Team

Tue Apr 04 2017 20:54:54 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

[our-team]

Work to live, don't live to work

Mon Jul 18 2016 11:29:35 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

[fusion_builder_container background_parallax="none" enable_mobile="no" parallax_speed="0.3" background_repeat="no-repeat" background_position="left top" video_aspect_ratio="16:9" video_mute="yes" video_loop="yes" fade="no" border_size="0px" padding_top="20" padding_bottom="20" hundred_percent="no" equal_height_columns="no" hide_on_mobile="no"][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type="1_1" spacing="yes" center_content="no" hover_type="none" link="" min_height="" hide_on_mobile="no" class="" id="" background_color="" background_image="" background_position="left top" undefined="" background_repeat="no-repeat" border_size="0" border_color="" border_style="solid" border_position="all" padding="0px 10% 0px 10%" margin_top="" margin_bottom="" animation_type="" animation_direction="left" animation_speed="0.1" animation_offset="" last="no"][fusion_title hide_on_mobile="small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility" size="1" content_align="center" style_type="none"]

Work to live, don’t live to work

[/fusion_title][fusion_imageframe lightbox="no" style_type="none" hover_type="none" bordersize="0px" borderradius="0" align="center" linktarget="_self" animation_type="0" animation_direction="down" animation_speed="0.1" hide_on_mobile="no"] [/fusion_imageframe][fusion_separator style_type="none" hide_on_mobile="small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility" class="" id="" sep_color="" top_margin="20px" bottom_margin="" border_size="" icon="" icon_circle="" icon_circle_color="" width="" alignment="center" /][fusion_text]

Avada News   •   June 2, 2016

[/fusion_text][fusion_separator style_type="none" top_margin="50px" alignment="center" /][fusion_imageframe image_id="" style_type="none" stylecolor="" hover_type="liftup" bordersize="0px" bordercolor="" borderradius="0" align="center" lightbox="yes" gallery_id="" lightbox_image="" alt="" link="" linktarget="_self" hide_on_mobile="no" class="" id="" animation_type="" animation_direction="down" animation_speed="0.1" animation_offset=""] [/fusion_imageframe][fusion_separator style_type="none" top_margin="50px" alignment="center" /][fusion_text][fusion_dropcap color="" boxed="yes" boxed_radius="50%" class="" id=""]A[/fusion_dropcap]Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. In et scelerisque sem. Nunc molestie neque augue, at gravida mi blandit eget. Aenean eu augue id lacus eleifend interdum. Cras sit amet metus sit amet velit lacinia ullamcorper. Nam facilisis a orci quis tempus. Vivamus id odio justo. Curabitur ut euismod metus. Donec nec neque non ligula vestibulum blandit id sed eros.Vestibulum cursus in ligula lacinia lobortis. Morbi at velit at velit auctor efficitur ut ac justo. Phasellus porttitor, elit vitae scelerisque vestibulum, nunc libero bibendum massa, ut ultrices quam libero vel dolor. In sit amet ultricies dolor. Suspendisse maximus odio mollis massa tristique rhoncus.

Keep It Simple

Duis vel tellus a ante convallis pellentesque. Ut nec eros ullamcorper, dictum enim in, euismod est. Proin scelerisque convallis ipsum consequat aliquam. Praesent semper scelerisque accumsan. Integer vitae nulla suscipit, molestie tortor sed, eleifend tellus. Pellentesque a bibendum massa.[/fusion_text][fusion_separator style_type="none" top_margin="30px" alignment="center" /][fusion_checklist icon="" iconcolor="" circle="" circlecolor="" size="18px" hide_on_mobile="small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility" class="" id=""][fusion_li_item icon=""]Print Design Services[/fusion_li_item][fusion_li_item icon=""]Content Marketing[/fusion_li_item][fusion_li_item icon=""]PPC Advertising[/fusion_li_item][/fusion_checklist][fusion_separator style_type="none" top_margin="50px" alignment="center" /][fusion_text]Donec quam est, suscipit vel ligula ut, aliquet maximus libero. Pellentesque finibus tellus vitae dolor lacinia eleifend. Vivamus convallis nunc ante, ac placerat turpis imperdiet in. Aenean posuere tortor vitae mi mollis tempus.

Focus on The User

Suspendisse eu lectus tempus, feugiat enim in, lacinia augue. Cras scelerisque risus vel nulla dictum vehicula. Phasellus vel massa massa. Curabitur a turpis vitae ipsum tempor varius. Etiam iaculis purus vitae velit blandit posuere. Cras scelerisque volutpat bibendum. Donec a justo sapien. Phasellus condimentum volutpat ex eget consectetur. Mauris vulputate aliquet commodo. Aliquam dictum tristique risus vel cursus.Nulla sit amet nunc massa. Praesent sed est pellentesque, varius tellus non, efficitur nisi. Sed sit amet purus in odio varius tincidunt. Mauris ut ante lobortis, elementum orci efficitur, bibendum leo. Nulla fringilla porttitor congue. Nunc ac semper sapien, a lobortis augue. Morbi ullamcorper erat vel nunc euismod, at condimentum turpis iaculis. Aliquam pretium blandit ultrices.Ut porttitor bibendum velit. Vivamus urna lorem, dapibus in odio nec, dapibus maximus risus. Vivamus eleifend vulputate egestas. Curabitur in diam eget lorem vehicula scelerisque. Mauris neque nibh, scelerisque ac malesuada at, feugiat a nisl. Etiam pulvinar nibh eget ullamcorper rutrum. Duis nec lobortis ex.[/fusion_text][/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

Ask good questions and get better answers

Mon Jul 18 2016 11:30:19 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

[fusion_builder_container background_parallax="none" enable_mobile="no" parallax_speed="0.3" background_repeat="no-repeat" background_position="left top" video_aspect_ratio="16:9" video_mute="yes" video_loop="yes" fade="no" border_size="0px" padding_top="20" padding_bottom="20" hundred_percent="no" equal_height_columns="no" hide_on_mobile="no"][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type="1_1" spacing="yes" center_content="no" hover_type="none" link="" min_height="" hide_on_mobile="no" class="" id="" background_color="" background_image="" background_position="left top" undefined="" background_repeat="no-repeat" border_size="0" border_color="" border_style="solid" border_position="all" padding="0px 10% 0px 10%" margin_top="" margin_bottom="" animation_type="" animation_direction="left" animation_speed="0.1" animation_offset="" last="no"][fusion_title hide_on_mobile="small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility" size="1" content_align="center" style_type="none"]

Ask good questions and get better answers

[/fusion_title][fusion_imageframe lightbox="no" style_type="none" hover_type="none" bordersize="0px" borderradius="0" align="center" linktarget="_self" animation_type="0" animation_direction="down" animation_speed="0.1" hide_on_mobile="no"] [/fusion_imageframe][fusion_separator style_type="none" hide_on_mobile="small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility" class="" id="" sep_color="" top_margin="20px" bottom_margin="" border_size="" icon="" icon_circle="" icon_circle_color="" width="" alignment="center" /][fusion_text]

Avada News   •   June 2, 2016

[/fusion_text][fusion_separator style_type="none" top_margin="50px" alignment="center" /][fusion_imageframe image_id="" style_type="none" stylecolor="" hover_type="liftup" bordersize="0px" bordercolor="" borderradius="0" align="center" lightbox="yes" gallery_id="" lightbox_image="" alt="" link="" linktarget="_self" hide_on_mobile="no" class="" id="" animation_type="" animation_direction="down" animation_speed="0.1" animation_offset=""] [/fusion_imageframe][fusion_separator style_type="none" top_margin="50px" alignment="center" /][fusion_text][fusion_dropcap color="" boxed="yes" boxed_radius="50%" class="" id=""]A[/fusion_dropcap]Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. In et scelerisque sem. Nunc molestie neque augue, at gravida mi blandit eget. Aenean eu augue id lacus eleifend interdum. Cras sit amet metus sit amet velit lacinia ullamcorper. Nam facilisis a orci quis tempus. Vivamus id odio justo. Curabitur ut euismod metus. Donec nec neque non ligula vestibulum blandit id sed eros. Vestibulum cursus in ligula lacinia lobortis. Morbi at velit at velit auctor efficitur ut ac justo. Phasellus porttitor, elit vitae scelerisque vestibulum, nunc libero bibendum massa, ut ultrices quam libero vel dolor. In sit amet ultricies dolor. Suspendisse maximus odio mollis massa tristique rhoncus.

Keep It Simple

Duis vel tellus a ante convallis pellentesque. Ut nec eros ullamcorper, dictum enim in, euismod est. Proin scelerisque convallis ipsum consequat aliquam. Praesent semper scelerisque accumsan. Integer vitae nulla suscipit, molestie tortor sed, eleifend tellus. Pellentesque a bibendum massa.[/fusion_text][fusion_separator style_type="none" top_margin="30px" alignment="center" /][fusion_checklist icon="" iconcolor="" circle="" circlecolor="" size="18px" hide_on_mobile="small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility" class="" id=""][fusion_li_item icon=""] Print Design Services [/fusion_li_item][fusion_li_item icon=""] Content Marketing [/fusion_li_item][fusion_li_item icon=""] PPC Advertising [/fusion_li_item][/fusion_checklist][fusion_separator style_type="none" top_margin="50px" alignment="center" /][fusion_text]Donec quam est, suscipit vel ligula ut, aliquet maximus libero. Pellentesque finibus tellus vitae dolor lacinia eleifend. Vivamus convallis nunc ante, ac placerat turpis imperdiet in. Aenean posuere tortor vitae mi mollis tempus.

Focus on The User

Suspendisse eu lectus tempus, feugiat enim in, lacinia augue. Cras scelerisque risus vel nulla dictum vehicula. Phasellus vel massa massa. Curabitur a turpis vitae ipsum tempor varius. Etiam iaculis purus vitae velit blandit posuere. Cras scelerisque volutpat bibendum. Donec a justo sapien. Phasellus condimentum volutpat ex eget consectetur. Mauris vulputate aliquet commodo. Aliquam dictum tristique risus vel cursus. Nulla sit amet nunc massa. Praesent sed est pellentesque, varius tellus non, efficitur nisi. Sed sit amet purus in odio varius tincidunt. Mauris ut ante lobortis, elementum orci efficitur, bibendum leo. Nulla fringilla porttitor congue. Nunc ac semper sapien, a lobortis augue. Morbi ullamcorper erat vel nunc euismod, at condimentum turpis iaculis. Aliquam pretium blandit ultrices. Ut porttitor bibendum velit. Vivamus urna lorem, dapibus in odio nec, dapibus maximus risus. Vivamus eleifend vulputate egestas. Curabitur in diam eget lorem vehicula scelerisque. Mauris neque nibh, scelerisque ac malesuada at, feugiat a nisl. Etiam pulvinar nibh eget ullamcorper rutrum. Duis nec lobortis ex.[/fusion_text][/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

Design Basics: Always carry a notebook

Mon Jul 18 2016 11:31:03 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

[fusion_builder_container background_parallax="none" enable_mobile="no" parallax_speed="0.3" background_repeat="no-repeat" background_position="left top" video_aspect_ratio="16:9" video_mute="yes" video_loop="yes" fade="no" border_size="0px" padding_top="20" padding_bottom="20" hundred_percent="no" equal_height_columns="no" hide_on_mobile="no"][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type="1_1" spacing="yes" center_content="no" hover_type="none" link="" min_height="" hide_on_mobile="no" class="" id="" background_color="" background_image="" background_position="left top" undefined="" background_repeat="no-repeat" border_size="0" border_color="" border_style="solid" border_position="all" padding="0px 10% 0px 10%" margin_top="" margin_bottom="" animation_type="" animation_direction="left" animation_speed="0.1" animation_offset="" last="no"][fusion_title hide_on_mobile="small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility" size="1" content_align="center" style_type="none"]

Design Basics: Always carry a notebook

[/fusion_title][fusion_imageframe lightbox="no" style_type="none" hover_type="none" bordersize="0px" borderradius="0" align="center" linktarget="_self" animation_type="0" animation_direction="down" animation_speed="0.1" hide_on_mobile="no"] [/fusion_imageframe][fusion_separator style_type="none" hide_on_mobile="small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility" class="" id="" sep_color="" top_margin="20px" bottom_margin="" border_size="" icon="" icon_circle="" icon_circle_color="" width="" alignment="center" /][fusion_text]

Avada News   •   June 2, 2016

[/fusion_text][fusion_separator style_type="none" top_margin="50px" alignment="center" /][fusion_imageframe image_id="" style_type="none" stylecolor="" hover_type="liftup" bordersize="0px" bordercolor="" borderradius="0" align="center" lightbox="yes" gallery_id="" lightbox_image="" alt="" link="" linktarget="_self" hide_on_mobile="no" class="" id="" animation_type="" animation_direction="down" animation_speed="0.1" animation_offset=""] [/fusion_imageframe][fusion_separator style_type="none" top_margin="50px" alignment="center" /][fusion_text][fusion_dropcap color="" boxed="yes" boxed_radius="50%" class="" id=""]A[/fusion_dropcap]Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. In et scelerisque sem. Nunc molestie neque augue, at gravida mi blandit eget. Aenean eu augue id lacus eleifend interdum. Cras sit amet metus sit amet velit lacinia ullamcorper. Nam facilisis a orci quis tempus. Vivamus id odio justo. Curabitur ut euismod metus. Donec nec neque non ligula vestibulum blandit id sed eros. Vestibulum cursus in ligula lacinia lobortis. Morbi at velit at velit auctor efficitur ut ac justo. Phasellus porttitor, elit vitae scelerisque vestibulum, nunc libero bibendum massa, ut ultrices quam libero vel dolor. In sit amet ultricies dolor. Suspendisse maximus odio mollis massa tristique rhoncus.

Keep It Simple

Duis vel tellus a ante convallis pellentesque. Ut nec eros ullamcorper, dictum enim in, euismod est. Proin scelerisque convallis ipsum consequat aliquam. Praesent semper scelerisque accumsan. Integer vitae nulla suscipit, molestie tortor sed, eleifend tellus. Pellentesque a bibendum massa.[/fusion_text][fusion_separator style_type="none" top_margin="30px" alignment="center" /][fusion_checklist icon="" iconcolor="" circle="" circlecolor="" size="18px" hide_on_mobile="small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility" class="" id=""][fusion_li_item icon=""] Print Design Services [/fusion_li_item][fusion_li_item icon=""] Content Marketing [/fusion_li_item][fusion_li_item icon=""] PPC Advertising [/fusion_li_item][/fusion_checklist][fusion_separator style_type="none" top_margin="50px" alignment="center" /][fusion_text]Donec quam est, suscipit vel ligula ut, aliquet maximus libero. Pellentesque finibus tellus vitae dolor lacinia eleifend. Vivamus convallis nunc ante, ac placerat turpis imperdiet in. Aenean posuere tortor vitae mi mollis tempus.

Focus on The User

Suspendisse eu lectus tempus, feugiat enim in, lacinia augue. Cras scelerisque risus vel nulla dictum vehicula. Phasellus vel massa massa. Curabitur a turpis vitae ipsum tempor varius. Etiam iaculis purus vitae velit blandit posuere. Cras scelerisque volutpat bibendum. Donec a justo sapien. Phasellus condimentum volutpat ex eget consectetur. Mauris vulputate aliquet commodo. Aliquam dictum tristique risus vel cursus. Nulla sit amet nunc massa. Praesent sed est pellentesque, varius tellus non, efficitur nisi. Sed sit amet purus in odio varius tincidunt. Mauris ut ante lobortis, elementum orci efficitur, bibendum leo. Nulla fringilla porttitor congue. Nunc ac semper sapien, a lobortis augue. Morbi ullamcorper erat vel nunc euismod, at condimentum turpis iaculis. Aliquam pretium blandit ultrices. Ut porttitor bibendum velit. Vivamus urna lorem, dapibus in odio nec, dapibus maximus risus. Vivamus eleifend vulputate egestas. Curabitur in diam eget lorem vehicula scelerisque. Mauris neque nibh, scelerisque ac malesuada at, feugiat a nisl. Etiam pulvinar nibh eget ullamcorper rutrum. Duis nec lobortis ex.[/fusion_text][/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

When is creative too creative?

