Jaser AlharseesFounder, Robotna Jordan
Impact area: Education; Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4
It’s not easy for young women in Jordan seeking to enter the fast-growing STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields. Even when they obtain the requisite education, it can be hard to gain the practical experience needed to succeed in the job market. Add to this the shutdowns imposed during the Covid pandemic, and you get talented young women compelled to stay at home with their career prospects on hold.
To help meet their needs, Jaser Alharsees, founder and CEO of Robotna, launched the She Code project. Supported through the Global Youth Resiliency Fund, She Code set out to equip women students and graduates of engineering and information technology programs with hands on experience, while strengthening Robotna’s own capacity to deliver training in robotics.
“Women in Jordan suffer from lack of expertise in modern technological fields such as artificial intelligence and web applications, which are the most in-demand skills in the labor market,” says Jaser, who launched Robotna as a community company in 2016, to use robots and artificial intelligence to teach science and technology and integrate it within classroom curricula. The company provides services to academies, private schools, and NGOs, using part of its revenue to offer programs in less fortunate schools and to refugees. Every year, Robotna provides free training to over 3,500 students across the country.
Through She Code, 12 young women were instructed in how to build smart phone applications and websites, with 12 trained in artificial intelligence so they could work part-time with Robotna. Another five women were hired to work with Robotna over six months to make it easier for them to find full-time employment.
One of the young women to benefit was Sabria Abu Halawa. After obtaining a degree in chemical engineering, Sabria found little demand for her newfound skills in the labor market, with employers giving preference to men owing to difficult working conditions. Through She Code, she expanded her knowledge and skills in the areas of robotics and artificial intelligence, securing a six-month internship with Robotna as a trainer. Now, she’s working part-time with Robotna while consulting with other companies.
Jaser shares that the program helped achieve two important objectives. One was to reach women in areas of the country it had not worked in before; another was to bolster its roster of qualified female trainers in the field of robotics. Increasingly, he sees Robotna serving as a role model for peer institutions through its work in qualifying female trainers and demonstrating their contributions in the field.
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