Since January, the Flying Labs network in West Africa has grown extensively. Today there are eight Flying Labs based in Senegal, Côte d’Ivoire, Cameroon, Benin, Burkina Faso, and Sierra Leone. And with both Morocco and La Réunion Flying Labs being French-speaking, they complement the Western African network from North and South.
To support this fast growth and continue to add more Flying Labs in the region over the coming months, the setup of a regional Flying Labs for Western Africa became more urgent. Regional Flying Labs collaborate closely with WeRobotics to build local capacity through workshops and training, and by supporting other Flying Labs in their region with resources, workflows, and best practices. Tanzania was established as our first Regional Flying Lab in Africa two years ago with support from the Hewlett Foundation, and we have been searching for a second, complementary location in Western Africa. Based on the outcomes of very insightful Co-Creation workshops in Dakar earlier this year, we chose to set up our next Regional Flying Labs in Senegal, in collaboration with the already very strong team in place at Senegal Flying Labs.
With the choice of the location confirmed, our next priority was to find the ideal partner to co-invest in this regional presence, not only with financial support but also with a shared philosophy and vision on making this regional presence self-sustaining over the coming years. And we have found this partner in the Jansen PrimeSteps Foundation, a Swiss foundation focusing on addressing poverty and supporting people to improve their livelihoods through entrepreneurship and self-sustainability.
“What convinced us to support the concept of WeRobotics is their innovative and future-oriented network approach, which allows a large number of interested parties to set up their social enterprises and create jobs. And we recognized the benefits that robotics technologies can bring to local communities, by helping them improve their living conditions through local solutions, multiplied by the network effect all over Western Africa. We very much look forward to this new partnership, for which we have high ambitions,” said Gerhard Jansen, Founder of Jansen PrimeSteps Foundation.
“For the goals we have set for ourselves and Senegal Flying Labs, the Jansen PrimeSteps Foundation is a perfect fit and we very much look forward to our very close collaboration with their experienced team,” shares Sonja Betschart of WeRobotics. “Since 2016 we’ve been honored by the support from our donors and we are thrilled to add this nascent and dynamic foundation, the first from Switzerland, to our growing list of donors.”
We thank Gerhard and Susi Jansen and the team at the Jansen PrimeSteps Foundation for sharing our vision for the ‘Power of Local’ and building local and regional capacity in Western Africa to tackle social challenges while creating meaningful local jobs and opportunities.
We achieve this by encouraging projects that offer as many people as possible more promising perspectives and that can be multiplied.
PrimeSteps assesses and accompanies the projects according to entrepreneurial principles. Visit www.primesteps.ch to learn more.