Fri Jul 22 2016 22:15:51 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

[fusion_builder_container background_parallax="none" enable_mobile="no" parallax_speed="0.3" background_repeat="no-repeat" background_position="left top" video_aspect_ratio="16:9" video_mute="yes" video_loop="yes" fade="no" border_size="0px" padding_top="20" padding_bottom="20" hundred_percent="no" equal_height_columns="no" hide_on_mobile="no"][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type="1_1" spacing="yes" center_content="no" hover_type="none" link="" min_height="" hide_on_mobile="no" class="" id="" background_color="" background_image="" background_position="left top" undefined="" background_repeat="no-repeat" border_size="0" border_color="" border_style="solid" border_position="all" padding="0px 10% 0px 10%" margin_top="" margin_bottom="" animation_type="" animation_direction="left" animation_speed="0.1" animation_offset="" last="no"][fusion_title hide_on_mobile="small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility" size="1" content_align="center" style_type="none"]

When is creative too creative?

[/fusion_title][fusion_imageframe lightbox="no" style_type="none" hover_type="none" bordersize="0px" borderradius="0" align="center" linktarget="_self" animation_type="0" animation_direction="down" animation_speed="0.1" hide_on_mobile="no"] [/fusion_imageframe][fusion_separator style_type="none" hide_on_mobile="small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility" class="" id="" sep_color="" top_margin="20px" bottom_margin="" border_size="" icon="" icon_circle="" icon_circle_color="" width="" alignment="center" /][fusion_text]

Avada News   •   June 2, 2016

[/fusion_text][fusion_separator style_type="none" top_margin="50px" alignment="center" /][fusion_imageframe image_id="" style_type="none" stylecolor="" hover_type="liftup" bordersize="0px" bordercolor="" borderradius="0" align="center" lightbox="yes" gallery_id="" lightbox_image="" alt="" link="" linktarget="_self" hide_on_mobile="no" class="" id="" animation_type="" animation_direction="down" animation_speed="0.1" animation_offset=""] [/fusion_imageframe][fusion_separator style_type="none" top_margin="50px" alignment="center" /][fusion_text][fusion_dropcap color="" boxed="yes" boxed_radius="50%" class="" id=""]A[/fusion_dropcap]Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. In et scelerisque sem. Nunc molestie neque augue, at gravida mi blandit eget. Aenean eu augue id lacus eleifend interdum. Cras sit amet metus sit amet velit lacinia ullamcorper. Nam facilisis a orci quis tempus. Vivamus id odio justo. Curabitur ut euismod metus. Donec nec neque non ligula vestibulum blandit id sed eros. Vestibulum cursus in ligula lacinia lobortis. Morbi at velit at velit auctor efficitur ut ac justo. Phasellus porttitor, elit vitae scelerisque vestibulum, nunc libero bibendum massa, ut ultrices quam libero vel dolor. In sit amet ultricies dolor. Suspendisse maximus odio mollis massa tristique rhoncus.

Keep It Simple

Duis vel tellus a ante convallis pellentesque. Ut nec eros ullamcorper, dictum enim in, euismod est. Proin scelerisque convallis ipsum consequat aliquam. Praesent semper scelerisque accumsan. Integer vitae nulla suscipit, molestie tortor sed, eleifend tellus. Pellentesque a bibendum massa. Etiam auctor ligula nibh.[/fusion_text][fusion_separator style_type="none" top_margin="30px" alignment="center" /][fusion_checklist icon="" iconcolor="" circle="" circlecolor="" size="18px" hide_on_mobile="small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility" class="" id=""][fusion_li_item icon=""] Print Design Services [/fusion_li_item][fusion_li_item icon=""] Content Marketing [/fusion_li_item][fusion_li_item icon=""] PPC Advertising [/fusion_li_item][/fusion_checklist][fusion_separator style_type="none" top_margin="50px" alignment="center" /][fusion_text]Donec quam est, suscipit vel ligula ut, aliquet maximus libero. Pellentesque finibus tellus vitae dolor lacinia eleifend. Vivamus convallis nunc ante, ac placerat turpis imperdiet in. Aenean posuere tortor vitae mi mollis tempus.

Focus on The User

Suspendisse eu lectus tempus, feugiat enim in, lacinia augue. Cras scelerisque risus vel nulla dictum vehicula. Phasellus vel massa massa. Curabitur a turpis vitae ipsum tempor varius. Etiam iaculis purus vitae velit blandit posuere. Cras scelerisque volutpat bibendum. Donec a justo sapien. Phasellus condimentum volutpat ex eget consectetur. Mauris vulputate aliquet commodo. Aliquam dictum tristique risus vel cursus. Nulla sit amet nunc massa. Praesent sed est pellentesque, varius tellus non, efficitur nisi. Sed sit amet purus in odio varius tincidunt. Mauris ut ante lobortis, elementum orci efficitur, bibendum leo. Nulla fringilla porttitor congue. Nunc ac semper sapien, a lobortis augue. Morbi ullamcorper erat vel nunc euismod, at condimentum turpis iaculis. Aliquam pretium blandit ultrices. Ut porttitor bibendum velit. Vivamus urna lorem, dapibus in odio nec, dapibus maximus risus. Vivamus eleifend vulputate egestas. Curabitur in diam eget lorem vehicula scelerisque. Mauris neque nibh, scelerisque ac malesuada at, feugiat a nisl. Etiam pulvinar nibh eget ullamcorper rutrum. Duis nec lobortis ex.[/fusion_text][fusion_social_links show_custom="no" /][/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

How to encourage creativity

Fri Jun 03 2016 05:23:34 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

[fusion_builder_container background_parallax="none" enable_mobile="no" parallax_speed="0.3" background_repeat="no-repeat" background_position="left top" video_aspect_ratio="16:9" video_mute="yes" video_loop="yes" fade="no" border_size="0px" padding_top="20" padding_bottom="20" hundred_percent="no" equal_height_columns="no" hide_on_mobile="no"][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type="1_1" layout="1_1" spacing="yes" center_content="no" hover_type="none" link="" min_height="" hide_on_mobile="no" class="" id="" background_color="" background_image="" background_position="left top" undefined="" background_repeat="no-repeat" border_size="0" border_color="" border_style="solid" border_position="all" padding="0px 10% 0px 10%" margin_top="" margin_bottom="" animation_type="" animation_direction="left" animation_speed="0.1" animation_offset="" last="no"][fusion_title margin_top="" margin_bottom="" hide_on_mobile="small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility" class="" id="" size="1" content_align="center" style_type="none" sep_color=""]

How to encourage creativity?

[/fusion_title][fusion_imageframe lightbox="no" style_type="none" hover_type="none" bordersize="0px" borderradius="0" align="center" linktarget="_self" animation_type="0" animation_direction="down" animation_speed="0.1" hide_on_mobile="no"] [/fusion_imageframe][fusion_separator style_type="none" hide_on_mobile="small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility" class="" id="" sep_color="" top_margin="20px" bottom_margin="" border_size="" icon="" icon_circle="" icon_circle_color="" width="" alignment="center" /][fusion_text]

Avada News   •   June 2, 2016

[/fusion_text][fusion_separator style_type="none" top_margin="50px" alignment="center" /][fusion_imageframe image_id="765" style_type="none" stylecolor="" hover_type="liftup" bordersize="0px" bordercolor="" borderradius="0" align="center" lightbox="yes" gallery_id="" lightbox_image="" alt="" link="" linktarget="_self" hide_on_mobile="no" class="" id="" animation_type="" animation_direction="down" animation_speed="0.1" animation_offset=""]http://ilabliberia.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/article8.jpg[/fusion_imageframe][fusion_separator style_type="none" top_margin="50px" alignment="center" /][fusion_text][fusion_dropcap color="" boxed="yes" boxed_radius="50%" class="" id=""]A[/fusion_dropcap]Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. In et scelerisque sem. Nunc molestie neque augue, at gravida mi blandit eget. Aenean eu augue id lacus eleifend interdum. Cras sit amet metus sit amet velit lacinia ullamcorper. Nam facilisis a orci quis tempus. Vivamus id odio justo. Curabitur ut euismod metus. Donec nec neque non ligula vestibulum blandit id sed eros. Vestibulum cursus in ligula lacinia lobortis. Morbi at velit at velit auctor efficitur ut ac justo. Phasellus porttitor, elit vitae scelerisque vestibulum, nunc libero bibendum massa, ut ultrices quam libero vel dolor. In sit amet ultricies dolor. Suspendisse maximus odio mollis massa tristique rhoncus.

Keep It Simple

Duis vel tellus a ante convallis pellentesque. Ut nec eros ullamcorper, dictum enim in, euismod est. Proin scelerisque convallis ipsum consequat aliquam. Praesent semper scelerisque accumsan. Integer vitae nulla suscipit, molestie tortor sed, eleifend tellus. Pellentesque a bibendum massa. Etiam auctor ligula nibh.[/fusion_text][fusion_separator style_type="none" top_margin="30px" alignment="center" /][fusion_checklist icon="" iconcolor="" circle="" circlecolor="" size="18px" hide_on_mobile="small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility" class="" id=""][fusion_li_item icon=""] Print Design Services [/fusion_li_item][fusion_li_item icon=""] Content Marketing [/fusion_li_item][fusion_li_item icon=""] PPC Advertising [/fusion_li_item][/fusion_checklist][fusion_separator style_type="none" top_margin="50px" alignment="center" /][fusion_text]Donec quam est, suscipit vel ligula ut, aliquet maximus libero. Pellentesque finibus tellus vitae dolor lacinia eleifend. Vivamus convallis nunc ante, ac placerat turpis imperdiet in. Aenean posuere tortor vitae mi mollis tempus.

Focus on The User

Suspendisse eu lectus tempus, feugiat enim in, lacinia augue. Cras scelerisque risus vel nulla dictum vehicula. Phasellus vel massa massa. Curabitur a turpis vitae ipsum tempor varius. Etiam iaculis purus vitae velit blandit posuere. Cras scelerisque volutpat bibendum. Donec a justo sapien. Phasellus condimentum volutpat ex eget consectetur. Mauris vulputate aliquet commodo. Aliquam dictum tristique risus vel cursus. Nulla sit amet nunc massa. Praesent sed est pellentesque, varius tellus non, efficitur nisi. Sed sit amet purus in odio varius tincidunt. Mauris ut ante lobortis, elementum orci efficitur, bibendum leo. Nulla fringilla porttitor congue. Nunc ac semper sapien, a lobortis augue. Morbi ullamcorper erat vel nunc euismod, at condimentum turpis iaculis. Aliquam pretium blandit ultrices. Ut porttitor bibendum velit. Vivamus urna lorem, dapibus in odio nec, dapibus maximus risus. Vivamus eleifend vulputate egestas. Curabitur in diam eget lorem vehicula scelerisque. Mauris neque nibh, scelerisque ac malesuada at, feugiat a nisl. Etiam pulvinar nibh eget ullamcorper rutrum. Duis nec lobortis ex.[/fusion_text][fusion_social_links show_custom="no" /][/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

Finding the assets you need

Thu Jun 02 2016 05:24:56 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

[fusion_builder_container background_parallax="none" enable_mobile="no" parallax_speed="0.3" background_repeat="no-repeat" background_position="left top" video_aspect_ratio="16:9" video_mute="yes" video_loop="yes" fade="no" border_size="0px" padding_top="20" padding_bottom="20" hundred_percent="no" equal_height_columns="no" hide_on_mobile="no"][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type="1_1" layout="1_1" spacing="yes" center_content="no" hover_type="none" link="" min_height="" hide_on_mobile="no" class="" id="" background_color="" background_image="" background_position="left top" undefined="" background_repeat="no-repeat" border_size="0" border_color="" border_style="solid" border_position="all" padding="0px 10% 0px 10%" margin_top="" margin_bottom="" animation_type="" animation_direction="left" animation_speed="0.1" animation_offset="" last="no"][fusion_title margin_top="" margin_bottom="" hide_on_mobile="small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility" class="" id="" size="1" content_align="center" style_type="none" sep_color=""]

Finding the assets you need

[/fusion_title][fusion_imageframe lightbox="no" style_type="none" hover_type="none" bordersize="0px" borderradius="0" align="center" linktarget="_self" animation_type="0" animation_direction="down" animation_speed="0.1" hide_on_mobile="no"] [/fusion_imageframe][fusion_separator style_type="none" hide_on_mobile="small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility" class="" id="" sep_color="" top_margin="20px" bottom_margin="" border_size="" icon="" icon_circle="" icon_circle_color="" width="" alignment="center" /][fusion_text]

Avada News   •   June 2, 2016

[/fusion_text][fusion_separator style_type="none" top_margin="50px" alignment="center" /][fusion_imageframe image_id="763" style_type="none" stylecolor="" hover_type="liftup" bordersize="0px" bordercolor="" borderradius="0" align="center" lightbox="yes" gallery_id="" lightbox_image="" alt="" link="" linktarget="_self" hide_on_mobile="no" class="" id="" animation_type="" animation_direction="down" animation_speed="0.1" animation_offset=""]http://ilabliberia.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/article6.jpg[/fusion_imageframe][fusion_separator style_type="none" top_margin="50px" alignment="center" /][fusion_text][fusion_dropcap color="" boxed="yes" boxed_radius="50%" class="" id=""]A[/fusion_dropcap]Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. In et scelerisque sem. Nunc molestie neque augue, at gravida mi blandit eget. Aenean eu augue id lacus eleifend interdum. Cras sit amet metus sit amet velit lacinia ullamcorper. Nam facilisis a orci quis tempus. Vivamus id odio justo. Curabitur ut euismod metus. Donec nec neque non ligula vestibulum blandit id sed eros. Vestibulum cursus in ligula lacinia lobortis. Morbi at velit at velit auctor efficitur ut ac justo. Phasellus porttitor, elit vitae scelerisque vestibulum, nunc libero bibendum massa, ut ultrices quam libero vel dolor. In sit amet ultricies dolor. Suspendisse maximus odio mollis massa tristique rhoncus.

Keep It Simple

Duis vel tellus a ante convallis pellentesque. Ut nec eros ullamcorper, dictum enim in, euismod est. Proin scelerisque convallis ipsum consequat aliquam. Praesent semper scelerisque accumsan. Integer vitae nulla suscipit, molestie tortor sed, eleifend tellus. Pellentesque a bibendum massa. Etiam auctor ligula nibh.[/fusion_text][fusion_separator style_type="none" top_margin="30px" alignment="center" /][fusion_checklist icon="" iconcolor="" circle="" circlecolor="" size="18px" hide_on_mobile="small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility" class="" id=""][fusion_li_item icon=""] Print Design Services [/fusion_li_item][fusion_li_item icon=""] Content Marketing [/fusion_li_item][fusion_li_item icon=""] PPC Advertising [/fusion_li_item][/fusion_checklist][fusion_separator style_type="none" top_margin="50px" alignment="center" /][fusion_text]Donec quam est, suscipit vel ligula ut, aliquet maximus libero. Pellentesque finibus tellus vitae dolor lacinia eleifend. Vivamus convallis nunc ante, ac placerat turpis imperdiet in. Aenean posuere tortor vitae mi mollis tempus.

