RIVKA SHAW has been our Network Co-ordinator for over six months now. In this interview, she tells us how she got into the role, what she's learned from her time with us so far, and why she's inspired by other members of our network.
Explain how you came to join Arukah Network. In January 2019 – so about a year ago – I moved to Manchester and was looking for a job, living as a lodger in someone’s house. That person happened to be Arukah Network’s Communications Co-ordinator Jake Lloyd! A while later, he told me that Arukah was hiring a Network Co-ordinator, so I applied for the job, had an interview with Elizabeth and Ted, and I started working part time in June 2019.
Tell us about your role. The Network Co-ordinator role didn’t exist before I started, so I was lucky to have some freedom to choose how I spend my time, based on where my strengths lie. I provide administrative support to the Network, and try to make sure everything is running smoothly with the core team. In practice this means keeping track of everyone's tasks and deadlines, planning events, and nurturing and facilitating relationships within the Network. I also often write blog posts, reports, or work on other documents like the Arukah Cluster Handbook.
What's a typical day like? Like all of the team, I work from home, so I can be found working at my kitchen table, in a café or at a local library. There’s no such thing as a typical day, really, as every day is so different. I might be working with Elizabeth organising meetings or workshops, with Ted, Teresa and the trustees on coordinating fundraising, with Robins on Cluster development, or with Jake on social media and communications.
What's been a highlight of working with Arukah so far? If I may, I’ll pick two! In September 2019 I helped to co-ordinate a workshop with the Wellcome Centre for Cultures and Environments of Health in Exeter, which I found really inspiring and energising. In a network that’s quite diffuse, moments of personal connection and togetherness are precious. There was a sense of a lightbulb switching on as we began to realise how much our experience resonated with that of the other participants. A second ongoing highlight is getting to interview Network members around the world and share their stories. So far I’ve spoken to inspirational women including Jubin and Imlibenla. Again, it’s all about the personal connection which crosses borders and brings us together. Hearing how our members benefit personally and professionally from being part of Clusters and the broader global network spurs me on in my work.
What's the hardest bit of your role? It’s the other side of the coin of being in a network: communication is key, and it’s a challenge to maintain relationships and connection with colleagues who are far away, in different time zones. Something Jubin said to me really resonated: “being intentional about communicating, keeping those communication channels open, building those relationships up, continuing to invest in relationships. That's an ongoing challenge.” It’s something that comes up repeatedly, whoever I speak to in the Network, and we are working hard to embed regular communication into our model.
Tell us something valuable you've learned through being with Arukah Network. I’ve learnt so much! One wonderful thing about Arukah Network is that it’s not just one organisation – it consists of representatives of so many community organisations of all kinds. This means I’ve learnt about the wealth of knowledge, expertise and hope that exists in grassroots organisations around the world. Before working with Arukah, I don’t think I’d thought very much about what the word ‘community’ means, but now I’m thinking and learning more about it every day.
What are you looking forward to in 2020? We’re in the process of organising our 2020 International Gathering in Kenya, which I’m very excited about – it will be a chance to meet people who I’ve heard lots about, share stories and learn from each other. I’m also looking forward to making big steps with developing our Impact Assessment model. Not only do we hope this will help all Cluster members to monitor their progress, but that it will give us more of their news and stories to share with the world.
Thanks Rivka for all your hard work keeping our network running smoothly!
If you're a member of our network and you've not yet been featured here in the blog, then email Rivka directly: firstname.lastname@example.org.