“In the face of the global COVID crises, how do we put the women and people who have suffered the largest economic effects at the center of recovery efforts and work toward fixing long-standing inequalities, by leveraging technology?” Shauna Ruyle, Founder & Executive Director, EDequity Global
Facing recovery from a global economic crisis, high unemployment, increased poverty, stagnating income growth, lowered GDP, and community college enrollment plummeting (in California, USA), is important to understand the different ways that technology is changing the world of work and how together we can stimulate inclusive economic growth through education. Hence, Edequity Global with the support of 30+ sponsors and partners including AWS, American Association of University Women (AAUW), Google, Netflix, ThingLogix, African Leadership University, California State University Office of the Chancellor, The Basement UCSD, Southwestern College, and more – has taken the bull by the horns to equip women, underserved young graduates and entrepreneurs in communities across the globe with 21st century cloud skills at the ‘21 Global Amazon Alexa Skills Challenge.
The ‘21 Global Amazon Alexa SkilIs Challenge received over 300 registrants from across the globe with 46 women, marginalized college/university student and entrepreneur graduates coming from 6 countries (over 70% participants from Nigeria, then USA, India, Kenya, Brazil and Mexico). These impressive alumni completed the 5-week AI primer, formed teams and built innovative Alexa Skills to address one or more of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
‘21 Global Innovation Summit EDequity Global has organized the 2-Day Virtual Global Innovation Summit as an exciting “finale event’ and celebration to showcase graduate technology solutions to global problems, leveraging AWS. Business leaders, educators, nonprofits and civic leaders from the US and across the globe will join three leadership round tables to discuss the most pressing political, economic, environmental and human rights issues facing this generation today.
• 3 trail-blazing keynotes including:
London Bell, 2020 African Descent Fellow, Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, NGO Committee on the Status of Women, Founder and President Bell Global Justice Institute Diya Wynn, AWS Senior Practice Manager for AI/ML Ethics Marianna Holiday, AWS Educate International, Education to Workforce Solutions
AWS Demo Day
April 17, 7-11am US Pacific Time / 3-7pm West Africa Time
Following the 5-week artificial intelligence (AI) primer and project submissions, 8 teams will be invited to deliver their fast-pitch demos on AWS Demo Day, April 17, 2021 at the Global Innovation Summit for a chance to win scholarships toward AWS training & certification! Participants from 6 countries
including (Nigeria, USA, India, Kenya, Brazil and Mexico) will present their Alexa skill solutions to global problems in a fun, interactive livestream format.
Leadership Roundtable Discussions
April 28, 7am-2pm US Pacific Time / 3-10pm West Africa Time
The leadership round table discussions will center around three important themes:
My name is Ikenna Enyidede, a Nigerian and a freelance Product Designer.
Joining the Global Alexa Skills Challenge was borne out of my love for learning and trying out new things, in this case, learning a new skill in an enabling environment. I was hoping to broaden my knowledge base with one of the fast-growing skills in the tech space as well as collaborate with like-minded individuals.
With the recurring negative changes in climate conditions all over the world, my team and I addressed the Sustainable Development Goal 13 (Climate Action) hoping to offer a possible solution in tackling this problem. The corresponding Alexa skill built was targeted at providing education and information on climate related activities to individuals between the age of 16 and 40 through quizzes, random facts and weather information of cities around the world.
Recommending the Alexa Skills Challenge to future participants would be an easy thing to do as the value I have acquired from fellow participants, mentors and instructors have been extremely valuable. I would also recommend this to all and sundry because, as with things you consider valuable, you share with those around you.
Working with individuals in different parts of the world was as challenging as it was exciting. From figuring how to collaborate in real time, to figuring out the balance between time zones for voice and video calls. From managing individuals with different skillset, to ensuring that tasks are completed in good time. It was a rollercoaster ride which opened up avenues to learn and grow. I got to understand different modes at which different individuals try to accomplish tasks and also learnt not to be overbearing as we all work with different strides. People management was a skill honed during the course of liaising with team members, which I still plan on building upon.