Focus on The User

Suspendisse eu lectus tempus, feugiat enim in, lacinia augue. Cras scelerisque risus vel nulla dictum vehicula. Phasellus vel massa massa. Curabitur a turpis vitae ipsum tempor varius. Etiam iaculis purus vitae velit blandit posuere. Cras scelerisque volutpat bibendum. Donec a justo sapien. Phasellus condimentum volutpat ex eget consectetur. Mauris vulputate aliquet commodo. Aliquam dictum tristique risus vel cursus. Nulla sit amet nunc massa. Praesent sed est pellentesque, varius tellus non, efficitur nisi. Sed sit amet purus in odio varius tincidunt. Mauris ut ante lobortis, elementum orci efficitur, bibendum leo. Nulla fringilla porttitor congue. Nunc ac semper sapien, a lobortis augue. Morbi ullamcorper erat vel nunc euismod, at condimentum turpis iaculis. Aliquam pretium blandit ultrices. Ut porttitor bibendum velit. Vivamus urna lorem, dapibus in odio nec, dapibus maximus risus. Vivamus eleifend vulputate egestas. Curabitur in diam eget lorem vehicula scelerisque. Mauris neque nibh, scelerisque ac malesuada at, feugiat a nisl. Etiam pulvinar nibh eget ullamcorper rutrum. Duis nec lobortis ex.[/fusion_text][fusion_social_links show_custom="no" /][/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

The best creative tools to use

Mon May 30 2016 05:25:30 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

[fusion_builder_container background_parallax="none" enable_mobile="no" parallax_speed="0.3" background_repeat="no-repeat" background_position="left top" video_aspect_ratio="16:9" video_mute="yes" video_loop="yes" fade="no" border_size="0px" padding_top="20" padding_bottom="20" hundred_percent="no" equal_height_columns="no" hide_on_mobile="no"][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type="1_1" layout="1_1" spacing="yes" center_content="no" hover_type="none" link="" min_height="" hide_on_mobile="no" class="" id="" background_color="" background_image="" background_position="left top" undefined="" background_repeat="no-repeat" border_size="0" border_color="" border_style="solid" border_position="all" padding="0px 10% 0px 10%" margin_top="" margin_bottom="" animation_type="" animation_direction="left" animation_speed="0.1" animation_offset="" last="no"][fusion_title margin_top="" margin_bottom="" hide_on_mobile="small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility" class="" id="" size="1" content_align="center" style_type="none" sep_color=""]

The best creative tools to use!

[/fusion_title][fusion_imageframe lightbox="no" style_type="none" hover_type="none" bordersize="0px" borderradius="0" align="center" linktarget="_self" animation_type="0" animation_direction="down" animation_speed="0.1" hide_on_mobile="no"] [/fusion_imageframe][fusion_separator style_type="none" hide_on_mobile="small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility" class="" id="" sep_color="" top_margin="20px" bottom_margin="" border_size="" icon="" icon_circle="" icon_circle_color="" width="" alignment="center" /][fusion_text]

Avada News   •   June 2, 2016

[/fusion_text][fusion_separator style_type="none" top_margin="50px" alignment="center" /][fusion_imageframe image_id="764" style_type="none" stylecolor="" hover_type="liftup" bordersize="0px" bordercolor="" borderradius="0" align="center" lightbox="yes" gallery_id="" lightbox_image="" alt="" link="" linktarget="_self" hide_on_mobile="no" class="" id="" animation_type="" animation_direction="down" animation_speed="0.1" animation_offset=""]http://ilabliberia.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/article7.jpg[/fusion_imageframe][fusion_separator style_type="none" top_margin="50px" alignment="center" /][fusion_text][fusion_dropcap color="" boxed="yes" boxed_radius="50%" class="" id=""]A[/fusion_dropcap]Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. In et scelerisque sem. Nunc molestie neque augue, at gravida mi blandit eget. Aenean eu augue id lacus eleifend interdum. Cras sit amet metus sit amet velit lacinia ullamcorper. Nam facilisis a orci quis tempus. Vivamus id odio justo. Curabitur ut euismod metus. Donec nec neque non ligula vestibulum blandit id sed eros. Vestibulum cursus in ligula lacinia lobortis. Morbi at velit at velit auctor efficitur ut ac justo. Phasellus porttitor, elit vitae scelerisque vestibulum, nunc libero bibendum massa, ut ultrices quam libero vel dolor. In sit amet ultricies dolor. Suspendisse maximus odio mollis massa tristique rhoncus.

Keep It Simple

Duis vel tellus a ante convallis pellentesque. Ut nec eros ullamcorper, dictum enim in, euismod est. Proin scelerisque convallis ipsum consequat aliquam. Praesent semper scelerisque accumsan. Integer vitae nulla suscipit, molestie tortor sed, eleifend tellus. Pellentesque a bibendum massa. Etiam auctor ligula nibh.[/fusion_text][fusion_separator style_type="none" top_margin="30px" alignment="center" /][fusion_checklist icon="" iconcolor="" circle="" circlecolor="" size="18px" hide_on_mobile="small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility" class="" id=""][fusion_li_item icon=""] Print Design Services [/fusion_li_item][fusion_li_item icon=""] Content Marketing [/fusion_li_item][fusion_li_item icon=""] PPC Advertising [/fusion_li_item][/fusion_checklist][fusion_separator style_type="none" top_margin="50px" alignment="center" /][fusion_text]Donec quam est, suscipit vel ligula ut, aliquet maximus libero. Pellentesque finibus tellus vitae dolor lacinia eleifend. Vivamus convallis nunc ante, ac placerat turpis imperdiet in. Aenean posuere tortor vitae mi mollis tempus.

Focus on The User

Suspendisse eu lectus tempus, feugiat enim in, lacinia augue. Cras scelerisque risus vel nulla dictum vehicula. Phasellus vel massa massa. Curabitur a turpis vitae ipsum tempor varius. Etiam iaculis purus vitae velit blandit posuere. Cras scelerisque volutpat bibendum. Donec a justo sapien. Phasellus condimentum volutpat ex eget consectetur. Mauris vulputate aliquet commodo. Aliquam dictum tristique risus vel cursus. Nulla sit amet nunc massa. Praesent sed est pellentesque, varius tellus non, efficitur nisi. Sed sit amet purus in odio varius tincidunt. Mauris ut ante lobortis, elementum orci efficitur, bibendum leo. Nulla fringilla porttitor congue. Nunc ac semper sapien, a lobortis augue. Morbi ullamcorper erat vel nunc euismod, at condimentum turpis iaculis. Aliquam pretium blandit ultrices. Ut porttitor bibendum velit. Vivamus urna lorem, dapibus in odio nec, dapibus maximus risus. Vivamus eleifend vulputate egestas. Curabitur in diam eget lorem vehicula scelerisque. Mauris neque nibh, scelerisque ac malesuada at, feugiat a nisl. Etiam pulvinar nibh eget ullamcorper rutrum. Duis nec lobortis ex.[/fusion_text][fusion_social_links show_custom="no" /][/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

Forming client relationships

Thu May 26 2016 05:26:04 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

[fusion_builder_container background_parallax="none" enable_mobile="no" parallax_speed="0.3" background_repeat="no-repeat" background_position="left top" video_aspect_ratio="16:9" video_mute="yes" video_loop="yes" fade="no" border_size="0px" padding_top="20" padding_bottom="20" hundred_percent="no" equal_height_columns="no" hide_on_mobile="no"][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type="1_1" layout="1_1" spacing="yes" center_content="no" hover_type="none" link="" min_height="" hide_on_mobile="no" class="" id="" background_color="" background_image="" background_position="left top" undefined="" background_repeat="no-repeat" border_size="0" border_color="" border_style="solid" border_position="all" padding="0px 10% 0px 10%" margin_top="" margin_bottom="" animation_type="" animation_direction="left" animation_speed="0.1" animation_offset="" last="no"][fusion_title margin_top="" margin_bottom="" hide_on_mobile="small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility" class="" id="" size="1" content_align="center" style_type="none" sep_color=""]

Forming client relationships

[/fusion_title][fusion_imageframe lightbox="no" style_type="none" hover_type="none" bordersize="0px" borderradius="0" align="center" linktarget="_self" animation_type="0" animation_direction="down" animation_speed="0.1" hide_on_mobile="no"] [/fusion_imageframe][fusion_separator style_type="none" hide_on_mobile="small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility" class="" id="" sep_color="" top_margin="20px" bottom_margin="" border_size="" icon="" icon_circle="" icon_circle_color="" width="" alignment="center" /][fusion_text]

Avada News   •   June 2, 2016

[/fusion_text][fusion_separator style_type="none" top_margin="50px" alignment="center" /][fusion_imageframe image_id="766" style_type="none" stylecolor="" hover_type="liftup" bordersize="0px" bordercolor="" borderradius="0" align="center" lightbox="yes" gallery_id="" lightbox_image="" alt="" link="" linktarget="_self" hide_on_mobile="no" class="" id="" animation_type="" animation_direction="down" animation_speed="0.1" animation_offset=""]http://ilabliberia.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/article9.jpg[/fusion_imageframe][fusion_separator style_type="none" top_margin="50px" alignment="center" /][fusion_text][fusion_dropcap color="" boxed="yes" boxed_radius="50%" class="" id=""]A[/fusion_dropcap]Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. In et scelerisque sem. Nunc molestie neque augue, at gravida mi blandit eget. Aenean eu augue id lacus eleifend interdum. Cras sit amet metus sit amet velit lacinia ullamcorper. Nam facilisis a orci quis tempus. Vivamus id odio justo. Curabitur ut euismod metus. Donec nec neque non ligula vestibulum blandit id sed eros. Vestibulum cursus in ligula lacinia lobortis. Morbi at velit at velit auctor efficitur ut ac justo. Phasellus porttitor, elit vitae scelerisque vestibulum, nunc libero bibendum massa, ut ultrices quam libero vel dolor. In sit amet ultricies dolor. Suspendisse maximus odio mollis massa tristique rhoncus.

Keep It Simple

Duis vel tellus a ante convallis pellentesque. Ut nec eros ullamcorper, dictum enim in, euismod est. Proin scelerisque convallis ipsum consequat aliquam. Praesent semper scelerisque accumsan. Integer vitae nulla suscipit, molestie tortor sed, eleifend tellus. Pellentesque a bibendum massa. Etiam auctor ligula nibh.[/fusion_text][fusion_separator style_type="none" top_margin="30px" alignment="center" /][fusion_checklist icon="" iconcolor="" circle="" circlecolor="" size="18px" hide_on_mobile="small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility" class="" id=""][fusion_li_item icon=""] Print Design Services [/fusion_li_item][fusion_li_item icon=""] Content Marketing [/fusion_li_item][fusion_li_item icon=""] PPC Advertising [/fusion_li_item][/fusion_checklist][fusion_separator style_type="none" top_margin="50px" alignment="center" /][fusion_text]Donec quam est, suscipit vel ligula ut, aliquet maximus libero. Pellentesque finibus tellus vitae dolor lacinia eleifend. Vivamus convallis nunc ante, ac placerat turpis imperdiet in. Aenean posuere tortor vitae mi mollis tempus.

Focus on The User

Suspendisse eu lectus tempus, feugiat enim in, lacinia augue. Cras scelerisque risus vel nulla dictum vehicula. Phasellus vel massa massa. Curabitur a turpis vitae ipsum tempor varius. Etiam iaculis purus vitae velit blandit posuere. Cras scelerisque volutpat bibendum. Donec a justo sapien. Phasellus condimentum volutpat ex eget consectetur. Mauris vulputate aliquet commodo. Aliquam dictum tristique risus vel cursus. Nulla sit amet nunc massa. Praesent sed est pellentesque, varius tellus non, efficitur nisi. Sed sit amet purus in odio varius tincidunt. Mauris ut ante lobortis, elementum orci efficitur, bibendum leo. Nulla fringilla porttitor congue. Nunc ac semper sapien, a lobortis augue. Morbi ullamcorper erat vel nunc euismod, at condimentum turpis iaculis. Aliquam pretium blandit ultrices. Ut porttitor bibendum velit. Vivamus urna lorem, dapibus in odio nec, dapibus maximus risus. Vivamus eleifend vulputate egestas. Curabitur in diam eget lorem vehicula scelerisque. Mauris neque nibh, scelerisque ac malesuada at, feugiat a nisl. Etiam pulvinar nibh eget ullamcorper rutrum. Duis nec lobortis ex.[/fusion_text][fusion_social_links show_custom="no" /][/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

Is the traditional office a thing of the past?

Thu Jul 07 2016 00:51:36 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

[fusion_builder_container background_parallax="none" enable_mobile="no" parallax_speed="0.3" background_repeat="no-repeat" background_position="left top" video_aspect_ratio="16:9" video_mute="yes" video_loop="yes" fade="no" border_size="0px" padding_top="20" padding_bottom="20" hundred_percent="no" equal_height_columns="no" hide_on_mobile="no"][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type="1_1" spacing="yes" center_content="no" hover_type="none" link="" min_height="" hide_on_mobile="no" class="" id="" background_color="" background_image="" background_position="left top" undefined="" background_repeat="no-repeat" border_size="0" border_color="" border_style="solid" border_position="all" padding="0px 10% 0px 10%" margin_top="" margin_bottom="" animation_type="" animation_direction="left" animation_speed="0.1" animation_offset="" last="no"][fusion_title hide_on_mobile="small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility" size="1" content_align="center" style_type="none"]

Is the traditional office a thing of the past?

[/fusion_title][fusion_imageframe lightbox="no" style_type="none" hover_type="none" bordersize="0px" borderradius="0" align="center" linktarget="_self" animation_type="0" animation_direction="down" animation_speed="0.1" hide_on_mobile="no"] [/fusion_imageframe][fusion_separator style_type="none" hide_on_mobile="small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility" class="" id="" sep_color="" top_margin="20px" bottom_margin="" border_size="" icon="" icon_circle="" icon_circle_color="" width="" alignment="center" /][fusion_text]

Avada News   •   June 2, 2016

[/fusion_text][fusion_separator style_type="none" top_margin="50px" alignment="center" /][fusion_imageframe image_id="" style_type="none" stylecolor="" hover_type="liftup" bordersize="0px" bordercolor="" borderradius="0" align="center" lightbox="yes" gallery_id="" lightbox_image="" alt="" link="" linktarget="_self" hide_on_mobile="no" class="" id="" animation_type="" animation_direction="down" animation_speed="0.1" animation_offset=""] [/fusion_imageframe][fusion_separator style_type="none" top_margin="50px" alignment="center" /][fusion_text][fusion_dropcap color="" boxed="yes" boxed_radius="50%" class="" id=""]A[/fusion_dropcap]Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. In et scelerisque sem. Nunc molestie neque augue, at gravida mi blandit eget. Aenean eu augue id lacus eleifend interdum. Cras sit amet metus sit amet velit lacinia ullamcorper. Nam facilisis a orci quis tempus. Vivamus id odio justo. Curabitur ut euismod metus. Donec nec neque non ligula vestibulum blandit id sed eros. Vestibulum cursus in ligula lacinia lobortis. Morbi at velit at velit auctor efficitur ut ac justo. Phasellus porttitor, elit vitae scelerisque vestibulum, nunc libero bibendum massa, ut ultrices quam libero vel dolor. In sit amet ultricies dolor. Suspendisse maximus odio mollis massa tristique rhoncus.

Keep It Simple

Duis vel tellus a ante convallis pellentesque. Ut nec eros ullamcorper, dictum enim in, euismod est. Proin scelerisque convallis ipsum consequat aliquam. Praesent semper scelerisque accumsan. Integer vitae nulla suscipit, molestie tortor sed, eleifend tellus. Pellentesque a bibendum massa.[/fusion_text][fusion_separator style_type="none" top_margin="30px" alignment="center" /][fusion_checklist icon="" iconcolor="" circle="" circlecolor="" size="18px" hide_on_mobile="small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility" class="" id=""][fusion_li_item icon=""] Print Design Services [/fusion_li_item][fusion_li_item icon=""] Content Marketing [/fusion_li_item][fusion_li_item icon=""] PPC Advertising [/fusion_li_item][/fusion_checklist][fusion_separator style_type="none" top_margin="50px" alignment="center" /][fusion_text]Donec quam est, suscipit vel ligula ut, aliquet maximus libero. Pellentesque finibus tellus vitae dolor lacinia eleifend. Vivamus convallis nunc ante, ac placerat turpis imperdiet in. Aenean posuere tortor vitae mi mollis tempus.

