Zain Sponsors Cybersecurity Hackathon Challenge For Women In Kuwait

Zain has sponsored the ‘50 Women in cybersecurity in Kuwait’ hackathon challenge, a first-of-its-kind nation-wide cybersecurity skilling initiative in Kuwait and the first one targeted to the role of women in cybersecurity. The initiative was created by Mercedes Vazquez, organized by ESK Holding as a recipient of an awarded grant by the U.S. Embassy in Kuwait by the U.S. Department of State & with the attendance from the National Cybersecurity Center (NCSC).

The entire initiative was divided into two phases, the first one was a rigorous and multi-layered academic part entirely funded by the U.S. Embassy in Kuwait and an innovative cyber resilience hackathon, sponsored by the U.S. Embassy in Kuwait, National Bank of Kuwait, Zain & Knet, as some of the largest Private Sector entities in Kuwait and who share like-minded visions when it comes to technology, innovation and advancing the role of women in key industries.

The pioneering initiative in Kuwait was joined by 50 selected women and girls who had submitted their application to ESK Holding to be part of this pioneering entire initiative and who participated in several hackathon competitions, including the Zain Hackathon challenge that covered specific cybersecurity-related skills. Zain’s team was part of the judges panel that evaluated the teams and picked the winners who met the outlined standards. Present during the awarding segment was Mercedes Vazquez creator of this initiative and General Manager of ESK Holding as the organizing entity,  Jeff Dee the Acting Deputy Chief of Mission of the U.S. Embassy in Kuwait & the Chief of the National Cybersecurity Center Ret. Major General Eng Mohammad Boarki.

“Zain drives a pioneering role in supporting DE&I in Kuwait and across their operating markets, it was a great alignment towards the objectives of the “50 Women in Cybersecurity in Kuwait” phase through the sponsorship of our hackathon as through this initiative we aim to increase the representation and active participation of women in an ever-growing field for a resilient and thriving prosperous future for all” Mercedes Vazquez, creator of the “50 Women in Cybersecurity in Kuwait” first-of-its-kind initiative.

The U.S. Embassy in Kuwait commends the dedication and initiative of the initiative’s creator, the participants, presenters and staff of the 50 Women in Cybersecurity program. Your contributions will not only strengthen Kuwait’s cybersecurity, but also help pave the way for increased leadership by women in Government Ministries and Private sector entities.

Zain’s support to this unique initiative came under its Group-wide Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I) strategy, as well as its efforts to raise cybersecurity awareness in the community.

ESK Holding focuses on “Technology for all” with U.S. technology and provides world-class access to education to foster upskilling and reskilling through collaborative actions like the “50 Women in Cybersecurity in Kuwait” that had obtained funding by a grant from the U.S. Embassy in Kuwait, innovative technology to enable a resilient digitized economy, pioneering geospatial technology for national security and in-house built solutions harnessing the Responsible use of AI.

Zain Group is proud to be among the first telecom providers in the region to have established a Diversity and Inclusion office, as an indicator of how seriously the company takes the subject of uplifting its entire workforce and benefiting society. The remit of this function is to nurture a diverse and inclusive culture through a series of carefully crafted programs and initiatives.

Mercedes Vazquez as General Manager of ESK Holding and a technology executive who has a very solid track record in Kuwait driving technology-driven transformations & impact for the past close to eight years, she’s known for her public actions in innovation, economic and community-development & has been awarded in the United Arab Emirates at the 2023 Global Women in Leadership awards in the category of “Exemplary Women in Economic Development” and in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was part of exclusive transformational educational programs.