, Tanzania, Lebanon and Canada who are gender equality and youth-led community development advocates and experts. Their range of expertise includes bridging the gender digital divide, gender equality, youth-led community development, social entrepreneurship, evaluation, advancing women in leadership, and transformative community change.
The theme of 2021’s UN Commission on the Status of Women is “women’s full and effective participation and decision-making in public life, as well as the elimination of violence, for achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls.”
The 10-day event includes roundtables, interactive dialogues, and general discussions with world leaders and governments, NGOs and the general public, all of whom will participate in the development of recommendations for collective action and change.
Meet Our Inspiring Delegation to the 65th UN Commission on the Status of Women
Violette Uwamutara, Rwanda
Violette Uwamutara is DOT’s Regional Advisor for Africa and Country Director of DOT Rwanda. She is a leader in bridging the digital divide in Africa. As a former diplomat with the Government of Rwanda, Violette is committed to transforming Africa into a digital innovation hub with young women at the centre. She is a member of the African Leadership Network (ALN), sits on the YouthConnekt Africa and Girl Effect Rwanda committees, and has been recognized with the prestigious Anita Borg International Change Agent Award in recognition of her commitment to the role of women in Rwanda’s future as an information technology and innovation hub in Africa. In 2016, Violette was named one of the top 25 Distinguished Women in Business Excellence in Africa. Violette is passionate about empowering young women and men to bridge the digital divide and building the leadership capacity of youth.
Esther Gathigi, Kenya
Esther Wanjiru Gathigi is the Country Director of DOT Kenya. She is passionate about empowering young and aspiring entrepreneurs to develop the skills and insights they need to transition their startups into high-potential business ventures. Prior to DOT, Esther was the Executive Director for WECREATE Kenya, an initiative of the U.S. Department of State that establishes entrepreneurial community centers in safe and centralized locations for women to gain access to the essential resources required for starting or growing businesses. Esther believes in enhancing skills and knowledge of young entrepreneurs – particularly women – to transform the entrepreneurship landscape in Kenya and to highlight success stories across the continent.
Meaghan Anderson, Canada
Meaghan Anderson is DOT’s Gender Specialist and Safeguarding Focal Point, based in Canada, where she works closely to strengthen DOT’s growing focus on gender equality and women’s empowerment. Prior to joining DOT, Meaghan worked as a gender technical expert and Associate Manager, Strategy and Learning with the Mastercard Foundation, playing a key role in mainstreaming gender equity across the organization and its programming. Meaghan’s background in gender equality and women’s economic empowerment is grounded in her experience supporting grassroots efforts among women’s rights organizations working to support survivors of gender-based violence, and improve the resilience of their refugee and migrant communities at the Myanmar-Thailand border. She is passionate about community-driven and youth-led solutions that highlight and strengthen the transformative leadership of women.
Jeanette Umutoniwase, Rwanda
Jeannette Umutoniwase is a #DOTYouth alumna and the founder of Inzira Dreamz Network, a social enterprise in Rwanda that manufactures affordable African bags, clothes and shoes. She is a graduate of DOT Rwanda’s StartUp! and Social Entrepreneurship program and an alumna of KCB Foundation’s Igire program. She is currently a Youth Leader at Educate! where she works hand-in-hand with the Rwanda Education Board to train teachers and students on the importance of competency based curriculum in entrepreneurship. In 2018, she was among the top 40 young entrepreneurs in Rwanda selected by the Accelerator Academy. Jeannette is driven by her self-motivation to social transformation. One of her dreams is to see positive change in communities across Rwanda.
Weris Dualeh, Canada
Weris Dualeh is DOT’s Data Officer, based in Canada. She supports the collection of qualitative and quantitative data, and the implementation of monitoring and evaluation frameworks across DOT’s network. Prior to joining DOT, Weris worked at UNDP Rwanda and East Java, Indonesia where she supported the establishment of monitoring and evaluation frameworks and facilitated capacity building for implementing partners of youth entrepreneurship programs. She also played a key role in the organization and evaluation of youth skills development, women’s empowerment and training programs in both Rwanda and Indonesia.
Eqbal Alzoubi, Jordan
Eqbal Alzoubi is a member of DOT’s Youth Leadership Advisory Board (YouthLAB) and Biomedical Informatics Engineer from Jordan. As a #DOTYouth alumna, Eqbal has supported the training of other youth – particularly young women – in her community in digital skills and mobile application development. Eqbal is very passionate about community change, supporting young people, and creating equal opportunities for young women and girls.
