IN LOCO FELLOWS BLOG SERIES #7: The fellowship has transformed the way I see myself
Before I joined the fellowship, I had a secret fear that I’m not fit enough to be a professional architect and building contractor. For that reason, I had a tendency to be reluctant about sharing my designs on social media and not to take construction projects that came my way. Even when other people praised my work and capabilities, I convinced myself that they were just being nice. The in loco fellowship, however, transformed the way I see myself.
I’m Ramokoatsi Kobo, born on 17/03/1994 at Pitseng in Leribe District, Lesotho. I completed my high school in 2011 at Molapo High before I enrolled with Limkokwing University of Creative Technology pursuing Architecture technology from 2013-2017 ; I’m an Associate degree holder.
I joined JJN Design Studio based in South Africa in 2016, and got myself a chance to collaborate in Lesotho Tourism and Handicrafts architecture competition. The year after I joined Progressive Design Studio immediately after my graduation and that is where I found out about rise’s in loco fellowship program and applied.
The first two months of the fellowship I was introduced to how to make an elevator pitch and network, I equipped myself with tools needed on how to sell myself and ideas in 30 seconds. The skills learnt are all important but the one that stuck most in my head is BE PREPARED AND DO YOUR HOME WORK.
I broadened my understanding and the new way of gathering design briefs from clients through the concept called Participatory Design. It is an approach to design attempting to involve all the stakeholders in the design to ensure that results meet their needs and are usable. We used this approach to design a new habitat for the children of God’s Love Centre orphanage.
One of the biggest contributions of this fellowship to my career was the business training sessions. After a couple of weeks we pitched business ideas in front of each other to find an interested person to partner with. I found my alter-ego who studied construction management. We formed a joint venture in construction and we have been mentored by our business coaches from day one with research and business planning. The idea of the business training sessions in a fellowship is to broaden our understanding in the business world, to become sustainable entrepreneurs and launch our businesses at the end of fellowship.
There is a difference between paint and quality paint, “yes there is”. I got a chance to be a trainee at Thetsane Paint Centre which is the distributer of PROMINENT PAINT – the brand that adheres to international best practices and actively promotes the drive towards environmental sustainability. Through this training I’m now able to select paint based on the influences made by micro/macro climate; I know the fundamentals of surface preparation and calculations of DTF. I recommend the use of Prominent Paint Products!
I’m bold enough to say that if an accident happens in the workplace or anywhere, I can be a helpful first aider by preserving and promoting recovery to the casualty. The fellowship provided an opportunity for me to attend a First Aid Course offered by Oshem C at Montech Institute. I wouldn’t trade this for anything.
PEER TO PEER OUTCOME
What I most appreciated about my experience in the fellowship is being engaged with a group of international students who were passionate about the in loco project and truly shared generously their ideas, knowledge and time.
As the site architect, this helps me to hone my critical thinking skills to better understand how problems rooted from the design can be solved on a construction site. This role also helped me build my skills in public speaking and advocacy.
I’m not the same person thanks to this fellowship.