Our History

Level Up was founded in August 2020 by Mevan Babakar.

It started as a Twitter thread asking techies in the UK whether they would consider mentoring young people in Iraq, and grew into this website and mentoring programme.

It is still in its first year, starting with ten mentor-mentee relationships, but has ambitions to grow.

Mevan has one foot in the UK and one foot in Iraq. She was born in Baghdad, Iraq, to Kurdish parents. You might have seen her in the New York Times when she found the man who gifted her a bike when she was a refugee.

She is also the Chief Operating Officer at Full Fact, the UK’s independent fact checking charity. Previously, Mevan was the founding head of Full Fact’s automated fact checking team, which won the Google AI Impact Challenge. Mevan has been a digital adviser to the Big Lottery Foundation, is a board member of the civic engagement non-profit Democracy Club, and is a founding organiser of Citizen Beta, a community of 600+ civic technologists in the UK.

Mevan and Pico the dog

“I have had help from many people during my career. I’d like to pay it forward by helping someone else learn.”

A Level Up Mentor