The learning experience was a unique one for me, everything was virtual, from the onboarding, through the office hours with our trainers and sessions with mentors (I learnt a great deal from my mentor who basically gave me a crash course on how to approach problems). Seeing beautiful new faces. Surrounded with people with the same goals, moving through the same learning path and also insightful sessions from guest speakers. The experience taught me patience and also persistence amongst a list of other soft skills and I hope to showcase all that was learnt in all interactions and engagements I have moving forward.
My team was very supportive even in their busy schedule as without them the project would have never been completed. Staying up late to meet, going out of their way to complete tasks and meet deadlines and exercising a truckload of patience when processes were not going as planned. The real Rockstar team and I am very proud.
The best way I knew how to support my team was to show up. Show up when things needed to be done, show up to organize tasks and deliverables, show up when others were indisposed. I believe that is the first step to getting things done.
So I plan to keep showing up and getting things done.
The Biden administration has made no secret about its intention to focus on investing in the nation’s youth. With its allies in Congress, the White House’s “American Rescue Plan” proposes to provide thousands of dollars of cash payments to families with children. This, alongside increased attention to education, caregiving, and other family support measures, signals the administration’s spotlight on the well-being of children. Although investment in the nation’s youth is a long-held staple of American politics, it was clearly not an emphasis of the Trump administration, which paid more attention to appeasing its largely older political base.
EDequity.Global wants to give a HUGE THANK YOU to 9 selfless, all-star tech professionals who are mentoring/coaching international teams of women, BIPOC college/university students and entrepreneurs to imagine the future with voice at the Global Amazon #AlexaSkillsChallenge!
Franky Fuentes, Ph.D.
Mentors are coaching 9 international student teams to build #Alexa Skills that address these United Nations #SustainableDevelopmentGoals: 🌍
AAUW will support EDequity Global’s skills initiative for women and underserved students
December 31, 2020, San Diego, California — EDequity Global recently received a $10,000 award from American Association of University Women (AAUW) San Diego to support the upcoming 2021 Global Amazon Alexa Skills Challenge Initiative. The award will be used to offer women, underserved college/university students and entrepreneurs the opportunity to learn in-demand cloud skills for free, to kickstart their AI journey and the chance to win a scholarship towards Amazon Web Services (AWS) training and certification. The goal of the global initiative is to build human capital, skills and the know-how needed for the jobs of the future. Participants will work in teams to solve a global issue aligned to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, teaching the importance of social responsibility.
AAUW San Diego is also supporting through this award the We Connect The Dots annual Code-a-Thon, a program designed to support young people ages 13-18 in learning to code. Their sponsorship extends into EDequity Global’s Smartphone No-Code Alexa Skills Summer 2021 Workshop.
The COVID-19 crisis is exacerbating inequality – revealing gender, racial and economic inequalities (related to resilient employment, economic security, access to education, leadership representation, power and influence in business and government) that have been ignored for too long.
Inequality for women is one of the world’s biggest injustices. It must change.
75% of parliamentarians are men
73% of managerial decision-makers are men
67% of climate negotiators are men
87% people at the peace table are men
The global gender pay gap is stuck at 16%
The COVID-19 crisis has greatly intensified these challenges. Specifically, employment has collapsed, threatening a major humanitarian crisis in many economies. Millions of young people are out of school or work. According to the World Economic Forum, at the peak of the pandemic, 1.6 billion students were out of school and 11 million girls may not return to school after the COVID-19 pandemic.
Now, more than ever, in the COVID-economy is the time to provide in-demand cloud computing skills, training and a connection to jobs that pay a living wage. Emerging technology is significantly transforming the way we work and live. We believe that marginalized communities should not be excluded from the opportunities that these changes create. This bold partnership with AAUW San Diego allows us to continue making economic and social impact, achieving gender equity, racial equity and building the next generation of inclusive leadership, economic security and jobs.
