WeRobotics and the Power of Local / by Daniel Stephens

What is the Power of Local? Good question. 

We recently had the good fortune of working with the non-profit WeRobotics. They came to us via our dear friend and fellow filmmaker, Beth Cohen (check her out, she rocks!). WeRobotics is a kick-ass organization that works with the Global South (that’s all the countries south of the equator to you and me) to train local experts and supply them with drones and other nifty tech to help them solve agricultural, waste-management, and disaster relief issues.

They truly are a spiffy organization bringing inclusion and equality to the Global South and we worked with co-founder and overall amazing human Sonja Betschart. 

For this project, Sonja wanted us to create a film that succinctly expressed the power of local. Of course, our first question was, what is the power of local? Sonja explained that the core concept is one of training local humans to gather data and then use that data for good. Specifically, they train young people to use drones, AI and other tech to collect data about things as diverse as mosquito populations and landfill boundaries. Once the data is collected, they use it to enable change, from government policy to business development. By creating local experts who can work with local data locally, they accelerate positive change in communities across the global south. That is the power of local. 

So how do we capture this concept in a fun, fast, exciting and ultimately informative way? We work with the local experts. In fact, we help them become filmmakers and tell their own story. 

We asked WeRobotics Flying Lab (that’s what the locations are called) leaders across the planet to tell us what the power of local meant to them. We used those stories to write a script. And then we asked everyone to become a filmmaker. We received a lot of honest, raw video footage that spanned the globe from the mountains of northern India to the greenscreens of Peru. Lots of it in their native languages and expressing what the Power of Local meant to them. 

The video that resulted from this process is honest and delightful and expresses, we believe, the power of local in the voice of the people who live it every day.

Ultimately, this is a project that fell very near and dear to Daniel and Mark’s hearts due to the clear and profound impact the organization and its members are having on their local communities and the world. We very much look forward to continuing to find ways to help spread their message and goodwill.