Building a Partner Ecosystem & Subverting the Hubris of Aid with Rowena Luk (Exponential Growth Part 2)

Episode 5  |  22 minutes

Central to Dimagi's strategy of sustaining exponential growth is building and scaling a thriving partner ecosystem, a community of local developers and implementers that can create content, build applications and drive innovations with CommCare to suit specific localized needs. 

In today's episode we talk to Rowena Luk, Dimagi's Chief Connector, about the role of partnerships in creating high-impact growth. You'll learn about Rowena's journey to global digital health, including how a Canadian physician working in Ghana convinced her of the need for technology to improve healthcare in Africa. She discusses what it was like being one of the first female hires at Dimagi, and why she left Dimagi for a sabbatical after 12 years. And we dig into what brought her back to Dimagi - a desire to build out the technology ecosystem in Africa. 

Rowena shares how the partner ecosystem can help topple what she calls the hubris of aid: "The hubris of aid is believing that we can help people better than they can help themselves. And that's not a mistake that we're making. There are people in these communities that understand agriculture that understand finance and understand health and malaria and HIV so much better than we do and can speak to the communities we serve so much better than we can. And being able to open up this ecosystem of partners is how we unlock the potential for these communities to lift themselves out of poverty."

Even though investing in partner companies could be directly in competition with Dimagi, Jonathan shares why he was eager to do this: "We've always believed the communities have the answers and that we could be great at providing the digital infrastructure. But the solution itself would always be locally driven."

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