RACHEL LEVENTHAL, Executive Director and Founder
Rachel’s deep experience and passion for women’s development, and the intersection of community-based media and technology, inform her unique perspective on the potential of global women to transform the world when they come together. Her 20 years of dedication and work as a human rights journalist focused on empowering women by amplifying their voices, led her to create The Women’s Peer-to-Peer Network.
“A person’s means or background has nothing to do with her power or potential.”
Rachel Leventhal founded The Women’s P2P Network in 2011. Her inspiration was her experience working with women during the 2005 Liberian election, who mobilized to elect Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, ending a decade of war:
“Covering the election, I witnessed this grassroots effort of women – many illiterate and poor – who mobilized and elected the first African woman President by using basic local technology such as radio, and human networks formed in refugee camps and while working in markets. They accomplished what outside peacekeepers and NGOs could not – by building on the simple tools and networks they already use and connecting to each other.”
After getting her start in public radio, documentary journalism, and photography at New York Times Television and Soundprint, Rachel built a reputation for finding unique ways to give public voice to women who were otherwise invisible. Still in her 20’s, Rachel spent five years following the lives of a group of incarcerated women revolving through the Philadelphia Prison System, receiving a Soros Foundation Fellowship to tell their stories through their letters, diaries, audio interviews, and photographs.
Rachel’s documentary journalist work has appeared on NPR, NYT Television, NRDC's OnEarth, DoubleTake Magazine, the New York Times, and other international publications. Among her most notable projects related to women and girls are:
- Haiti’s Dark Secret, an NPR radio story about restavecs, Haitian girls sold into slavery
- Lost in the Shuffle, a Soros Foundation-funded project chronicling the lives of incarcerated women, who tell their stories using interviews, letters, and photographs
- Liberian Election, a multimedia presentation depicting women’s participation in the 2005 Liberian election
- Radio as a Tool for Changing Women’s Status in Sierra Leone, a white paper about how women leveraged radio and their networks forged in refugee camps to bring peace to West Africa
Rachel has received awards by the Open Society Institute, Freedom Forum, and Third Coast Documentary Festival. She serves on the Open Source Committee for the Anita Borg Institute's Grace Hopper Conference for Women in Computing, and has chaired mobile media projects for PotoFamn, a consortium of organizations assisting women and girls in Haiti. Rachel has a BA in Political Science from Brown University.
Modeling the success of grassroots women in Liberia, her vision is one of inclusion, collaboration and empowerment – bringing together local and global technical and professional women, working in partnership with grassroots women’s communities, and leveraging the powerful networks women have already formed throughout the world.
TAYANA ETIENNE, Technlogy Director, Haiti
Tayana was born and raised in Haiti. Since High School she has shown leadership and active empathy in her community. As a member of M.E.J. (Youth Eucharistic Movement), she became involved in reforestation projects and adult women literacy activities in her school neighborhood and in other areas of the capital.
Tayana opted for studies in Electronic Engineering at the State University of Haiti amid a population of less than 5% of women in engineering fields. After her diploma, she has worked for three years as a programmer in a software development company before being contacted to get a scholarship for a master degree in Computer Science at Université de Nice Sophia- Antipolis (UNSA). After her specialized studies in Databases and Systems integration, Tayana completed her background with an advanced internship at LARIM (Laboratory of Networking and Mobile Computing) at the “Ecole Polytechnique de Montreal”, Canada.
Back to Haiti, Tayana has been engaged as a full-time professor in the Science Department of the State University and she is today the director of the MBDS Master Program in Haiti that is offered in a joint effort with her former University in Nice. She teaches Computer Science and conducts applied research projects centered on ICT use in rural areas, mobile technologies, wireless infrastructure, communicating objects, RFID for education, health and tourism.
In 2001, she co-founded SOLUTIONS S.A. an IT consulting Company which has grown to be one of today’s most innovative software development firm in the country. For this achievement, SOLUTIONS has been nominated in 2005, for the Star Quality Award by the “Business Initiative Directions” in Geneva and, in 2009, for the Country Pioneers of Prosperity Award for Haiti and the Caribbean.
In 2010, Tayana has received the International “Change Agent Award” from the Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology as recognition of her positive impact as a role model in her environment. As a Professor and a business woman always in contact with students and young entrepreneurs, Tayana does not miss an opportunity to express her faith in a better future for Haïti and she does her best to contribute to it.