WeRobotics is a diverse, global team. To spotlight their unique talents and contributions to WeRobotics and to Flying Labs, we asked them to share a bit about their backgrounds, their roles, and their interests.
Below is a conversation with Ivy Shamu, WeRobotics Communications Coordinator Intern.
Q: Please introduce yourself: who are you, where do you live, and what’s your role at WeRobotics?
My name is Ivy. I live in Harare, the capital of Zimbabwe. I lived in the UK for 3.5 years of my life, and one thing I loved was the interaction with people from all corners of the world. As a student, I learned with people from all continents, which painted a different yet beautiful picture of diversity and uniqueness. We would talk about where we came from and our experiences back home, and what was interesting was how we all had our ways of dealing with challenges we faced as communities back home. I believe this is an experience that has been engraved and has become a value in me since I began my journey in Community Development.
Currently, I work as a Community Coordinator Intern at WeRobotics. My role is to facilitate communication and collaboration between the Flying Labs Network. My work also includes coordinating for the Flying Labs to receive the support they require from WeRobotics to carry out their localities’ mandates.
How did you get started in community development? What were your academic background and critical work experiences?
My journey in community development began with passion before my studies. I love to see the resilience in people/communities that make a difference in people’s lives, coupled with empowerment. This desire to see development in communities got me to volunteer in community initiatives and NGOs like Childline. I also organized projects in my community, focusing on women’s empowerment. From these experiences, I decided to study for a degree in community development.
How did you get here? Why did you decide to join WeRobotics? What projects have you been working on?
I will start by giving a bit of background to the answer to this question. I first heard about WeRobotics from a friend, and she was telling me about an intern position opening. So I looked up what the organization was about, and I loved the vision to enrich and empower local experts to be the champions in their area. This got me excited as I also remembered my experience with the students I met in the UK and their knowledge of their communities.
There was one small challenge, though, I have always shied away from technology save from the basics, which allows me to function daily, so robotics had never crossed my mind and probably would have never had I not had this talk with my friend.
So how did I end up here? Well, I thought, if I expect communities to be forthcoming about learning new things to improve their lives, I need to be able to do so too. I am grateful for this opportunity to be part of the WeRobotics team, which has helped me break a barrier. Within the first month, I had a chance to attend a Data training workshop in Zambia hosted by the Zambia Flying Labs. This was an exciting opportunity because we work remotely, so meeting with some of the people we had only met virtually was terrific. I met WeRobotics team members from Kenya and Prague and Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe Flying Labs. To top it all, I also met Sonja Betschart, WeRobotics co-founder, and on the second day of the workshop, she encouraged me to take part in the practical aspect of the training, which was learning how to fly a drone. Though we do not get involved in the practical work of flying drones, especially as the coordinating team, I am grateful for that experience and that exposure. In addition, I noted quite a good number of young ladies from the University of Zambia who took part and participated in Zambia Flying Lab’s work, which was quite impressive.
I left Zambia thinking that, as a woman, I had certain limitations. But sometimes, you just have to do what you never imagined so that you know what you’re truly capable of!
What are you most looking forward to this year in your work?
I love knowledge transfer. So one area that I am looking forward to making an immediate contribution to is the Mentorship Program. I believe the Flying Labs network is such a deep well of knowledge, and there is so much to be shared and exchanged within the network.
What are your go-to tools and processes for doing your job?
I appreciate Google Calendar, which helps me track appointments and meetings. However, I go old school to my pen and notebook when I am in thinking mode.
What do you like to do in your off time? How do you relax and unwind?
Taking a long unrushed drive relaxes me as I enjoy blanking my mind and just taking in the scenery. Since I can not do this very often, a walk and now and again a beauty treatment does the trick. I also make delicious meals based on my kids’ encouragement to try Masterchef one day, so I enjoy being creative with food.