With great joy, we announce today that Sonja Betschart, WeRobotics co-founder and co-CEO, has been awarded the prestigious Ashoka Fellowship.
The Ashoka Fellowship celebrates the innovation and impact of systems change social entrepreneurs. While these entrepreneurs become a Fellow on an individual/personal basis, Ashoka recognizes that co-creation and collaboration are indispensable to a Fellow’s success. Therefore, Sonja’s nomination represents her as much as it represents WeRobotics, its team and leadership, and the hundreds of incredibly talented and courageous change-makers that make up the diverse world of the Flying Labs Network.
Our colleague and new Ashoka Fellow Sonja says: “Early on in the application process, I was asked to share my favorite quote: ‘Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.’ by American abolitionist Harriet Tubman. Today, I feel like our stars at WeRobotics are aligning to reach our endgame and the systems change goals we’ve set for ourselves. Becoming an Ashoka Fellow fills my heart with immense joy and gratitude, inspiration and courage.”
At WeRobotics, we co-create and facilitate the thriving Flying Labs Network. Often, we discuss with existing and potential new Flying Labs the many advantages and values that being part of this network generates. Hence, we know first-hand how being part of the right networks can support small organizations that want to grow, learn, share, collaborate, and scale to become part of larger discussions.
We appreciate the unique opportunity and immense value Sonja and our organization are offered by becoming part of the Ashoka network and family. And we also feel that the timing is serendipitous as we enter into a new phase at WeRobotics this year. Taking the invaluable experiences and learnings of co-creating and facilitating the Flying Labs Network and its enabling environment over the past 5 years, we are now ready to offer other international NGOs (INGOs) the opportunity to adopt and adapt our model to sustainably localize their work and shift power in the process. We also want to make such power shifts visible by measuring INGOs’ Power Footprint, including our own.
Sonja’s Ashoka Fellowship application was based on exactly these elements: the Inclusive Network model and the larger “Shift the Power” systems change strategy at WeRobotics. We are very aware of the complexity of systems change. And how this road, at times, can feel lonely and treacherous to navigate alone. Being able to tap into the Ashoka network and the collective intelligence of thousands of Fellows and Ashoka team members is a guiding light in helping us reach our goal of changing the sector’s system in relation to the power of local.
We are very grateful to the amazing Ashoka team in Switzerland and the UK. They have supported Sonja along her Fellowship application journey and contributed heavily to Sonja’s successful Fellowship nomination.
Join us in congratulating Sonja on this fantastic accomplishment!
Learn more on WeRobotics’ Inclusive Network Model at this Skoll World Forum Ecosystem event on April 8, 2022, at 3pm BST. We are very excited to host Lorena García Durán of Ashoka as one of the speakers.