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Interview with Aicha Harrach

Breaking AI Barriers

In the ever-evolving world of technology, the tale of Aicha Harrach is one that breaks the mould. As a data scientist and AI enthusiast, Aicha uses her inherent resilience and relentless spirit to empower young women in this male-dominated field.

In her quest to merge cutting-edge tech and female empowerment, Aicha introduces "FemInnovate," an endeavor that maps the intersection of equality and innovation. Today, we're thrilled to bring you an insightful conversation with Aicha, as she unfolds her journey into the world of artificial intelligence, predicts its potential impacts, and offers invaluable advice to our Gen Z women looking to make their mark in this promising field.

Buckle up, because this is going to be one inspiring ride!

Aicha, could you tell us a bit about your background and your journey into the field of AI and data science? What inspired you to choose this path?

I graduated 2 years ago with a BS in electrical engineering, However, after completing an internship as a junior electrical engineer, I realised that my passion lay elsewhere. I needed to discover my areas of interest, so I explored a variety of fields and found that I was still drawn to technology and innovation.

I was motivated to pursue my career in tech, especially Data Science and AI for many reasons, due to its profound impact on various industries. Its ability to extract valuable insights from data and drive informed decision-making fascinated me. Moreover, my passion for solving problems and creating meaningful change in society through the application of technology and innovation fueled my desire to delve into data science and AI.

I was also inspired by the scarcity of prominent female role models in this field, which further motivated me to pursue this path. I aim to contribute to the field and inspire future generations to explore the endless possibilities it offers.

I was in part inspired by the scarcity of prominent female role models in the field

As someone with experience in Data Science, how do you see AI influencing our daily lives in the future? What potential impacts should our readers be aware of?

AI is poised to have a transformative impact on our daily lives in the future, and it is important for readers to be aware of its potential implications. One significant aspect is the integration of AI into our work routines. Regardless of technical expertise, individuals can leverage AI technology to boost productivity and efficiency, and maximise their output in various fields.

Of course, readers should be aware that AI has the potential to cause job displacement. While AI technology creates new job opportunities, it can also lead to changes in the job market. It is important for individuals to recognise that possessing knowledge and skills in AI can provide a competitive advantage over those who lack such expertise.

FemInnovate strives to recognise and showcase the incredible talent of women in AI and related fields, fostering a supportive community.

Let's talk about your FemInnovate project. How was this idea born? What specific social changes are you hoping to address with this initiative?

During my AI learning journey, I've realized that it's not common to find inspiring women in this field. This lack of female representation often makes other women question if they can achieve their dreams, belong in AI, or have their voices heard.

I had the chance to work on ML projects where most of the team members were men, and it disappointed me because I believe that diverse teams bring different ideas and encourage innovation. It's important to have a mix of perspectives and backgrounds in a team to make groundbreaking advancements.

So I came up with the idea for my project “FemInnovate”. This project aims to create an environment where women can empower each other by providing a platform where their voices are not only heard but also celebrated.

FemInnovate strives to recognise and showcase the incredible talent of women in AI and related fields, fostering a supportive community for women to connect, collaborate, and learn from one another.

Through this initiative, I hope to inspire more women to pursue their dreams in AI, knowing that they have a network of like-minded individuals who believe in their potential. FemInnovate is not just a project but an entrepreneurship path where women can find inspiration and encouragement. It aims to ignite the entrepreneurial spirit within women in AI, providing them with the necessary resources, mentorship, and guidance to turn their ideas into successful ventures.

FemInnovate will serve as a source of inspiration for aspiring female entrepreneurs. It aims to empower women to take charge of their careers, break barriers, and create a lasting impact in the field of AI.

Could you describe what a day at one of your proposed innovation hub might look like for a participant? What experiences and opportunities can they expect?

A day at the FemInnovate innovation hub would offer a blend of technical upskilling, team collaboration, entrepreneurial training, mentorship, and project development.

The day would begin with engaging sessions focused on upskilling in the latest AI trending technologies, equipping participants with the necessary technical knowledge to excel in their projects.

Throughout the day, participants would engage in team-building activities, forming teams with individuals from various backgrounds and expertise to brainstorm ideas, and come up with innovative AI solutions that address real-world challenges.

The program would also include sessions on entrepreneurship essentials, where participants would receive training on targeting their audience, conducting market studies, and validating their proposed solutions. This training would help participants understand the practical aspects of implementing their ideas and transforming them into viable business ventures.

Mentorship and guidance would be key components of the program, with experienced professionals in the AI industry providing support to participants.

You're currently seeking collaboration with schools and NGOs. How important is collaboration and partnership in achieving your project's goals? What could such collaboration look like?

Collaboration is vital for our project's success, particularly in securing a physical space to conduct in-person training and in engaging mentors and women interested in AI.

Partnering with NGOs allows us to leverage their networks and resources to provide a conducive environment for training sessions. By collaborating with these organizations, we can tap into their pool of experienced mentors who can guide and support participants throughout their AI journey. Furthermore, collaborating enables us to reach out to a diverse group of women who are passionate about AI, fostering a vibrant community of learners and innovators.

Collaboration [with educational institutions and NGOs] is vital for our project's success.

Can you share a piece of advice for our readers who might be interested in the field of AI, but might feel it's daunting or inaccessible?

My advice to readers would be to familiarise themselves with AI tools and technologies. AI is not limited to experts or technical individuals; it is for everyone. In the era we live in, AI can be leveraged to maximise productivity, enhance projects, and amplify their impact. Even non-technical individuals can benefit from AI by being curious and seeking support.

Joining AI communities and staying up-to-date with the latest news in the field is important because AI is rapidly evolving. Learning about AI can be a valuable way to improve and grow your projects, regardless of your background or expertise.

To young women interested in pursuing a career in AI, my advice is to believe in your abilities and never underestimate your potential. Surround yourself with a supportive network of peers, mentors, and role models who can guide and inspire you along the way. Take advantage of opportunities to participate in workshops, internships, or projects that allow you to gain hands-on experience.

Lastly, persevere through challenges and setbacks, as they are inherent in any journey. Your unique perspective and contributions are invaluable to shaping the future of AI.

Believe in your abilities and never underestimate your potential!

As you move forward with FemInnovate and your career aspirations, what's the one thing you're most excited about?

As I move forward with FemInnovate and my career aspirations, the one thing I'm most excited about is witnessing the positive impact we can make in empowering women in AI and entrepreneurship. Seeing the growth, progress, and success of the participants in the FemInnovate program, as they build their AI solutions, create businesses, and pursue careers in AI-related fields, fills me with immense joy and fulfillment.

FemInnovate aims to inspire a new generation of role models who can serve as beacons of success and inspiration for others. I believe that by showcasing the achievements and contributions of women in AI, we can break barriers, challenge stereotypes, and encourage more women to pursue their passions in this field. The prospect of creating a network of diverse and influential role models is truly thrilling, as it can pave the way for a more inclusive and equitable future in AI.


A data scientist with a Bachelor's degree in Electrical Engineering. Aicha is highly passionate about leading, collaborating, and innovating AI solutions to address socio-economic challenges. Her core interest lies in helping non-tech professionals leverage the use of AI to augment their work and amplify their projects.

Aicha is also a fellow at the CEE (Community Engagement Program), sponsored by the US Department - a leadership development program in the US which focuses on promoting social impact ideas.

Body & Mind

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