Peneloppe Ghandour, Lebanon
Peneloppe Ghandour is a member of DOT’s Youth Leadership Advisory Board (YouthLAB) and the founder Wasteless – a mobile application that connects people to the nearest e-waste disposal location. She is also an English teacher and an IT consultant and trainer. At DOT Lebanon, Peneloppe supports with delivering training and creating and editing content on DOT Lebanon’s learning management system. She also supports young women and girls by providing training sessions (both offline and online) covering different entrepreneurial and digital skills topics. Peneloppe is passionate about creating an equal future for all, especially as the world moves towards digital.
Josephine Kyomo, Tanzania
Josephine is a member of DOT’s Youth Leadership Advisory Board (YouthLAB). She is a self-taught cake artist and a social worker who, alongside her bakery business, participates in the facilitation of capacity building programs focused on entrepreneurship for children, youth, and women. She is passionate about entrepreneurship, digital transformation and supporting young women and girls to achieve their goals and aspirations. Josephine is currently facilitating career guidance programs in her community.
Elizabeth Mengesha, Canada
Elizabeth Mengesha is DOT’s Senior Project Manager, based in Canada. She works to ensure the successful implementation of youth-focused innovation and entrepreneurship projects in East Africa. She also contributes to DOT’s broader work in the areas of gender equality, research, and project planning and design. Prior to joining DOT, Elizabeth served as the Executive Director of Ethiopiaid Canada, where she led the organization’s efforts to improve the lives of vulnerable women and girls in Ethiopia through projects and partnerships focused on maternal health, education, and skills development. She has also worked on various international development initiatives, including a water, sanitation and hygiene project with USAID in Ethiopia, and research projects exploring women’s land rights in East Africa, a systems approach to reducing child, early and forced marriage, and the role of social capital in informal financial services.
Catherine Kamau, Kenya
Catherine Kamau is a member of DOT’s Youth Leadership Advisory Board (YouthLAB) and the founder of Vijana Tustawi, an organization that seeks to build the capacity of youth by providing support in mental health and psychosocial well being in Kenya. Catherine is currently supporting women and girls in Kenya, who are dealing with high stress levels, and anxiety as a result of strict lockdown and quarantine measures, job loss, and isolation by providing online content on mental health and wellness delivered by accredited psychologists. She is passionate about women’s empowerment and achieving gender equality across all sectors.
Hanan Abdurahman, Ethiopia
Hanan Abdurahman is a #DOTYouth alumna and a Business Development Service Extension Worker with DOT Ethiopia. In her role, she supports the delivery, training and facilitation of DOT Ethiopia’s ReachUp!, StartUp!, and ScaleUp! programs. She is passionate about social entrepreneurship, youth and women’s empowerment and gender equality. Hanan’s dream is to support as many youth and young women in her community to reach their goals and to become the best versions of themselves.
Sekela Mwaipaja, Tanzania
Sekela Mwaipaja is a Gender Officer with DOT Tanzania. In her role she supports the mainstreaming of gender and implementing gender strategies in all of DOT Tanzania’s programs. Sekela is a feminist and women’s rights advocate who strives to achieve gender equality in all that she does. She is also a strong advocate for sexual reproductive health and rights, economic growth amongst women and girls, and climate change. Sekela’s ideal world is one where everyone, especially girls and women understand that gender roles are socially constructed and women’s rights are human rights. Sekela is also a talented artist, experienced radio presenter, and a businesswoman who has a passion for music.
Seblewongel Fikadu, Ethiopia
Seblewongel Fekadu is the Senior Gender Officer at DOT Ethiopia, who is responsible for ensuring gender mainstreaming and women’s empowerment across all projects. She has ten years of experience working for both government and non-governmental organizations where her work primarily focused on contributing to gender equality, sexual and reproductive health and rights and community development across Ethiopia. Seblewongel is passionate about creating opportunities for women and girls, breaking stereotypes and bridging the gender digital divide. Seblewongel is an alumni from the Addis Ababa University, where she obtained her Master of Arts in Gender Studies and a BA in Political Science and International Relation.
Souad Taha, Lebanon
Souad Taha is a member of DOT’s Youth Leadership Advisory Board (YouthLAB). Souad has six years of experience as a digital trainer and consultant and supported hundreds of youth and young women through digital skills, communication, marketing and business development. She is also a strong advocate for women and youth empowerment and bridging the digital divide. Throughout her journey with DOT, Souad has also had the opportunity to support, guide and coach young women and girls to enhance their careers and to set goals to improve their way of living. Souad hopes that every young woman and girl in Lebanon is empowered and participating in decision making processes.
Tala Al Rabadi, Jordan
Tala Al Rabadi is a Gender Speaclist with DOT Jordan. In her role, she supports the mainstreaming of gender across all programs. Prior to joining DOT, Tala worked as a Gender and Financial Inclusion Officer with Mercy Corps. Tala is passionate about women’s empowerment and bridging the intersectionality between gender, finance and economic development. She has a Bachelors in Finance and Banking and a Masters in Human Rights and Development.