Connecting with women and femme leaders in MENA and citizen science/ biohacking


The Edgeryders research unit is looking to apply to the UN Democracy Fund for a project bridging Open Village and our graphryders tool with citizen science, placemaking and biohacking.

We have a strong concept developed and are now wanting to ensure that we engage partners who are knowledgeable and experienced in the region’s sensitivities and the project’s focus on gender equality.
(And while gender is its priority, the project will also address community activism, youth engagement, as well as strengthening civil society-government relationships.)

We are looking to connect with female or femme-identifying leaders located in or acquainted with the MENA region, as well as those specialising in the fields of citizen science and biohacking.

@cindys @zmorda @Yosser @bilal @baderdean @ramykim @pin @nadia @unknown_author @hazem @Heba - we think you especially may be connected to some aligned people/ communities/ organisations and/or be interested to get involved yourselves.

We’re still reviewing the original concept and are wanting to ensure we have fitting partners before moving forward. Short turn around for the application - due mid December - so we’d appreciate hearing any people, communities or organisations that come to mind when you can.

Heartfelt thanks!


ping @alberto


Also @dfko @winnieponcelet @rachel .


Hi Anique … good to hear from you … I don’t personally have connections with feminist organizations in “MENA” but there are some that I follow up … maybe the most famous in Egypt is NAZRA I think they are the most prominent feminist activists in Egypt… Bussy is more of an art project with feminist orientation
Bent el nile is working outside Cairo in a rural context in the city of Beheira
and there is this… a more regional advocacy but I am not sure about their exact focus


A few months ago I read about a feminist hacklab in Damascus, but I can’t seem to dig it up. Shoot! Maybe someone else knows more?


For the purpose of the project, an interest in science is more relevant than an interest for feminism, I think. Classic Alexandria was home to Hypatia; it would be quite natural for modern day Alex to host a collective of female scientists. Maybe you know one, @Heba?


As a woman keen on citizen science and biohacking I would be glad to help in this effort: but I am very much learning still about the MENA region and issues!! Will have Mary Maggic at Hackuarium for an event this week, so can see if she has some more particularly feminist tips for us all … :blush:


Thanks so much @Heba @winnieponcelet and @rachel. Will look into those collectives Heba and try to track down that hacklab in Damascus Winnie. And if anything else comes to mind please let us know.

As for your interest yourself Rachel, yes let’s talk! I need to take a moment to familiarise myself with Hackuarium and will be in touch over the coming week. If Mary Maggic has any tips they will be gracefully welcomed thank you, and likewise if there’s any particular project or stream of Hackuarium’s work that you think most relevant for me to look at please send it my way <3


well, to start, here is a link from the little video on one citizen sci project from our recent crowdfunding campaign… (but public health focus - not femmes)


now realise that MENA is not a region!
this is a very interesting issue!
mineurs étrangers non accompagnés (MENA)
as someone with a friend hosting a syrian young adult (most of whose family got out, but are scattered between turkey and germany), I am very interested to see what your plans entail…


@Sohayeb , you may know one of the potential organisation working on the field of science related to gender equality


I am a feminist myself but honselty I didn’t work with any Tunisian organizations that focus on women, however I will ask my friends if they know any


Thank you so much @zmorda and @Yosser, I’ll look into these and appreciate your asking others in your communities :cherries:


@anique, sorry for the delayed response! I don’t know of any feminist spaces, or those prioritizing activism, youth, or civic engagement. I could possibly help out in the future, but I think I have a backlog of items at this very moment. I’m pinging @NickKauf here, since he may know a lead. And re-pinging @pin


hey, wow that’s pretty broad, but my advice would be to maybe seek out people through the Omidyar Network which funds a lot of civic tech stuff and is near the region. Heather Leson Ushahidi / open street map / HOT osm and stuff, she was working with them I think.

alternately, is anyone else here a WEF global shaper? they have a facebook group with like 5000 people who would be able to refer people / potential partners from the region. If you have a slightly more specific call for the kind of ppl you are looking for I could repost it.

some other orgs that might have good connections but which I don’t have a personal connection to: ,


This is all interesting, thanks @NickKauf, and for the connection @ramykim. We’re currently in the process of finalizing high level partners for the application, so I’ll defer your kind offer to share with the WEF Global Shapers group for now, but will likely accept it another moment down the track :slight_smile: . Thanks again and look forward to continuing the conversation.


Thanks for the flowers, but I’m afraid I don’t think I can help. The only projects I (vaguely) heard of are in Gaza and in Jordan through Assem Hasna in Berlin. I don’t know either project directly, but I don’t think there’s a particular feminist focus to either.
@winnieponcelet - maybe you were reading something from Stefanie Wuschitz…


Thanks so much @lucy and @unknown_author for the connection - these are all super useful for getting a lay of the land. I’ll keep in touch as things unfold and all my best in the meantime :pineapple:


Hey @anique.yael , there are several NGOs working with women or on women empowerment in Tunisia including Enda inter-arabe (financial inclusion of women in marginalized areas), AFTURD which is the Tunisian Women’s Association for Development Research. I can send you the contact details of POC in these two organizations. You can also ask them to help you identify other NGOs working with women in the region.


Actually, both this call and OpenVillage MENA refer to the region. Some of us around here are not fond of the term, but it’s loosely used.