Focus on The User

Suspendisse eu lectus tempus, feugiat enim in, lacinia augue. Cras scelerisque risus vel nulla dictum vehicula. Phasellus vel massa massa. Curabitur a turpis vitae ipsum tempor varius. Etiam iaculis purus vitae velit blandit posuere. Cras scelerisque volutpat bibendum. Donec a justo sapien. Phasellus condimentum volutpat ex eget consectetur. Mauris vulputate aliquet commodo. Aliquam dictum tristique risus vel cursus. Nulla sit amet nunc massa. Praesent sed est pellentesque, varius tellus non, efficitur nisi. Sed sit amet purus in odio varius tincidunt. Mauris ut ante lobortis, elementum orci efficitur, bibendum leo. Nulla fringilla porttitor congue. Nunc ac semper sapien, a lobortis augue. Morbi ullamcorper erat vel nunc euismod, at condimentum turpis iaculis. Aliquam pretium blandit ultrices. Ut porttitor bibendum velit. Vivamus urna lorem, dapibus in odio nec, dapibus maximus risus. Vivamus eleifend vulputate egestas. Curabitur in diam eget lorem vehicula scelerisque. Mauris neque nibh, scelerisque ac malesuada at, feugiat a nisl. Etiam pulvinar nibh eget ullamcorper rutrum. Duis nec lobortis ex.[/fusion_text][/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

Liberia IT Revolution Project

Wed Jan 28 2015 17:44:24 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

   The Liberia IT Revolution Project is a two-year initiative to boost the IT ecosystem in Liberia, particularly by nurturing and motivating start-ups to identify creative solutions in mobile and internet technologies, software and web development and link them to market opportunities. The project strengthens the Liberian IT sector, creates a vibrant entrepreneurial culture amongst IT businesses and entrepreneurs, increases the growth potential for businesses.

The project contributes to economic development and (youth) employment in Liberia by

  • Supporting existing small businesses to grow and generate new jobs ,and

  • Introducing the IT sector as an opportunity for entrepreneurship development in Liberia.

The project targets existing IT businesses, university graduates and senior graduates, with a passion for entrepreneurship in technology. We are looking for participants that have the ambition and skills to energize the Liberian IT scene - businesses, non-profits and government. You are welcome to the inspiring events, trainings and other activities in areas such as:

  • Entrepreneurship development (IT Awareness Workshops, Business Skills Trainings, Entrepreneurship Stimulation Workshops)

  • Business development (Business Skills Trainings, Business Plan Competition, Pitching Sessions, Matchmaking Events, Access to Finance, Advisory Board Services)

  • Technology skills (Mobile & Web Technology Trainings, Product Development Trainings,  Innovation Workshops)

As Liberia continues to the road of recovery for economic stability, infrastructure, reforms and education, IT plays a pivotal role in transforming the culture towards a connected and innovative society - the IT services sector is vital across nearly all sectors of business.Watch out for more info on social media, internet, radio and newspapers! Sign up now to receive regular newsletters and invitations to activities! Sign up at http://bit.do/LiberiaIT-register and join the Liberian IT Revolution Community today!!The project is brought to you by iLab Liberia, Business Start-up Center (BSC) Monrovia and SPARK, and is supported by Swedish International Development Aid (SIDA) and Mercy Corps.

Liberia IT Revolution Project Manager

Tue Jan 20 2015 19:12:05 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

Terms of Reference: LITR Project Manager Commitment: 46-hours/week; 6 months with possibility for extension Location: Monrovia, Liberia Compensation: salary commensurate with experience Reports to: iLab’s Managing Director iLab Liberia is a non-governmental organization dedicated to providing a collaborative and open learning environment as well as free trainings in information and communication technologies (ICTs). iLab’s mission is to assist IT enthusiasts and professionals as well as organizations and institutions in their efforts to more readily share information using ICTs. iLab staff offer trainings in open source tools and systems because they promote interactive communities and shared ownership. iLab works closely with open government initiatives to promote transparency and the freedom of information in Liberia; the lab also serves as an incubator for IT entrepreneurs striving to start tech businesses. Since the Ebola outbreak, iLab has been providing technical assistance to a range of Ebola response actors, including: the government’s emergency call center and dispatch unit; contact tracers; case investigation teams and burial teams. In the fight against Ebola, iLab’s partners include the International Rescue Committee, Mercy Corps, SIDA and GiZ among others. JOB PURPOSE In addition to free ICT trainings, engagement in the Ebola response, and continuing to build an interactive community around open source technologies, iLab is part of the three-year Liberia IT Revolution (LITR) Project. In collaboration with SPARK and BSC, the LITR project strengthens Liberia’s ICT ecosystem by identifying innovative business proposals, assessing their market potential, and incubating IT startups that harness mobile technologies with the potential to contribute to economic development and provide new employment opportunities in Liberia. The LITR Project Manager will be responsible for coordinating with the project partners (SPARK and BSC) to ensure that all deliverables are being met at each stage of the project’s life cycle. ESSENTIAL JOB FUNCTIONS In close collaboration with the Director of Training and the Managing Director, the Project Manager will supervise each phase of the project, beginning by hosting awareness workshops for potential candidates, identifying strong entrepreneurial candidates to be interviewed, and designing then delivering trainings for selected participants that range from technical skills-building to branding & market research for new businesses. The Project Manager will also liaise with partners to ensure monitoring and evaluation practices are capturing the project’s outputs and outcomes towards its final goal. Engage in report writing as needed, to document project successes and challenges. SUCCESS FACTORS The successful Project Manager will be a skillful teacher and collaborative leader who is passionate about supporting aspiring entrepreneurs in Liberia. This Project Manager is organized and thoughtful in planning each stage of the project in partnership with BSC and SPARK; the Manager is pro-active when engaging with partners, participants, and other stakeholders. The Manager has the demonstrated ability to see a project from its start through to completion, with an ability to deliver on activities and objectives that steadily lead towards the project’s goal. In reviewing applicants we will be seeking a demonstrated record of assuming management responsibility and coordinating a range of actors to reach a common goal. Successful iLab team members are committed to teamwork and accountability, thrive in a dynamic and evolving workplace (much like a start-up), and prioritize clear written and verbal communication. KNOWLEDGE AND EXPERIENCE:

• Bachelor’s degree or equivalent in relevant field such as management, social science, computer science • 1-3 years demonstrated success coordinating or managing development projects • Experience implementing long-term projects, and in partnership with other NGOs • High level of initiative to innovate and lead • Excellent written, verbal communication and organization skills • Generosity of spirit, sensitivity/diplomacy, and willingness to be a team player • Commitment to empowering aspiring technologists and business owners • Strong logistical management skills; • Flexibility and ability to handle multiple tasks at one time in time-sensitive manner; • Comfort working with a casual but high-performing team • High degree of English fluency required

Application deadline: January 30, 2015 (qualified candidates interviewed on rolling basis) Soft-copy applications should be sent to: hiring@ilabliberia.org, For hard copies: Carter Draper, Acting Country Director iLab Liberia 16th Street, Seaview Compound, Suite 5 Sinkor, Monrovia

New World Of ICT

Tue Nov 04 2014 20:42:37 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

ILabliberia has brought a new face into the ICT world of Our beloved country Liberia.   Many young people are getting into this new world of ICT. It has made Liberian Youth to smile and learn New things. The clear understanding of the world wide web and it's environment

Thank you iLab 2013-2014 - best wishes!

Sun Dec 21 2014 23:43:57 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

Dear friends of iLab, So...as some of you know, I have the unfortunate piece of news that I'll be leaving Liberia and iLab Liberia. It is certainly fun to say goodbye for me, I've loved the time here so much! Before the Ebola crisis, during the crisis...getting to work with and meet such amazing people! At the same time, we’ve recently learned that Training Director Luther Jeke was accepted to a study program in the US to study non-profit management – and will be departing as well before Christmas. Luther has been such an instrumental part of the iLab team…and will be dearly missed. This leaves us very sad. Amazing times in the roller coaster rides of 2013-2014…BUT, let us also be excited about the future. Wonderful things have been planned and negotiated for iLab for 2015 and 2016 – there will be amazing things going on. In 2015, we'll
  • eradicate Ebola (right!?),
  • work on ICT entrepreneurship,
  • work on tech for transparency, 
  • get the normal activities rolling again in some way,
  • have a great time learning and using new mobile and web technologies!
We are really excited about the future of iLab - awesome new people will be joining the team and look forward to seeing great things unfold. For myself, I need to prioritize some family and personal issues now. I hope to see you all soon, in some way. For sure, we will stay in touch. Gonna miss you - LIB. Best regards, Teemu  

iLab Helping to Fight Ebola

Fri Sep 26 2014 21:02:10 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

Several times over the last month, we've wanted to share what iLab has been doing in the fight against Ebola, but as soon as we sit down to write something else comes up and we're again in motion. Just like our colleagues on the ground who are working to improve worsening conditions, we're short on time because there's a lot going on - here's a snapshot of what iLab and our partners are doing to help where our skills and expertise are needed:   Tech for the Emergency Dispatch Unit: The Liberian government has established an Emergency Dispatch Unit (EDU) in Monrovia's JFK hospital, conveniently located just next door to iLab. The EDU receives citizen's calls (forwarded from a government-run Call Center), records the cases and then dispatches the appropriate team - burial team, contact tracing team, etc - to that location. With only three staff at the EDU and a lack of hardware or internet connection, iLab stepped in and provided computers, reliable internet, and five iLab volunteers who digitize the paper case forms and then map them on an Ushahidi instance for Ebola response stakeholders. Everyone from the CDC, WHO, the Liberian Ministry of Health and the Ebola National Taskforce use the password-protected Ushahidi instance to plan their operations.   Mapping the outbreak: Thus far, these volunteers and iLab staff have digitally archived 2,900+ cases (suspected and confirmed cases as well as deaths across the country) and mapped more than 2,500. iLab has also mapped all of Liberia's health facilities and plans to update this listing with details such as which facilities are treating Ebola patients, how many are closed, supply stock-outs and other critical information.   Contact tracing and more: iLab will soon be working with IRC and others on contact tracing - the process of identifying who has been exposed to Ebola and monitoring their health for the 21-day incubation period. iLab will be integrating technologies that make the data collection, processing and analysis of contact tracing more efficient and the information easy to share between the field and relevant Ebola stakeholders. iLab will also provide database management support to the burial teams who are currently unable to manage the task of safe and sanitary disposal as well as enumerating how many bodies are being buried in which locations. There's a lot that iLab could be doing - more than we can actually take on with our mighty but small team and volunteers. We are eager to meet urgent needs and trying to ensure we don't duplicate the efforts of others, while looking for additional funding to address what we now know will be long-standing challenges in this fight against Ebola. As we proceed with a strong desire to help and the restraint we feel is necessary to take on what we can manage, we want to thank the wider iLab community that has offered their support freely and happily in such trying times. It is only together and with determination that we can make a difference in this unprecedented epidemic.   We will be providing more updates as new partnerships and projects get underway.

Message to friends of the iLab on the Ebola situation - we're limiting public events - let's fight this disease!

Fri Aug 01 2014 23:51:25 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

Dear friends of the iLab,

I am sure we are all aware of the emergency situation getting more and more serious -  and are all gravely concerned. Please read through this message.

iLab limiting its activities

For the safety of iLab staff and iLab users (and in reference to the government's regulations on public gatherings), we are sorry to inform you that all our public events are cancelled or postponed until further notice. Your health is more important!

We are currently still operating, but taking a number of precautions to ensure the safety of everyone. We continually seek the advice of various Liberian and international authorities and act accordingly.

What you can do to help in your community

  • ACT POSITIVELY!
  • STAY SAFE – wash your hands, do not touch sick or dead people
  • DON'T PANIC – act with concern and safety, do not spread information that you do not know for sure
  • LISTEN TO THE RADIO - constantly
  • GET THE ESSENTIAL NUMBERS ON PAPER! – hotlines, health facilities, police, family, etc
  • RESPECT – health workers, those who are sick, authorities – and your fellow human beings!
      SPREAD YOUR POSITIVE ATTITUDE TO OTHERS!

Numbers to calls for help or questions relating to Ebola

Ministry of Health and Social Welfare: 1333 (LoneStar) or 4455 (Cellcom)

UNICEF: 0886-520581 or 0886-374733

Radio Stations

  • UNMIL Radio - 91.5 FM
  • Liberia Broadcasting System (LBS) - 99.9 FM
  • Voice FM - 102.7 FM

We will be posting announcements, sending SMS’s to our user base and doing other things. DON'T BE FOOLED BY FALSE INFORMATION AND RUMORS!

STAY SAFE!   The iLab staff

Girls in ICT- A Program Funded by WeTech Seed Fund Grant

Tue Jul 22 2014 23:37:59 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

Last year we had a program on Girls in ICT, a Google RISE program, for girls in high school or those who have recently left high school.  

This year, there's another opportunity for women & girls everywhere to become creators - and not just consumers - of tomorrow’s innovations. It is vital to expand access to Computer Science Education through programs that inspire, engage, and retain top talent.   iLab is one of the African institutions being funded through WeTech Seed Fund for Women & Girls in Africa. The courses to be offered are:
  • Introductory ICT for small business
  • Website creation course, using open source tools
  • Introduction to Python Programming – already started
  • Intermediate Python Programming
The program will run from July to September.

3 Interns at the iLab for the month of July

Fri Jul 11 2014 00:33:26 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

With the yearn to get a sense as to what it feels like to work in a professional environment, and to learn from the staff of iLab and their users in order to help develop their initiatives; these three young fellows applied for a one month internship at iLab.     Daniel Welsh Intern at iLab daniel@ilabliberia.org @danwelsh Daniel is an intern from Canada for the month of July 2014. He will be working under mentorship of all members of iLab trying to spread his foundation on IT and business skills while working in a professional environment. He is very excited to be here and plans on working on website development, building a iLab user database, and filming a new updated video about iLab’s story in Liberia. He is looking forward to his time here and plans to bring back many of the skills he learns back with him to Canada.     Julateh Mulbah julateh@ilabliberia.org @julatehM www.linkedin.com/in/julatehmulbah Julateh Mulbah is a third year Liberian student studying computer science at the Ashesi university college in Ghana. She's passionate about technology, leadership and innovative things. iLab been the answer to such passion. She is very glad to be an intern at iLab Liberia this summer because it seems more like giving back to the society. She's a student of the MasterCard Foundation and she sees her stay at iLab Liberia as an opportunity to support the goal of the foundation which is giving back to the society in a positive way.     Alvin Kotee alvin@ilabliberia.org alvinkotee2@gmail.com Alvin is a Liberian and Junior student at Starz College of Information Technology. He is passionate about impacting IT knowledge on young people. He is currently on internship at iLabLiberia. He is very happy to have this great working experience with iLab Liberia. Alvin previously worked with Port Trucker Association of Liberia (P.T.A ) as a chief conductor and National Custom Broker Association of Liberia (N.C.B.A.L) as broker Agent and other several entities . He love gospel Music and going on the beach.   We hope to help them achieve their goals in this one month internship.

Summer teaching blog 2 - Michael Madaio

Thu Jul 17 2014 23:15:06 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

It’s hard to believe that it’s already July, and the first month of trainings is completed!
In that time, our Beginner’s Approach to Computer Programming (Python) course and our Digital Video Production course both came to an end. We held a course showcase last Friday night (June 27th) for both of those courses, to award the completion certificates to the students, and to show off all of the great work they did to members of the community.


 
We had several students from the Python Programming course show off their completed songs they wrote with the EarSketch software. It was really cool to see my students presenting their work to an audience and explaining the programming concepts that went into the music they wrote. Plus, all of their music was great, and the audience was almost out of their seats dancing!
 

We also had many students in our Digital Video Production course show off their final videos, which were small local news packages, reporting on issues that they felt were important to them in Monrovia. Citizen journalism is a powerful tool for empowering local citizens to speak out and raise awareness for issues that individuals feel are urgent and important, not just issues that get covered by the radio or television news programs or newspapers. Our students, having gone through the course, are now able to film, edit, and write scripts reporting on issues of importance to them. We want to recognize and thank the Accountability Lab for attending and offering some great feedback, and we encourage people to check out the film festival they will be having, and the film courses for social accountability that they offer as well.


