From Technovation Finalist to Women in Tech Award Winner

អត្ថបទ​នេះមានជាភាសា៖ kmខ្មែរ

Tiffany Tsang

By Tiffany Tsang

Communications Advisor
Development Innovations

Before 2017, Sokuntevy Chhy was a Phnom Penh high school student who didn’t know what coding was.

“I was never interested in technology,” she describes.

On March 15th, Tevy was named Girl Innovator of 2019 at the Cambodian Women in Tech Awards ceremony, presented at the Raffles Le Royal Hotel in Phnom Penh. The Cambodian Women in Tech Awards were established in 2018 by the Royal Government of Cambodia’s Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications to celebrate women who have engaged actively in the field of ICT to positively transform Cambodia for the digital age. Tevy was celebrated as 2019’s Girl Innovator for her work as co-founder of the STEM education mobile application, E-Lab, as well as her work promoting tech to young girls as Technovation Ambassador.

Technovation is at the root of Tevy’s burgeoning career in tech. She first heard about it through her high school principal and her immediate reaction was “how is it possible for a high school student to develop a mobile application?” Her first project was called Healthful, an app that focused on promoting health and wellness through videos and exercises for their users. Healthful wound up being named a global semi-finalist. Not too bad for a Technovation first timer.

In 2018, Tevy and her team returned to Technovation and created E-Lab. Recognizing that many schools in Cambodia lacked science labs for the practical application of their science education, E-Lab was developed to help high school students from grade 7 to 12 to learn science by doing science; through videos that show viewers how to perform scientific experiments. The judges loved it and E-Lab was named National Pitch winner.

These days, Tevy is a freshman student at the Kirirom Institute of Technology, where she is studying the one and only program they offer: software engineering. In addition to her university studies, Tevy is also serving as a Technovation Ambassador. In this role, she wants to encourage more girls in Cambodia to join Technovation, which she believes is a gateway to future careers in tech. Right now, she’s only one of nine girls in her program of 35 students. She recognizes that the small number of women in her program is not just in her school but across the country’s tech programs too. “So I really want to encourage more girls to study something related to technology.”

Most recently, Tevy was selected as a participant for WEDU, one of Development Innovations’ newest partners, where she will receive additional leadership training to help her move her career further, and be matched with a mentor in the tech field. And guess who she got paired with? None other than her Technovation Regional Ambassador, Heang Oumoy!

As for E-Lab – the team was most recently selected to be part of DI’ Youth Innovate Cambodia programme. This will allow them to further develop E-Lab through additional coaching and training. “We are now wanting to develop the app to look a little more professional, so we’re updating it and putting more content on it.” Since graduating high school, the team is now split across several universities like AUPP and UEF. One member is even still in high school. So the team uses a private Facebook group where they can share ideas and receive feedback on content they create for their app.

Only three years ago, Tevy wasn’t even aware about a career in technology. These days, she’s fully immersed in the tech ecosystem, and more specifically tech that wants to achieve a social impact. “I want to create something for people to use every day. Something that will have a positive impact on society.” We can’t wait to see what you make next, Tevy!