Tech Age Girls (TAG)
The Tech Age Girls (TAG) program encourages young women and develops their skills by providing them with specialized leadership and information technology (IT) training and opportunities to engage in critical public discussion.
Participants discover new abilities, develop professional skills, and gain the confidence and inspiration necessary to become leaders in their communities.
TAG is currently being implemented by IREX in five regions of Myanmar through the Beyond Access initiative, reaching 100 girls ages 16–20. TAG has received support from the OCSE, Peace Corps, USAID, and the US Department of State in multiple countries, including Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Philippines, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam.
• Support young women to develop the soft skills and technology knowledge they need to become local agents of change in their communities
• Provide training, support, and encouragement to a competitively selected cadre of young women, ultimately promoting an expanded role for women in their communities
• Facilitate the contribution of young women’s voices to public discussion on critical issues
Economic development and women’s empowerment are closely related goals. Countries seeking to maximize their considerable economic potential have a distinct interest in making the best use of all their human capital, male and female. TAG equips young women with technical and professional skills, leadership training, and the confidence to become leaders in their communities. By promoting greater female representation in the realm of public debate with training adapted to local contexts, TAG aims to support development at the individual and community levels.
The Three Phases
The project lasts for one year in three distinct phases.
• Phase One lasts up to six months, during which time participants are selected and strengthen their leadership, ICT, and soft skills while forming an in-person and online community.
• Phase Two brings the highest achievers to a one- to two-week in-person workshop in a major city, where girls participate in leadership training and meet influential, national-level women leaders.
• Phase Three begins when participants return to their communities, remaining linked to a network of young women leaders who are implementing local projects and training their peers in key technology and soft skills.
Upon completion of the first year, participants become mentors for successive groups of Tech Age Girls, enhancing project sustainability and spreading its benefits even wider.
Technology training: TAG quarterfinalists receive basic technology training from local technology specialists, which they then use to conduct online research projects and organize community activities.
Community service projects: During the semifinalist selection process, TAG participants design and conduct service projects in their communities. Participants research pressing community needs and focus their projects accordingly.
TAG summer conference: TAG finalists spend one to two weeks at a conference held in their countries’ capitals, where they take part in advanced technology and leadership training, perform short internships at domestic and international NGOs or government offices, and meet influential, national-level women leaders.
Final projects and mentoring: When TAG finalists return home, they design new projects to serve their communities. They also mentor girls hoping to join the next cycle of the TAG program, sharing their leadership and technology training, as well as their energy and enthusiasm.
Currently, TAG is being implemented in five regions in Myanmar through the Beyond Access program, reaching 100 young women ages 16–20.
TAG’s previous phases took place in nine countries across two continents, most recently in the Philippines and Vietnam as part of the Global Connections & Exchange - Asia program.
In 2009, TAG placed its 15 semifinalists in mini-internships at organizations such as the OSCE, the US Embassy Public Affairs Section, the US Peace Corps, UNICEF, and USAID.
TAG helped Turkmenistan girls implement 44 community service projects on Global Youth Service Day 2008. Just one year later, the number of TAG projects on Global Youth Service Day jumped to 80.
In 2008, TAG semifinalists launched 44 websites dedicated to female leaders in Turkmenistan. In order to gather information for the websites, the TAG semifinalists interviewed prominent women in their country, conducted research online, and visited local libraries.
Over 100 young women in Moldova, and more than 80 in Uzbekistan, increased their professional skills, personal confidence, and community involvement through the TAG programs in their countries.