 
Stay tuned, and we will be posting our students’ songs and news videos on our iLab Liberia site, so keep an eye out for those!


 
In addition to our course showcase, I gave a guest lecture last week on Coding as a Creative Practice, in which I talked about the ways to develop effective problem-solving techniques for programming through learning to code creatively. There are many different platforms for using code to participate in creative practices, some of which we are using here at the iLab, such as using music to learn to program Python, as in EarSketch, and using graphic visualization to learn the Java programming language, as in Processing, a class we are offering in July, beginning this week. The turnout was incredible, with more than 50 people packed in tight, on a rainy night, too! Thanks so much to everyone who came out, and I hope to see you all at the next Lecture night, on Wednesday, July 16th.


 


 
Looking ahead, we are in the middle of a Physical Computing course, which uses the Arduino microprocessor to teach about hardware circuits and the software programs that control them. So far, we’ve learned how to control the voltage across the circuit using buttons, potentiometers (or, small dials), and light sensors, and displayed that in the form of LED’s turning on or off, or brighter or darker. Next week, in our final week of that course, the students will be making projects to solve problems they have in their home, or to make things easier or comfortable for them. The end result isn’t the goal, but the process of conceptualizing how to solve a particular problem using hardware and software input and output controls is important, and will translate to other forms of repair, hacking, and problem-solving.


 
If you’re interested, join us on Wednesday, July 16th, for a lecture I’m giving on Hacking, Tinkering, and the Maker Movement, which will be followed by demonstrations and explanations of the students’ projects. Hope you can join us! See the Events page for more information.


 
Finally, the last 2 courses that I’m teaching here have begun: an Intermediate Programming class, using the Processing software to teach the Java language, which should be a lot of fun, and a Beginner Programming for Women course, using EarSketch to write music, using the Python programming language. I’m excited to work with the students, and we will be having a final course showcase to show off both of their work on Friday, July 25th. Feel free to follow along on the individual course pages, under the Resource tab of the iLab site, though it’s of course not a complete substitute for being in the course.


 
That’s it for now! Thanks for reading!


 
Michael Madaio
Georgia Institute of Technology
@mmadaio

Mobile Data collection: The Liberian experience

Tue Jul 01 2014 03:03:22 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

Mobile data collection is a new way of conducting enumerations, surveys, etc using mobile devices with various mobile technologies.

 These technologies come with a lot of advantages from easy collection, analysis, collaboration to disseminating data in real time onward to finding a unique way to curate and organize data directly from the field, helping to reduce the time it takes to complete survey by improving data integrity and accuracy. There are a lot of mobile data collection tools, proprietary and open source alike in used nowadays, each with it’s unique functionality; from mapping, curating, analyzing, collaborating data, to real time collection.
IMG_0071.jpeg

The System

Our implementation methodology uses formhub instead of ODK Aggregate which wasn’t conducive for our reporting structure. We chose to use formhub as server and Open Data Kit Collect  Android app to render and handle the forms on the mobile devices.

The forms were designed in xls format and uploaded to the formhub server, from where it can be access via both web interface and mobile devices that are configured to access the server.

The Workings

Mobile Data Collectors(Community Advocates) were trained to use the mobile phones to collect data from the field. The collected data can be edited, saved offline on the device and later submitted when the device is connected to the internet either via Mobile Data Packages; (GPRS, Edge,3G or 4G) or WiFi connection. This data can now be further manipulated on the formhub server where the data can be viewed on a map or tabulated. Data can also be downloaded from the server and imported into any data manipulation software for further processing.

Device choice       

Selecting which mobile device to use was an issue, we had to take into consideration several concerns:

  • The screen size(since it’s a touch screen device),

  • The battery life (since it will be used in the rural area where electricity is an issue)

  • The body of the device (the device will be expose to rain, dust, mud and sand)

  • All the phones should be of the same brand and specifications

  • The Operating system that best works with the system, among other things.

 From our survey on the Liberian market, we could not find a phone that fitted the description, and the few that did, were far fewer than the number of phones needed.

Searching online, we came across the  Samsung Galaxy Xcover 2. Immediately, we knew this was what we were seeking. However, the price became an issue, but after discussions and presentations, our client agreed to go with the Xcover.

We then had the phones configured by installing the ODK Collect app with all necessary configurations.

 Mobile Network Connectivity

These devices needed to have internet connection at certain time of the project to submit the collected data. This was a huge challenge for us, we needed to study and understand the coverage and services provided by telcos operating there (the project coverage areas/zones).

 To make a choice between Cellcom GSM & Lonestarcell MTN as to which network to use, we had to visit couple of places (in the project zones) to test connectivity - both voice & Mobile Data alike. Our first test was conducted in Nyen town, Todee District in Montserrado County, there, Cellcom signal was on and off (that is, you get signal at certain part of the town and no signal in other parts). This research was shared with Cellcom, at least verbally.  On the other hand, Lonestarcell MTN has a tower right in the town providing it’s cell coverage to the rest of the nearby towns in the district.

We then moved to Blohn town, in Saclepea district, Nimba County to test connectivity as well as meeting with the community advocates. There, Cellcom was much better as compare to  Lonestarcell in voice, but Mobile Data was really poor. Then came Flumpa, a nearest town to Blohn, there, Lonestar connectivity was quite okay, we were able to collect sample data, recharge credits to the phones, activate mobile data and submit data using Lonestar network.

At this point, we concluded using the MTN network. Finally we procure all SIM cards for all the remaining phones.

Training

The community advocates we are working with have been working on health, education and other enumeration exercises in their respective towns and districts for a while now, but had not done work using mobile phones and so it was a new approach but entertaining system to them.

Because of their past experiences, it wasn’t difficult to get them using the phones, with just little issues like using the fingers gesture to move about the screen. After three days of training, they were all able to effectively handled the devices.

Other instances

Mobile data collection is a new method reaching the shores of Liberia, with very minimum institutions using different MDC systems as far as we are concern:

  • Norwegian Refugees Council -  Using Fulcrum to collect incidents of land disputes on ipod Touch.

  • Ministry of Health and Social Welfare - Using the Nokia Data Gathering to collect and conduct birth registration using Nokia Symbian E6 phones.

  • The Winrock ARCH project - using Formhub & ODK Collect to data on children working in rubber plantations in Liberia

  • Naymote - Using Formhub & ODK Collect the data on what the citizens understand about legislative processes.

iLab Liberia is engaged with these institution in their respective projects.

Our Involvement

Being a technology hub, we’ve been providing technical support to NGOs, INGOs, central government and a lot of other institutions in a direction of their projects surrounding data collection, citizen participation and information dissemination. We currently have two MDC projects ongoing with others in the pipeline to harness information gathering and sharing..

Apart from using Mobile Data Collection platforms exclusively, over the past four years, we’ve been and are deeply engaged with using mobile (low tech) for information sharing and data collection allowing for community dwellers to report issues of crime, rape, police actions, land disputes, cross-border incidents, to even issues surrounding ongoing road construction.

We look forward to working with more and more institution to project information availability and curation.

By Carter Draper

The First Francophone experience; ICT for Good Governance Forum in Dakar

Sat Jun 28 2014 20:15:56 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

Innovative mobile service for gathering reports from citizens about road conditions in Liberia launched by Ministry of Public Works

Tue Jul 01 2014 02:58:52 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

Tell people more about the services you offer. Use this repeating layout to display content. It's an easy way to keep your customers up to date with what's happening. Want to make this content your own? Simple drag and drop elements like text, images and links, or connect to data from your collection. Tell people more about the services you offer. Use this repeating layout to display content. It's an easy way to keep your customers up to date with what's happening. Want to make this content your own? Simply drag and drop elements.

 

Tell people more about the services you offer. Use this repeating layout to display content. It's an easy way to keep your customers up to date with what's happening. Want to make this content your own? Simple drag and drop elements like text, images and links, or connect to data from your collection. Tell people more about the services you offer. Use this repeating layout to display content. It's an easy way to keep your customers up to date with what's happening. Want to make this content your own? Simply drag and drop elements.

2014 Summer Teaching Blog #1 - Michael Madaio

Tue Jun 10 2014 23:47:51 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

Tell people more about the services you offer. Use this repeating layout to display content. It's an easy way to keep your customers up to date with what's happening. Want to make this content your own? Simple drag and drop elements like text, images and links, or connect to data from your collection. Tell people more about the services you offer. Use this repeating layout to display content. It's an easy way to keep your customers up to date with what's happening. Want to make this content your own? Simply drag and drop elements.

 

Tell people more about the services you offer. Use this repeating layout to display content. It's an easy way to keep your customers up to date with what's happening. Want to make this content your own? Simple drag and drop elements like text, images and links, or connect to data from your collection. Tell people more about the services you offer. Use this repeating layout to display content. It's an easy way to keep your customers up to date with what's happening. Want to make this content your own? Simply drag and drop elements.

iLab Support Girls in ICT day and the Launch of the Adolescent Girls Resource Center in Liberia.

Sat Apr 26 2014 00:04:03 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

"The most important determinant of a country’s competitiveness is its human capital and talent –- the skills, education and productivity of its workforce. Women account for one-half of the potential talent base of the world.” - A study conducted by the ITU (International Telecommunication Union). In celebration of the Girls in ICT day, the Adolescent Girls Unit (AGU) of the MInistry of Gender and Development (MoGD) organized an event for adolescent girls in Liberia. The event consisted of presentations, focal group discussions and the official launching ceremony of the Girls Resource Center at the  MoGD.
 iLab's Country Director - Teemu Ropponen gave an inspirational speech and also talked about iLab Girls in ICT program, importance of female being involved with ICT related careers and significance of the day. The girls were encouraged to take part in one or more of the girl's courses offered at iLab.
     
World Bank representative from Washington DC lauded the Min. for their efforts toward the subject and officially launched the Adolescent Girls Resource Center which is situated in the Ministry and is open to all Liberian girls to learn computer, doing school work and research. The resource center consists of five computers, a printer and internet connectivity and other reading materials. The project is funded by the World Bank.
Although many women are working in the lower level of the ICT workforce, they account for very few of the strategic and executive positions. We at iLab encourage girls and young women to prepare themselves for a career in ICT and inform parents, teachers and other stakeholders on why preparing for a career in ICTs is good for women and girls, good for business and good for societies.

Helping Liberians to make sense of data; iLab's first Introduction to data visualization course

Fri Apr 25 2014 22:29:01 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

 

It's the age of Big Data. But what, exactly, do we do with all this information? Do you work with surveys, demographic information, evaluation data, test scores or observation data? What questions are you looking to answer, and what story are you trying to tell with your data?

The world is filled with lots of information; learning to make sense of it all helps us to gain perspective and make decisions. Making Sense of Data is intended for anybody who works with data on a daily basis, such as students, teachers, journalists, and small business owners, and who wants to learn more about how to apply that information to practical problems. Come take part in the course starting on the 23rd of April. Knowledge of statistics or experience with programming is not required.

An Excerpt from iLab's March 2014 Visiting Expert - Jukka Heinonen

Thu Apr 03 2014 21:22:00 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

Scrum is a management framework that follows agile software development principles. When the iLab’s Country Director, Teemu Ropponen, suggested me that I should visit iLab to share some of the software development knowledge accumulated over the years, I didn’t need much time to consider. It sounded so exciting that I couldn't resist.

After the initial excitement, I started to think about what would be the most valuable lessons I could share. I really didn’t know much about Liberia and my trip would be my first real visit in the continent of Africa. As I am a software development professional, teaching some programming language seemed the obvious choice. But even though I started as a software developer, my coding skills have become a bit rusty as I have had more managerial roles recently. On the other hand, I’ve learned that even though the coding skills of individuals are at the very core of software development, the efforts are wasted or not effective if the what should be done and how it is done questions are not addressed. As the ‘just start coding, ask later’ approach is a common pitfall everywhere I know, probably the same applies in Liberia, I figured, and that formed the core for my lectures.

  Based on my background, I took three views to the what and how:
  1. Software project management.
  2. The next one extended the topic by introducing Agile Software development and the Scrum methodology.
  3. The third course was about Mobile Software development and especially on what to consider before writing the first line of code.
  Even though software development has some special characteristics, the basics of project management still apply. There are so many things to manage and control. In order to succeed, you need to plan before doing, coordinate the efforts of multiple people, communicate a lot to achieve shared understanding, imagine what could go wrong and figure out what the client expects and really needs. There is always more work to do than you have time available so you need to prioritize all work items. And it is not just such high level issues. You may also need to figure out how to fix the air conditioning, how to substitute the key developer that has fallen ill or figure out why two team members are no longer in speaking terms. Even though the project management basics may sound boring, in reality the software development projects are usually quite the opposite.            Agile development assumes that it is difficult or even impossible to fully define the features of a software product before doing any implementation work. It is hard to know beforehand what exactly is needed from a software product, which features are more important than the others and how they should be best implemented to fulfill the needs. Agility addresses this by focusing on individuals and their interactions, collaboration, getting feedback based on working software and accepting changes throughout the project. Both the resulting product and way of working are improved gradually based on what has been built and learned so far.     Mobile applications and services have a huge potential. Mobile devices are more affordable than computers, they go with people and they have many features that allow a wide range of uses. Mobile applications can fulfill many needs and solve everyday problems. However, the mobile landscape is fragmented in many ways. There are a lot of different manufacturers, operating systems, screen sizes, features and mobile operators out there. Even though the screen sizes have increased and touching is quite natural way for us to interact with devices, the user interface is quite limited. These are one of many reasons why mobile application development is challenging. Before implementing any mobile application, the use case, target group and features must be considered carefully.                    As my visit was quite short, having three courses was quite a crunch. As there were a lot of big topics to cover in a handful of lessons, the lessons were more theory than practice. I was extremely happy that in all classes we had a lot of discussion on the presented topics. Discussion deepens the matters and makes things relevant to the students’ environment. I want to thank all students for their enthusiasm and active participation.   You really need to apply the taught matters yourself before they really become adopted skills. Thus, some kind of follow-up to these introductory courses would be beneficial. The follow-up could be a software product development course where a small development project is done as a team over a longer period of time. Or the follow-up could be that a group of people interested in one topic start meeting after the course to further share experiences discuss new topics and possibly working on joint projects.

 

There are so many ways in which information technology could be used in Liberia, not only to make things more efficient, but also to really improve people’s lives.  Liberians are best positioned to understand the needs in Liberia and determined to overcome the challenges. I think that iLab is doing a very important work in Liberia to teach IT skills, provide access to the wealth of information on the Internet, and to work as a hub for people interested in utilizing IT in Liberia. It will take time to build the infrastructure and to learn all the needed skills. That’s why iLab’s work is so important right now.                 I want to thank you the iLab staff for so warmly welcoming me and for their support during my visit. Everything was well-organized and I could focus on my courses. I had a wonderful, fun, unforgettable  month in iLab and in Liberia. I really recommend iLab for anyone considering sharing their IT knowledge. To learn more about me, check out my linkedin profile: fi.linkedin.com/in/heinonenjukka/

IT project management and web/mobile development trainings at iLab in March!

Thu Mar 13 2014 16:42:43 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

iLab has a very special program coming up in March – targeting especially web/mobile/software developers and entrepreneurs. We have  a visiting expert, Jukka Heinonen, from Finland visiting iLab from Feb 27 to March 25. The detailed times for trainings are being worked out,  training descriptions below.

Introduction to Software Project Management  - March 5th-11th, 1:30PM - 3:30PM “Work smart on the right things at the right time - as a team.” This training provides a high-level understanding on different aspects of software projects. Intended to give ideas on what to take into account when planning to implement a piece of software, bigger or smaller. This training is meant for IT entrepreneurs, software or web developers, project managers and others who manage or implement projects.

