Aubrey Chirwa is a Senior Technical Project Analyst (STPA) on the Delivery team of Dimagi’s Solutions Division. Aubrey has a Bachelor’s in Management Information Systems with experience in programming. Read on to learn more about Aubrey’s interest in the intersection of technology and impact and how that led to his career choices.
Please tell us a little bit about your background and journey to Dimagi.
My voyage to Dimagi was set into motion by a friend who shared a link to a vacancy listing. I did some research that ignited my interest. What captivated me was the opportunity to work in the impact sector on a global scale. Baobab Health Trust, the organization I worked for, was involved in building IT interventions for the health sector in Malawi and had, at one point, interacted with Dimagi. So when I saw the opening at Dimagi, I thought, “Hey, here is a place I can continue to use my IT skills for good on a global level and advance my career.”
Describe a typical day in your role.
My day starts with organizing my tasks. I navigate multiple projects. Currently, I am working on four projects. For two of those projects, I am involved in a technical capacity, designing and building the application. Collaborating with the team, I develop workflows to build functionality for the interventions we are working on. Additionally, I assume the role of a project manager for the remaining two projects, focusing on stakeholder management and capacity building. This entails a balancing act as I allocate time across these responsibilities.
I started out working on projects in Malawi, but that has since expanded across borders, encompassing an international scope that spans countries as far away as Cambodia.
What are the skills necessary to succeed in your role?
An adaptive mindset geared toward learning and growth is essential. The dynamic nature of our projects necessitates the ability to pivot in response to ever-changing stakeholder requirements and product demands.
Good programming skills or even mathematical acumen or analytical skills are a plus. As part of the interview and orientation process, everyone on the delivery team learns to build applications on CommCare, so having those skills helps.
The Delivery team is very collaborative. We need each other to succeed, which means knowing how to work with others. Humility in acknowledging one’s limitations and seeking assistance when required is integral to achieving success.
What’s the most rewarding part of your role?
One of the most rewarding aspects of my role is the exposure to diverse interventions across different countries. Despite being based in Malawi, I have the privilege of making a tangible impact in far-flung corners like Cambodia and Ghana.
Dimagi provides an environment of perpetual learning and growth. I have the opportunity to be involved in diverse projects that allow me to keep learning new skills, which in turn contributes to my professional advancement.
It is incredible to work with team members from across different cultures. We are a globally dispersed team with unique skills and abilities, collaborating to help each other and foster confidence.
What challenges do you encounter?
We work on many different interventions, each with its own complex problems. There are uncertainties in the journey. Delays to a project due to governmental procedures might delay getting critical approvals and meeting timelines. Adaptation and innovation are crucial as we continue to meet those challenges.
Engaging in global projects is very exciting but brings its own set of challenges. Working with stakeholders from different countries necessitates navigating diverse stakeholder requirements and cultural nuances. Overcoming language barriers is vital. We usually have someone on the team who can interpret, but sometimes we request assistance from partners.
The Solutions Delivery team in Malawi is pretty small. How have you been able to form a bond with the rest of your Solutions Division Delivery teammates in spite of working virtually? How does the team support you?
I really thought this would be complicated. But Dimagi’s well-established mechanisms ensure that the team can collaborate and interact together efficiently as if we are in the same room. Collaborative tools like Slack and Asana facilitate seamless interaction across global time zones. Our global team operates as a cohesive unit, always ready to extend a helping hand. It reflects Dimagi’s culture of support and camaraderie.
What’s the best piece of advice you have ever received?
Someone once told me, “Don’t compare yourself to others but to your past self.” This advice has helped me tremendously to focus on individual evolution and not be overwhelmed by other people’s achievements.
What do you like to do in your free time?
Being a new father, when away from work, I am discovering a new journey of raising a completely separate individual and the joys that come with it.
Other leisure activities I enjoy are learning to play the guitar with my wife, watching movies, listening to podcasts, and spending time with family.
Want to learn more about the culture at Dimagi? Interested in applying for an open position? Visit our Careers Page.