“If we are going to help build the next generation of technologists we need to be committed to work in the public interest by providing scholarships, skills training, opportunity for entrepreneurialism, innovation, roadmaps and role models to women and underrepresented students that introduce them to what this work entails and what success looks like in the career field. The Global Amazon Alexa Skills Challenge is an important first step.” – Jane Niemeier, President AAUW San Diego
AAUW, is a non-profit, non partisan organization that is tenacious and trailblazing, advocating for women and girls since 1881 and into the future! Leading the fight for fair pay and economic opportunity for women, AAUW’s mission is gender equity & economic security. https://sandiego-ca.aauw.net/
“With crisis comes the opportunity for innovation. The Global Amazon Alexa Skills Challenge 2021 initiative, is positioned to help realize how the COVID-19 pandemic and economic crisis brings opportunity for innovation – something our youth are best equipped for.” – Shauna Oenning Ruyle, Founder & Executive Director, EDequity Global
About We Connect The Dots and EDequity Global
We Connect the Dots, a non-profit educational organization founded by Laurie Carey in 2013, seeks to use learning and coaching models to create positive outcomes across education and professional development communities and provide engaging learning experiences. We Connect the Dots exists in-concert with Ms. Carey’s for-profit entity, Nebula Academy (a D.B.A. of Laurie Carey Consulting). Nebula Academy’s mission is to use cognitive learning and coaching models to create positive outcomes across education and professional development communities, where technology is used as a tool for supporting productive and engaging learning experiences. http://www.wctd.org.
EDequity Global, is a brand within the WCTD organization, founded by Shauna Oenning Ruyle in 2019, EDequity.Global is a global coalition of partners advancing cloud education and economic equity for women and underrepresented youth leveraging Amazon Web Services (AWS). www.edequity.global.
If artificial intelligence researchers and companies were disappointed with President Donald Trump’s A.I. policies, they might be more hopeful about the future of A.I. now that Joe Biden has been elected President.
One of the major sore points with current federal A.I. policy was the amount of funding that the Trump administration has allocated for nonmilitary A.I.-related research. In February, the White House said it would bump non–defense-related A.I. investment to $2 billion annually by 2022, which was seen by some analysts as paltry considering the staggering amount of money that’s needed to produce cutting-edge A.I. research.
Although the Biden administration has not detailed its exact plans for A.I. research, the Democrat’s campaign indicated that it considers general scientific research and development to be crucial to the nation. Biden has proposed to increase the amount of federal R&D spending to $300 billion over four years. Meanwhile, the White House planned to spend $142.2 billion on federal R&D as part of President Trump’s 2021 budget.
UNESCO just released its new report on Artificial Intelligence and Gender Equality, which sets forth proposed elements of a Framework on Gender Equality and AI for further consideration, discussion and elaboration amongst various stakeholders.
Advancing gender equality through education, the sciences, culture, information and communication lies at the heart of UNESCO’s mandate, with Gender Equality constituting one of the two Global Priorities of the Organization since 2008. UNESCO is therefore keen to adopt a gender equality lens in its ongoing work on artificial intelligence in all its programme areas.
EDequity.Global is excited to officially announce that the American Association of University Women – San Diego Branch has invested $10,000 to provide scholarships for (12) female and minority students, entrepreneurs and innovators to apply toward Amazon Web Services (AWS) training and certification – scholarships will be awarded to winners of our Global Amazon #AlexaSkillsChallenge! Let’s continue making economic and social impact, achieving gender equity, racial equity and building the next generation of inclusive leadership, jobs and economic development!
An Equitable Future: We can progress equality in education, economics and leadership… working together.
“If we are going to help build the next generation of technologists we need to be committed to work in the public interest by providing scholarships, skills training, opportunity for entrepreneurialism, innovation, roadmaps and role models to women and minority students that introduce them to what this work entails and what success looks like in the career field. The Global Amazon Alexa Skills Challenge is an important first step.” – Jane Niemeier, President AAUW San Diego