Agile software development using Scrum - March 10th- 14th , 4:00PM - 6:00PM “Avoid the pitfalls of software projects that go nowhere - harness the power of Agile development and learn to use Scrum” This training introduces participants to agile software development and the Scrum project management methodology. An overview training describes how successful software development is managed with Scrum. After this training the audience should understand the principles Scrum to start experimenting and learning more. Participants should have some experience in (software development) projects, as developers, testers, project managers or customers. Preferably the have participated in the Introduction to Software Project management training. Scrum test run- March 19th- 21st, 1:30PM- 3:30PM Length from two to four sessions. Try out the Scrum method for real - and get expert assistance to help you out. This intensive training helps you practice the Scrum methodology taught in the training “Agile development with Scrum“ - so you can manage software or website development projects effectively. Meant for participants of the “Agile development with Scrum” - training. Introduction to Mobile software development – March 17th- 21st, 4:30PM- 6:30PM The opportunity for mobile technologies in Liberia is huge - so how to get started? This training is intended to give an introduction the mobile software development landscape - different operating systems, what is required to build and run software on them. What can be done with mobile technologies and what technology to use? What is a good mobile application or mobile service idea - and how can it be refined? This is not a programming course. Instead, this is intended to be a starter package for developers, entrepreneurs and business owners considering mobile applications. Provides a great opportunity for networking with mobile tech enthusiasts!

About Jukka Heinonen

Mr. Jukka Heinonen, M.Sc. Technology, is a  Finnish software development professional with over 15 years of experience in software development, from startups to international  IT  corporations. He has been in teams developing software ranging from small bleeding edge proof-of-concept mobile applications to globally used software and systems. Tens of thousands of people have used software in which Jukka has been involved. His specialties include software project management, agile development methodologies, Scrum and mobile applications and systems.

Get in touch with us now – and help spread the word!

The iLab team!

iLab supports local & international organisations to celebrate 2014 International Women's Day

Fri Mar 14 2014 20:26:18 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

International Women's Day TED Show As part of activities marking International Women's Day (8th March), iLab partnered with  the Ministry of Gender and Development and the United Nations Mission In Liberia to host the International Women's Day TED show for girls. A special TED talk featuring prominent women; Michelle Obama (America's First Lady) and Leymah Gbowee (Nobel prize winner). TED is a platform for ideas worth spreading. Started in 1984 as a conference where technology, entertainment and design converged, TED today shares ideas from a broad spectrum — from science to business to global issues — in more than 100 languages. Meanwhile, independent TEDx events help share ideas in communities around the world. To learn more about TED, visit their website. We had presence of The Assistant Minister, Ministry of Gender and development; Hon Magdalene Dagoseh who gave the opening remarks of the event and encouraged the student to take control of their futures by acquiring education. [caption id="attachment_2702" align="aligncenter" width="400"] Hon Magdalene Dagoseh giving an opening remark[/caption]   Both TED talks discussions were moderated by two prominent Liberian females. TED talk 1. Michelle Obama "Please for education was moderated by Barkue Tubman while TED talk 2. Leyman Gbowee " Unlocking the intelligence, passion and greatness of girls. The discussions included, questions and answers and comments from both the students, moderators and officials in attendance.   [caption id="attachment_2778" align="aligncenter" width="400"] Barkue Tubman moderating the dialogue.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2705" align="aligncenter" width="400"] Munah Youngblood Moderating the dialogue[/caption] [caption id="attachment_2707" align="aligncenter" width="400"] The students with the prominent women[/caption]   Nobel Peace Prize Forum Google+ hangout connected classrooms Uniting Distant Stars (UDS) and iLab Liberia co-hosted The Google+ hangout connected classroom.  We had about 50 students from primary level such as Russ Wood Christian Academy, various high schools, and University of Liberia. The program was about two hours long and started at 9:30AM (CST) in Minnesota, which was 3:30PM (GMT) in Liberia. The featured speaker for the Nobel Peace Prize Forum (NPPF) youth festival morning session was Liberia's 2011 Nobel Laureate Leymah Gbowee, who has presented several times to Minnesotan youth. This is NPPF's first year of using Google+ Hangout.                   After Leymah's TED talk, about four students from Minnesota were able to ask her questions. A Liberian scholar from Russ Wood, Ishmael, represented his peers by asking her a question. He asked; "How can Liberian youth become peace builders?". The events were successful and we were overwhelmed by the number of students that participated actively in both events. We hope to continuously help local and international organisations to make possible such important events available to the youths of Liberia.

From to nowhere to somewhere: The Journey and statistics of iLab, 2013 in Review

Thu Jun 12 2014 21:40:16 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

Wow! We couldn’t believe it. With all of our donors, collaborators, partners and users on board, we’ve hit a milestone we didn’t even dream about when starting iLab back in May, 2011: we have served 1,280+ people in 2013 alone. We thought, what an incredible opportunity to reflect on the journey of 2013. To breakdown some of the core numbers about iLab, take a look at some of the graphs. There are lots of changes that have taken place in the new stats of our users since 2012.

Female participants – the minority

  The number of female participants is very low as usual. During this period, 19% of the total participants were female and the remaining 81% male. This low figure reflects a common Liberian perception that the ICT sector is best suited for men. At a recent girls-only iLab event, a participant noted that she was discouraged from entering the ICT field by various people because it would too much math and coding.  To help create more gender equality, iLab now has a customized ICT-Girls Mastering the Internet course which is exclusively for women and high-school aged girls. We believe this course will serve as a stepping stone to encourage Liberian women to learn about the Internet and its many components as they gain more exposure to the opportunities before them in the field of ICT.

Intermediate and advanced courses get a boost

We also now have a lot of Intermediate and advanced trainings, unlike before. When iLab was first launched, we started with basic courses like Intro FOSS, Intro Mastering the Internet, Intro Website design, etc. But as the months went by, the participants who took these courses kept coming to iLab and wanting more. Because of this demand, we now have intermediate and advanced level courses that were previously only offered at the intro level. For example, 46% of people who took Intro FOSS have come back to iLab to take the Intermediate FOSS. We might have even offered the Intermediate FOSS to a larger of number students , if iLab were able to admit all participants who take the pre-test for the Intermediate. We often turn down a lot of interested participants because our two labs only hold 15 participants for a course. Thus, we are not able to hold as many people in the intermediate FOSS course as want to attend. The Intermediate FOSS course is offered in one of the labs approximately every two months.

TED talk – our most popular event

From the inception of iLab until now, we have always referred to Intro FOSS as iLab’s most popular course, and it sure is. No other course at iLab has drawn more interest and produced a high number of participants like the Intro FOSS course. However, it’s now time to also recognize our most popular public event – TED talk night. From the testimonies we have received, many see it as being more interesting, inspirational and overall very educational. Thanks to all of you for being on board from the bottom of our hearts! We’d love to hear how your iLab experience has been, please tell us in the comments below!

“Connecting with Digital Innovation in Africa through Social Media” hosted by GIZ, Nairobi, Kenya

Mon Nov 18 2013 19:04:57 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

“Connecting with Digital Innovation in Africa through Social Media” hosted by GIZ, Nairobi, Kenya GIZ idea behind this workshop with African hubs was to network with pioneers and practitioners, to share experiences, create new ideas and discover opportunities in Africa which will eventually help promote international cooperations for sustainable development. The event brought together a dozen of African hubs including, iLab Liberia of Liberia, iHub of Kenya, ActivSpaces of Cameroon, Klab of Rwanda, RLABS of South Africa, iLabAfrica of Kenya, icecairo of Egypt, Wennovation Hub of Nigeria, BongoHive of Zambia, iceaddis of Ethiopia and of course our AfriLabs. In attendance were representatives from the KAIPTC of Ghana and a hosts of GIZ representatives from head offices in Germany and other African Countries. During the workshop, we had the opportunity to visit Hubs, (iHub, M:Lab, iLabAfrica, Ushahidi) Incubators like(Nailab & iBizAfrica), and Strathmore University which houses the Safaricom Academy, iBizAfrica and iLabAfrica. The Impact of hubs: Develop skills Create jobs Serve as implementing partner for both governments and development cooperations Serve as a focal point for the community Identify skills and bring them together under one roof where their potentials can be utilized effectively not only on the national scene, but global as well. Help with local development since it creates local linkages The potential of digital innovation is every country's business, because it has become the driving force for national economies, infrastructure development, renewable energy, green revolution and a new way for education. Since mobile devices/technology in general, had become one of the world's potent development tool, it's eminent that development cooperations look in the direction where mobile devices can be harness to produce a new way for development projects implementation in a mush faster, better and cheaper way. It is in this direction that hubs and incubators come into play. GIZ sees the impact of hubs in one word “CUBE” Create Innovation Use Knowledge Building Network Enhance Impact These are relevant points in development and should therefore be incorporated by institutions in their strive to meet their projects deliverables. Lessons learned: From visit to these spaces, their stories, programs and physical layout which creates an environment for ideation, creative thinking, giving a hub that tech feel is important for breeding the dynamics of innovation. More besides the Kenyan education system and the vast investments from telcos operating in Kenya in the field of IT/ICT related programs had given the edge in this endeavor and is the strength behind Kenya technology growth. It is about time we seriously engage our telcos to make some serious investments in technology at the university level and encourage startups, IT businesses and a space like iLab to improve its programs by creating business opportunities, capacity building and collaborating with them to undertake nationwide projects. I strongly understand that innovation business models should always reflect more on what works, what doesn't, what is the define role of the hub in society and what forms of collaborations should be engaged. To answer these points, I realized that we should: Do more to reach out to rural communities to understand what their needs are and as hub to identify solutions and form collaborations with other institutions to tackle those problems. Develop programs to work outside of the hub, consulting the community while trying to find solution to their problems and other events that will keep the community alive. Do not focus on charity, tackle real problems and ensure solutions are sustainable. Ensure telcos are seriously involve with the hub activities and be a part of the solution Run projects that will not only benefit a community but will be felt nationwide Prioritize capacity building as a means to meet up with the community and it's ever growing problems. Finally, I'm recommending to iLab to take into considerations all these points as we move toward 2014. iLab Liberia extends her gratitude for the level of collaboration so far in ensuring the implementation of GIZ Sustainable infrastructure (Capacity development in the transport sector) project here in Liberia.

“Connecting with Digital Innovation in Africa through Social Media”

Mon Nov 25 2013 18:37:26 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

 hosted by GIZ  in Nairobi, Kenya

GIZ idea behind this workshop with African hubs was to network with pioneers

[caption id="attachment_2559" align="alignright" width="160"] m:lab East Africa[/caption]

and practitioners, to share experiences, create new ideas and discover opportunities in Africa which will eventually help promote international cooperations for sustainable development.

The event brought together a dozen of African hubs including,  iLab Liberia of Liberia, iHub of Kenya, ActivSpaces of Cameroon, Klab of Rwanda, RLABS of South Africa, iLabAfrica of  Kenya, icecairo of Egypt, Wennovation Hub of Nigeria, BongoHive of Zambia, iceaddis of Ethiopia and of course our AfriLabs.

[caption id="attachment_2560" align="alignleft" width="150"] iHub[/caption]

In attendance were representatives from the KAIPTC of Ghana and a hosts of GIZ representatives from  head offices in Germany and other African Countries.

During the workshop, we had the opportunity to visit Hubs, (iHub, M:Lab, iLabAfrica, Ushahidi) Incubators like(Nailab & iBizAfrica), and Strathmore University which houses the Safaricom Academy, iBizAfrica and iLabAfrica.

The Impact of hubs:

  • Develop skills [caption id="attachment_2561" align="alignright" width="150"] iLab Africa[/caption]
  • Create jobs
  • Serve as implementing partner for both governments and development cooperations
  • Serve as a focal point for the  community
  • Identify skills and bring them together under one roof where their potentials can be utilized effectively not only on the national scene, but globally as well.
  • Help with local development since it creates local linkages

The potential of digital innovation is every country's business, because it has become the driving force for national economies, infrastructure development, renewable energy, green revolution and a new way for education. Since mobile devices/technology in general, had become one of the world's potent development tool, it's eminent that development cooperations look in the direction where mobile devices can be harness to produce a new way for development projects implementation  in a mush faster, better and cheaper way. It is in this direction that hubs and incubators come into play. GIZ, from their perspective sees the impact of hubs in one word “CUBE”

  • Create Innovation
  • Use Knowledge
  • Building Network
  • Enhance Impact

These are relevant points in development and should therefore be incorporated by institutions in their strive to meet their projects deliverables.

Lessons learned:

[caption id="attachment_2562" align="alignleft" width="150"] Nailba Incubator[/caption]

From visit to these spaces,  their stories, programs and  physical layout which creates an environment for ideation,  creative thinking, giving a hub that tech feel is important for breeding the dynamics of innovation. More besides the Kenyan education system and the vast investments from telcos operating in Kenya in  the field of IT/ICT related programs had given the edge in this endeavor and is the strength behind Kenya technology growth.

It is about time we seriously engage our telcos to make some serious investments in technology at the university level and encourage startups, IT businesses and a space like iLab to improve its programs by creating business opportunities, capacity building and collaborating with them to undertake nationwide  projects. I strongly understand that innovation business models should always reflect more on what works, what doesn't, what is the define role of the hub in society and what forms of collaborations should be engaged. To reflect these points, I realized that hubs should:

  • Hubs should focus on both high tech as well as low tech to reach everyone in the social circle.
  • Use social media efficiently and effective in all forms to communicate and extend their projects to nationwide audience.
  • Do more to reach out to rural communities to understand what their needs are and as hub to identify solutions and form collaborations with other institutions to tackle those problems.
  • Develop programs to work outside of the hub, consulting the community while trying to find solution to their problems and other events that will keep the community alive.
  • Do not focus on charity, tackle real problems and ensure solutions are sustainable.
  • Ensure telcos are seriously involve with the hub activities and be a part of the solution
  • Run projects that will not only benefit a community but will be felt nationwide
  • Prioritize capacity building as a means to meet up with the community and it's ever growing problems.
At iLab we've initiated couple of collaborations with GIZ sustainable infrastructure development offices here in Monrovia,  which have resulted into building the capacity of road construction engineer companies operating in the country to effectively exhibit and communicate their projects, as well as developing a mobile based platform to enable citizen-to-government and government-to-citizen participation regarding roads rehabilitation and reconstruction, where citizens can  report issues and ask questions about specific projects.

Finally, iLab Liberia extends her gratitude to GIZ for affording us the opportunity to be a part of this important workshop and the level of collaborations that exist between the two entities so far.

African hubs attending the GIZ workshop

iLab's statistics in 2013!

Wed Feb 05 2014 01:08:29 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

Wow! We couldn’t believe it. With all of our donors, collaborators, partners and users on board, we’ve hit a milestone we didn’t even dream about when starting iLab back in May, 2011: we have served 1,280+ people in 2013 alone.  

Trainings

 
  • Intermediate Branding and advertisement course
  • Quick start Website Creation for Institutions
  • Structure Query Training Language (SQL) Training
  • Social Media for women/Social Media for Social Change
  • Introduction to Ubuntu
  • Intro Mastering the Internet
  • Intermediate Ubuntu
  • Social Media for Transparency and Accountability
  • Mobile Technologies for Transparency and Accountability
  • Python Programming Language
  • Intermediate Python Programming
  • Physical Computing
  • Photography
  • (and some of these special courses for women only)
[caption id="attachment_2617" align="aligncenter" width="450"] Courses offered in 2013[/caption]

Events

  • TED talk night
  • Mapping Party
  • Movie Night
  • Guest Lecture
  • Open Government
  • ICT Career workshop
  • Girls in ICT launch
  • Physical Computing Demo Evening
[caption id="attachment_2618" align="aligncenter" width="450"] iLab's 2013 event[/caption] iLab recorded August as the month with the highest number of users as seen in the chart below.

We had a guest lecture on Technology and Education with Kpetermeni T. Siakor as the guest speaker; it was recorded as the most attended event in 2013. We also had a three days ICT Career Workshop for girls where we had over 50 ladies in attendance; this helped to boost general female attendance at iLab. Our regular co-working hours where we are open to the public to use our resources and staff assistance for your projects and continued learning, recorded October as the month with the highest number of co-working users. [caption id="attachment_2626" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Co-working users[/caption] People were awarded certificates after successful completion of a course

 We certainly won't forget Zane Cochran, an intern from Georgia Tech University. He taught most of the interesting courses taken at iLab in the year 2013. We can say that the self-motivation we have seen in these students is unparalleled and speaks well to the continued growth and future of Liberia. Thanks to all of you for being on board from the bottom of our hearts! We’d love to hear how your iLab experience has been, please tell us in the comment box.   The iLab team!  

iLab's October 2013 summary updates: A busy but successful month...

Fri Nov 01 2013 19:31:57 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

Offering free trainings in contextually relevant ICTs that are open to the public. Also hosts tech events and serves as a meet-up space for a range of tech enthusiasts and professionals. Though busy, this month's events and training were exciting and interactive. Having 5 events, 4 trainings and 18 co-working days:   TED (Technology Entertainment & Design) Talks - TED is a nonprofit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. It started out in 1984 as a conference bringing together people from three worlds: Technology, Entertainment, Design. Since then its scope has become ever broader. Along with two annual conferences -- the TED Conference and TED Global. We screened these talks for all to watch, enjoy and be motivated! 20 persons were in attendance...   Careers in ICT Workshop for students -  Here we taught 15 amazing students from various institutions all they need to know about ICT; possible career paths and what it takes to get there.   Mastering the Internet for high school students - After 5 days of dedicated training, 6 students from different high schools were awarded with certificates of outstanding performance. They were introduced to the wonders of the internet as an educational tool and a way to explore what they are passionate about. [caption id="attachment_2494" align="aligncenter" width="300"] High School Students with their certificates[/caption]   Movie night - With 31 attendees, we featured films that inspires discussion and make us think critically about our lives. The featured movie is "Stand and Deliver" - Jaime Escalante (best actor Oscar nominee Edward James Olmos) employed at an inner-city high school where kids are all but expected to fail, Escalante challenges his math students to strive for better things -- like acing the AP Calculus test. Despite the obstacles in their lives -- including pregnancy, drugs and unsupportive parents – the classmates accomplish their goal, thanks to Mr. Escalante’s untiring support. The real Jaime Escalante, inspiration for the book Escalante: The Best Teacher in America, helped hundreds of underprivileged students pass the AP exam during his career.   Workshop on Open Knowledge, Open data and Open Government in Liberia  Ways were explored on how to use technology creatively to make Government information easily understandable for citizens.     Intermediate Mastering the Internet - An advanced training on how to use the internet as an educational tool for your interest with the aim of making you an expert online. We had 12 persons who took part in this training, but only 8 could come on the certification day. [caption id="attachment_2498" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Intermediate Mastering the Internet Certification[/caption]   Social Media for Social Change - Here we introduced the popular and free social media tools to 10 participants. [caption id="attachment_2499" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Social Media Certification[/caption]   ICT for Small Business - 12 Entrepreneurs are trained on how to effectively and efficiently run their business using Twitter, GnuCash & Google Drive. The training will run till the 4th of November. [caption id="attachment_2507" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Training session- ICT for small business[/caption]    Mapping Party - 28 persons were present to add their favorite places on the Google map. We had a workshop on Early Warning and Early Response LERN Improvement with 20 persons in attendance. We also hosted the Technical Working Group (TWG) of the Government of Liberia in collaboration with Crisis Management Initiative (CMI) on the  Governance Architecture project. The kick-off of a project in which iLab will train and give technical support to the TWG using Ms Visio to do process modeling for Ministries, Agencies and Commissions of the republic of Liberia.   Our regular co-working hours that is free and open to the public was open for 18 days with a minimum of 15 persons  using our facility each day.   Thanks,   Lucy & Luther

Supporting Implementation of the Open Government Partnership in Liberia with High and Low Tech: Knowmore LIB

Fri Nov 01 2013 17:12:06 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

IMG_0013   By: Blair Glencorse and Teemu Ropponen. This post has also been submitted for the OGP blog.   Liberia has made some impressive reforms to support open government since it signed the UN Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) in 2005. The government has put in place a host of bodies focused on transparency and accountability, including the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC) and the Public Procurement and Concessions Commission (PPCC). It was also the first African state to comply with Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI) rules governing natural resources and the first West African country to pass a Freedom of Information Act.   Against a variety of measures- including the World Bank’s Governance Indicators, Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index, and the Open Budget Index- Liberia has exhibited steady progress. The recent 2013 Ibrahim Index of African Governance showed Liberia to have made greater governance gains than any other African country since 2000.   In practice, however, legal frameworks and bureaucratic mandates have been difficult to implement, and organizations have been hard to manage. Liberia remains an extremely demanding context, at the central-level with serious challenges in terms of incentive structures, rule of law, capacity, infrastructure and resources. Moreover, information is difficult to obtain and data remains stove-piped; while for citizens it is still tremendously time-consuming and exhausting to navigate formal governance systems according to the written rules.   This problem begins with an absence of information in a form Liberians can understand and use to ensure the transparency and accountability of government. It is encouraging, therefore, that the Johnson Sirleaf administration- through the Open Government Partnership- has committed, among other reforms, to the development of a citizen website and an open data portal.   The Accountability Lab and iLab Liberia are supporting these commitments through Knowmore LIB (“Knowmore” is a knowledgeable person in Liberian English; “LIB” is a local nickname for Liberia)- a project to assess, find, collect and visualize information and datasets on key government services. The team is working with the Ministry of Information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism (MICAT) to build a dual purpose website to function as an open data hub and as a government navigation portal to help citizens understand and use government services more effectively.   In a context like Liberia, however, high tech approaches are simply not enough when internet penetration and education levels are low. We are also bridging the digital and literacy divide creatively through an off-line campaign using popular chalk billboards to convey this information to citizens in language and illustrations they understand. Recently, we ran a series including pictures and explanations of road signs and rules- and had everyone from passersby to policemen asking for further information.   Additionally, we are beginning to train government, media, and civil society organizations on data journalism and data visualization and the benefits and uses of open government and open data initiatives. In conjunction, the Accountability Lab has formed a Liberian Art Collective to begin painting murals with accountability and open government messages around Monrovia; and is supporting community radio shows to discuss government revenue and spending information in local languages.   Information can be transparent in Liberia but is often mismanaged or difficult to navigate. Knowmore LIB is a collaborative effort across civil society and government in Liberia to ensure that information can be used by Liberians to make their government more open, accountable and responsive to citizens.   Blair Glencorse is Executive Director of the Accountability Lab. You can follow the Lab on Twitter @accountlab. Teemu Ropponen is Country Director of iLab Liberia. You can follow iLab Liberia on Twitter @iLabLiberia  

Over 20 Peace Animators of the Inter-Religious Council of Liberia trained by iLab to use the LERN Ushahidi platform

Thu Sep 19 2013 19:33:55 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

Open government and Freedom of Information in Liberia – more than a Hollywood dream?

Mon Sep 30 2013 15:48:00 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

I am sitting at the University of Liberia campus, watching Erin Brockovich, the Hollywood movie. As it demonstrates the uses of the Freedom of information act in the US to uncover environmental damage by a chemical company, it is a demonstrative prelude to a distinguished Freedom of Information/Access to Information panel, moderated by Dep. Min. Tweah with US visitors from Department of Justice and The Carter Center, the Liberian Independent Information Commissioner, and former Minister of Information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism  - one of many events  lined up before the Right to Know day, on September 28, 2013.   Liberia has had the Freedom information Act in place for three years now and is one of the few countries in  Africa to have such legislation. The Independent Information Commission is one of its kind in Africa. BUT, things are not always so sweet. In a recent CEMESP study, only one of 92 FOIA requests resulted in a full, positive disclosure of information.   This is not to say a lot has been done. The Government of Liberia (GoL) has committed to greater transparency and, after years of instability, Liberians now have the opportunity to become more aware of what to expect and demand from government.   For example:
  • The government passed the Freedom of Information Act in 2010 (the first in West Africa);
  • has worked to pass a Procurement and Contracting Act in 2009 requiring GoL contracts or projects to be executed on a competitive basis;
  • has put in place an Open Budget Process to provide the public with information on the government’s spending; and
  • adhered to the Extractive Industries Transparency through the EITI Act.
    In fact, Liberia has recently joined the Open Government Partnership (the OGP, an international initiative that aims to build concrete commitments from governments relating to transparency), and its action plan in this regard was endorsed by the Cabinet in July, 2013.     Despite all of this however, information is not easy to obtain or understand in Liberia. Accessing information in person at Liberia’s ministries can be a significant challenge. And as mentioned, the FOIA enforcement is not as effective as it could be.   iLab is proposing and looking forward to working on making information available to citizens in two ways:  
  1. One citizen-centric place for knowledge that answers questions ordinary citizens have – how do I get a passport, how do I register a business, how do traffic lights work (yes, they are new in Liberia and no, people do not understand how it works)
  2. An open data portal, that gathers data assets (like statistics, demographic information, geographic information) into one place
Why open data? Martin Tisne recently wrote about it. Open data not only creates transparency, it can drive service innovation. Transparency, on the other hand, can lead to efficiency and improved citizen participation. Definitely goals worth striving for!   In time, information and data about Liberia should be as readily and easily available, as the Swiss portal https://www.ch.ch/en/, just recently launched at the OKCon conference.  A great example how a government website can be simple but elegant – and above all, informative for citizens.   Impossible to do in Africa? No. This information is and should be available. Examples of data portals, even in difficult contexts, can be found – for example in the Edo state in Nigeria http://data.edostate.gov.ng/ . "It won't work here in Liberia" is no answer.   However, at the same time, not all good initiatives succeed, and it is important to learn from those. For example, the great efforts in Tanzania did not succeed as well as expected because it was difficult to get people to participate. At the same time, one of the end goals of transparency is to increase people's participation - but it's a long road there in many of the developing countries. Think big - but don't expect too much right away.   In Liberia, it is important not forget those who do not have access to the internet. It s absolutely vital to make use of other media- print, radio, and even creative arts. One unique Liberian media is the Daily Talk, which has even attracted international attention. The principle is easy – chalkboard, sign and a location that attracts a crowd. There is no reason why this could not and should not be taken into communities.   So, a reason to be optimistic about the future of open government in Liberia? Sure - but it will take a lot of time and a collaborative effort between the various civil society organizations AND the  government to do it right! It's a long way to a Hollywood ending.   At iLab, open government is one of the key themes we are passionate about and focusing on in 2013-2014. Would you like to partner with us? Contact us for more information.      

iLab + LINGO forum Capacity Development for LINGO Member organisations

Tue Oct 15 2013 19:38:14 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

We are currently conducting a training, having 8 persons from Liberian International Non-Governmental Organizations (LINGO) registered, they are taught data curation (file management) and LibreOffice Writer & Calc. Training will last for 2 weeks, 2 hrs daily, after which they will be certified with a certificate of achievement.
The participants are professional Liberians who work for various iNGOs in Liberia. Though they have knowledge on Microsoft Suite acquired in the work place or by self; we decided to go in-depth in order to build their ICT skills using Free & Open source Application software like LibreOffice Writer & Calc the LibreOffice Word processor and spreadsheet components respectively.  

GIZ + iLab ICT for small business training; a milestone in Liberia's road transport sector capacity development

Mon Sep 30 2013 19:10:18 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

A training organised by German Development Corporation in Liberia (GIZ) and implemented by iLab. The course introduces Information Communications and Technologies (ICT) to Liberian contractors, 30 persons from the transport sector are trained on computer basics, data cu-ration and storage, Internet basics, Email etiquette  how to create and manage their Facebook business page and how to use Open office tools for basic expenses and sales using Libre Office; a Free and Open Source Software (FOSS). The training will benefit the participants in various ways:
  • Accurate tracking and recording of their business or projects
  • Global marketing/ advertising of their business
  • How to communicate with their clients via email
  • How to use the internet for research on prices and ways to improve on already existing business/service

 The training is actually on a slow pace because some of the trainees have absolutely no knowledge on computer which is quite challenging for us. Having 2 sessions; 15 persons in one session, the training will last for 2 hours every Tuesday to Friday for 4 weeks after which successful participants will proceed to the intermediate course.

 We at iLab believe that Information & Communication Technologies (ICTs) can play a key role in the growth and development of Liberia.

iLab participates in the first Atrocity Prevention Workshop of the Early Warning Early Response Working Group of Liberia

Mon Sep 30 2013 19:49:33 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

I was fortunate to have represented iLab Liberia at the first ever Atrocity Prevention Workshop of the Early Warning & Early Response (EWER) Working Group organised by the Peacebuilding Office in partnership with Peace Direct, a UK based organization which aims to support local action against conflict. The EWER Working Group is comprised of civil society organizations, government agencies, UN agencies and other international partners working on issues of peace building and conflict prevention.
This three days (September 5-7, 2013) interactive workshop held at the county office of National Elections Commissions in Buchanan city, Grand Bassa County, taught participants ways to develop community based approach to atrocity prevention. The facilitator,  Roland Clarke also drilled participants through a series of sessions that will help them create a link between Atrocity Prevention and Local First, a development approach that looks first for the capacity within countries before bringing in external expertise and resources.
In conflict zones worldwide, local people are building peace, stopping violence, saving live and healing their own communities. I believe that if the "Local First" approach can be employ by the Government, International NGOs, and other peace and development actors, the local heroes (ordinary Liberians) can play a pivotal role in sustaining the peace that the Liberian society currently enjoys.
Luther D. Jeke
Training Director
*iLab_Liberia
 

How can iLab improve: fantastic learnings and crazy ideas from our users at 2013 Midyear feedback forum

Mon Sep 30 2013 19:16:09 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

Another exciting forum with lots of feedback from our clients! With over 50 persons in attendance, we had a mid year feedback forum on the 17th day of July. In the past six months we've had various training:
  • Intermediate Branding and advertisement course
  • Quick start Website Creation for Institutions
  • Structure Query Training Language (SQL) Training
  • Social Media
  • Introduction to Ubuntu
  • Intro Mastering the Internet
  • Intermediate Ubuntu
  • Social Media for Transparency and Accountability
  • Mobile Technologies for Transparency and Accountability
  • Intro to Python Programming
  • Intermediate Python Programming
  • Physical Computing
  • Photography
  • (and some of these special courses for women only)
We work for you for the benefit of Liberia and iLab users, we value all ideas no matter how small or grand, We will value all ideas, not everything will be possible. We change our operations based on feedback just like how our Saturday co-working hours started after we got user feedback. The goal of the mid-year feedback forum is to get feedback from our users: what has been great, what could be improved or done differently.

We got feedback on training:

 
  • More courses should be offered (eg. Networking and A+)
  • Provision of more training materials
  • Saturdays should be included in the days of training.

We also got feed back on Public events:

 
  • We should invite local guest speakers ( Liberian citizen).
  • We should have TED Talk nights only on fridays
  • We should allow at least ten minutes of discussion after every TED night
          

Guest blog post: AshCon team from Ashesi University in Ghana compliments iLab

Mon Sep 30 2013 19:22:55 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

We are a team of three students from Ashesi University in Ghana, implementing AshCon at Ricks Institute. AshCon is an off-line e-learning platform that serves high-quality educational material to students and teachers without the need for an Internet connection. To learn more about AshCon, you can visit our blog. As part of our project, we had to find and download additional educational materials, however our Internet connection was too slow. Kpetermeni Siakor, our team leader had been mentioning iLab even before we left Ghana and said that they would be able to help us. Kpetermeni is actually one of the first employees of iLab. We then contacted iLab for them to allow us to use their facility and their Internet connection and they agreed.

Our first day in iLab was really joyous, Kpetermeni was really happy to see his former colleagues and friends Anthony, Carter and Luther again. We also got to meet Teemu Ropponen the country director who was going for a meeting outside. We had the chance to meet Teemu earlier during our first week in Liberia; he was invited to the AJEN summer camp organized by Ashesi University at Ricks Institute to tell the participants about iLab and how they could benefit from it. After all the excitement settled, Anthony Kamah gave us a tour of iLab and helped us setup. Mr. Kamah was very kind and helpful. Later on, we had to temporarily move to the kitchen so as not to disrupt iLab's activities. We were so comfortable in the kitchen that we decided to stay there and make it our workspace for the following days.

Our stay in iLab was very fruitful. During the day, we would search for creative commons educational material and save the links in a download manager. Considering the volume of our download, it was preferable not to download during the day to avoid slowing the internet for everyone else. Before leaving in the evening, we would launch the downloads. This way we ensured not to monopolize the internet connection considering the volume of our downloads.

During our time at iLab, we got a glimpse of some of their activities: co-working hours, TED talk night, python for girls, social media for social change and a lot of other events.

Awesome ladies in Python 2!

Mon Sep 30 2013 19:12:54 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

After one month of dedicated training, the second class for the ladies in python has come to an end. They took part in the intro to python programming where basically the basics in python language where taught them. We had the slow learners and the fast learners; and we ensured they came to the lab outside training sessions to enable us put them through the ones they find difficult. The training started off with 15 ladies in attendance but a few of them didn't make it to the last lap and that was quite challenging to us. Nine persons were certified with outstanding performance and will continue to the intermediate python programming class. Our appreciation goes to the Google RISE awards... [caption id="attachment_2286" align="aligncenter" width="450"] The ladies with their certificates[/caption]    

Intro to Branding/Advertisement for small business

Mon Sep 30 2013 19:20:00 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

Intro to Branding & Advertising for small business– August 19 – 23, 3:00-5:00 pm. Having 16 persons registered for the course, they are using Scribus; a free and open source software (FOSS) to create business logos, brochures, business cards and advertising materials. This course will focus on branding and marketing for customers.   So what is branding, anyway? Branding is the process of building a positive collection of perceptions about your business in your customers’ minds. Customers of your business may make a purchase (or avoid a purchase) based on their perception of your brand. When people encounter your business’s name, they automatically conjure up impressions and memories that determine what they believe about you:
  • Sources: Their notions may be the result of communications you’ve had with customers, or they may be the result of good or bad publicity or word-of-mouth.
  • Exposure: Your customers may have a deep well of perceptions about you, or your slate may be nearly clear of any impressions whatsoever.
Regardless of whether the beliefs a customer holds about you are many or few, good or bad, or accurate or inaccurate, they comprise the image of your brand in your customer’s mind — and they influence how your customer thinks and buys. Your brand image lives in your customers’ minds, whether you intentionally put it there or not. Branding is the route to making sure that the brand image you have is the brand image you want. [caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="300"] iLab's logo[/caption]   Think you have a great product? Unfortunately, no one's going to know about it unless you advertise. Advertising, if done correctly, can do wonders for your product sales, and you know what that means: more revenue and more success for your business. But be warned: it is not a panacea. Below is a list of what advertising can do for your business,
  • Remind customers and inform prospective customers about the benefits of your product or service
  • Establish and maintain your distinct identity
  • Enhance your reputation
  • Encourage existing customers to buy more of your product/service
  • Attract new customers and replace lost ones
  • Slowly build sales to boost your bottom line
  • Promote your business to customers, investors, and others.

Great to be back in LIB!

Fri Sep 06 2013 21:42:10 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

Celebrating the 10 years of peace, debating about the challenges of the development of the nation, seeing the technology enthusiasm and opportunities in iLab users everyday…it’s great to be back in LIB! Here’s a few thoughts just after being in the country – back home in Monrovia – after holidays. In my native country, Finland, the summertime is slow – people are on holidays, and for over a month not much happens – with the exception of travel and tourism industries. One might expect the same here in LIB, since it’s rainy season, but far from it –we’re action packed![caption id="attachment_2334" align="alignleft" width="237"] Even CNN was in Liberia - they got a chance to see the action at iLab, here is the packed house for Mapping party - 60+ people in 2 labs.[/caption] Just before I left on holidays, we at iLab were happy to reach record attendances in June of this year. Further, in July we had over 200 visits just during our co-working hours – a huge increase.  We’re in the midst of crunching the numbers and will have some analysis on those sometime soon. One of the more novel things for us at iLab is our project on mobile data collection for tracking and monitoring beneficiaries of a child labor prevention project. We are looking at various open-source technology solutions and mobile devices – and defining and assessing technologies for developing  a system for our client and their field force – people in some 30 communities in three counties.  We’re excited – stay tuned for more info. Seems a lot is happening with e-learning right now – lots in interest gained. When Kpetermeni Siakor had his guest lecture on e-learning and the so-called MOOCs – the house was absolutely packed, with some 78 enthusiasts crammed in to listen! We’re talking with several organisations regarding how iLab could facilitate the adoption of the masses of material that are out there. I had a chance to discuss with several youth initiatives and with some staff from the Ministry of Youth and Sports. It is so great listening to the youth in their teens or early twenties asking for iLab support in their initiatives to utilize technology in new interesting ways – for example, how to disseminate text messages among the nearly 200 national volunteers. What was great to hear was that the idea for the project came from a participant in our mobile technologies for transparency and accountability -training! [caption id="attachment_2305" align="alignnone" width="300"] At Samuel K. Doe stadium / Ministry of Youth and Sports - explaining to 185 national volunteers how mobile technology could make their life easier,[/caption]Now just last weekend Liberia was celebrating 10 years of peace – no small feat - since its gruesome 14-year long civil war. Of course it is absolutely a great path to be on, even with its challenges. It was naturally disappointing to find Liberia (once again) as one of the most corrupt countries in the world – 10 years after the war, this really is one of the key challenges. On a related matter, equally puzzling and alarming Is the current battle between the media and some government-affiliated persons, relating to investigative journalism.  It seems there is quite a bit to do on the topic of open government and transparency, one of the themes at iLab this year. While the problems are certainly not solved just by technology, we are looking at increasing transparency by using ICTs intelligently. We look forward to working with both civil society organizations as well as government entities like the Ministry of Information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism. Getting government and the citizens to communicate and meaningfully engage will be a long, fascinating journey. Wow, that’s a lot I’ve mentioned – but it’s not even nearly all! Right now we need to make sure we finish delivering what we’ve promised to our donors: our Girls in ICT –program is going strong – an intermediate Python class is just about to start. We continue to work on open government and transparency. We are thrilled to be a part of the IT business plan competition initiative that has been going on and are very much looking forward to supporting the new businesses as entrepreneurship remains one of our key themes. And we will not be forgetting the use of Ushahidi – essentially the reason iLab was started in the first place - to track incidents of conflict or violence all over Liberia, as a part of the Early Warning Early Response working group – 20 or so organizations led by the Peacebuilding office. We just trained 19 volunteers from the Interreligious council and continue to expand our conflict  reporter base.[caption id="attachment_2336" align="alignleft" width="248"] The future programmers who attended Introduction to Python busy during a workshop on how can the internediate class be even better.[/caption] All these promising initiatives need further support for continuation next year. With an internet access of 2.8% and mobile penetration of 42% in Liberia, iLab and similar entities have got a lot of work to do – lot of trainings, lot of organizing events,  lot of talking…and lots of negotiations with donors. However, all this is buzzing activity gives us immense amounts of optimism. There is nothing like the energy of people who have learned new skills and who are ready set their imagination free. There is a huge amount of this energy right now in LIB - so let's keep it rolling! 

Information for Girls/Certification evening.

Mon Sep 30 2013 19:29:03 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

An interactive evening with the Ladies in ICT on the 3rd day of July with over 30 beautiful ladies in attendance... they were introduced to the courses (Python Programming for girls, Social media for change, ICT for small business and lots more) that will be offered in this month of July. We got feedback from the ladies on how we could serve them better and they are eager to learn; Database Management, Web Designing, Computer Hardware, and Networking. I'm glad they yearn to be in the IT sector..:) [caption id="attachment_2160" align="aligncenter" width="450"] Information evening with the Ladies.[/caption] Certificates were also awarded to those that completed and performed well in some of the courses ("Mastering the Internet" and "Python Programming for Girls") offered in the month of June so as to encourage the others. [caption id="attachment_2159" align="aligncenter" width="450"] The Ladies with their certificates[/caption]

ICT for small Business

Mon Sep 30 2013 19:25:54 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

Not many of us know we need ICT for our small business...But I tell you confidently that we really do need ICT in our businesses, no matter how small we think the business is. I'm not saying that you have to buy a computer and pay for an internet subscription before you can sell or advertise your products/services. The time you spend in the cyber cafe checking your emails, Chatting and Facebook-ing, you can use a little amount of the time to sell and advertise your products/services online. Another interesting course "ICT for small Business" is going on for "free" at  iLab_Liberia with 15 persons (Ladies and guys inclusive) selected out of 51 persons that registered for the course. It's a 5 days class, 2 hrs each day. They are taught email etiquette, how to create a business account on Face book and Twitter and also how to use Gnu Cash for accounting purposes in your business.

Ladies in ICT- Social Media

Mon Sep 30 2013 19:24:12 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

Social media refers to the means of interactions among people in which they create, share, and exchange information and ideas in virtual communities and networks. As more and more young Liberians log on and use social media, technology is becoming an important source of change in the country, Liberia has seen an explosion in the use of online and mobile technology, particularly social media platforms like Facebook. Much of the criticism of social media are about its exclusiveness as most sites do not allow the transfer of information from one to another, disparity of information available, issues with trustworthiness and reliability of information presented, concentration, ownership of media content, and the meaning of interactions created by social media. However, it is also argued that social media has positive effects such as allowing the democratization of the internet while also allowing individuals to advertise themselves and form friendships. Most people associate social media with positive outcomes, yet this is not always the case. Due to the increase in social media websites, there seems to be a positive correlation between the usage of such media with cyber bullying, online sexual predators and the decrease in face-to-face interactions. Social media may expose children to images of alcohol, tobacco, and sexual behavior. At ILab Liberia we are presently training 15 ladies on social media, discussing how individuals and small organisations can use social media to promote equality and good community relations. The various social media sites used  for the training at iLab are: Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr. and Google+ It will run for five days, 2 hours each day.

New courses and guest lectures boost iLab use in the first 3 months of 2013

Fri Apr 19 2013 17:40:25 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

Oh wow, it's already near the end of April. At iLab, we are pleased with the start of the year and of course pleased that the nervousness around April 12th and the demonstrations eased out after all. Before looking into the future and some of the exciting things happening later this year, let's see what the first three months were like, in terms of iLab users and numbers. Trainings and events ICT-related trainings and events are the "bread and butter" of iLab. In first three months, there were
  • 8 courses
  • 12 other events
  • 25 co-working days (open office hours)
  • all in all 690 registered physical visits to iLab (with pretests and "hello"-visits, we're at some 1000 visits)
Courses that we new or had a different angle to it were
  • ICT training for future entrepreneurs - the SPARK/BSC business plan competition finalists
  • Mastering the Internet for high school teachers
  • Social media for women
  • Introduction to SQL databases
  • ICT careers workshop for high school students
We had a total of 4  guest lectures which were great and very popular - the house was packed or nearly full for all of them. We even had one ministerial roundtable on the ACE cable held in our premises, where we had 26 government ministers, deputy ministers and high ranking officials workshopping about the ACE cable.
Open hours We have open hours Tue, Wed, Thu 12-3PM. We also started, based on user demand, and open-hour session on Saturdays 10AM-2PM. During this time, iLab computers can be used by anyone for free, for approved projects (work, research, education, etc.) We had 139 co-working visits in 25 days, and in addition 8 paid visits (outside office hours). On a downside, so far most Saturdays have NOT been very popular, so let's see - if there is not rise in attendance, we may have to rethink the Saturday. Right now the trend is that nearly every office hour except Saturday is nearly full. Reason to be happy? In the light of the numbers, absolutely! In the light of other developments and the spirit at iLab - you bet! We are really excited about some of our latest developments. Info on the exciting events in May and June due out soon. Stay tuned!

Kate, we miss you plenty-o!

Mon Sep 30 2013 19:52:45 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

It has been and emotional time here at iLab lately as Kate Cummings, the warm and inspirational co-founder and director of iLab has been transitioning out of Liberia. As the new incoming director, I have greatly enjoyed the three weeks that we have been able to work face-to-face – getting to know iLab and its users, collaborators and donors.   On March 22, Friday, tens of people gathered at iLab for a chance to meet and talk together before Kate was set to leave. It turned out to be a very emotional evening, during which we had plenty of laughs and what seemed like a river of tears shed. A great many testimonies were spoken out by the fine people from the various organizations we’ve had the pleasure of working with. For me, it was a very important and insightful evening  as I was witnessing first-hand the accounts of people describing the impact iLab has had on them or their organizations. Many memorable moments from the last years – from 2010 and 11 onwards were shared, reminding us of the hard work Ushahidi, iLab and all their users have done in the past.     Luckily we, the staff had a few more days together before Kate’s departure – delayed due to circumstance until March 29. We were also fortunate to have the other co-founder John Etherton join us for two weeks, meaning that the staff had a good chance to exchange knowledge, pick up some new skills and all in all work as a team together, face-to-face.  We also had a chance to spend some time together just talking about personal matters as well as naturally exchanging some farewell and welcoming gifts.                   Many of the collaborators were asking how to be in touch with Kate in the future. Rest assured, she will be keeping eyes on iLab as she is on the Board of Directors of iLab and formally the Treasurer of iLab International. She can still be reached at kate@ilabliberia.org.   We, the remaining staff of iLab in Liberia, wish Kate all the best in future challenges. We are certain that whatever paths she decides to take up, she will be successful and make a great impact, just as here in Liberia. Meanwhile, we are motivated to keep fulfilling the mission of iLab Liberia and are very much looking forward to Kate’s next visit here to see how things have evolved since. Let’s make sure she is proud of us!   Deep bow of respect and a thank you once again, Kate.

Pitching A Brighter Future for Liberia

Mon Sep 30 2013 19:54:39 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

Blair Glencorse is in Liberia working on the Accountability Lab, which aims to find answers to problems of accountability. He also started pitch salons, a cross between speed networking and TED Talks.     While walking around Monrovia recently, I asked a Liberian friend if he could imagine his country as a place where resources were managed sustainably, women were treated equally, corruption was fought consistently and social enterprise was seen by young people to provide real opportunity. “Where on earth would we start?” he replied. We started several days later when I invited him to Liberia’s second Pitch Salon- held again in partnership with the brilliant and generous iLab Liberia and with the support of the RSA- where the Pitch Salon recipe of great ideas, brilliant people and unique format once more led to some fantastic discussions.   As always, the pitchers gave an “elevator pitch” for an organization, cause or idea that is engaging, accessible to an informed listener and has the potential to change the world for the better. The pitches this time around were as diverse as they have ever been at a Pitch Salon. Pandora Hodge, a serial entrepreneur in the making, talked about her idea for a student-run art house cinema in Monrovia; Nora Bowier, an environmentalist and community-rights advocate pitched about her pioneering work on natural resource management around the country; Tom Gwagee, the image of a modern African businessman, discussed his idea for a Liberian bike factory using Dutch thinking and techniques; Maryealee Pennoh, a women’s rights activist, gave an impassioned speech about her idea for a summer camp for disadvantaged girls; and Robtel Pailey, an academic with a real understanding of practical problems, discussed “Gbagba” her book used to teach children about the dangers of corruption.   The audience of forty or so from across the private sector, government, civil society, media and donors-  and including many of the pitchers from the inaugural Liberian Pitch Salon- listened in, feasted on food from one of Monrovia’s favorite restaurants and provided advice and connections to the pitchers. Business cards were exchanged, funding possibilities were discussed and there was a real sense that the concepts were beginning to move towards realities. There are very few outlets for young Liberians to express their ideas in a collegial atmosphere to people who can really make them happen, and the Pitch Salons are beginning to fill this gap. In keeping with the concept, a film-maker at the event even suggested that the Salons themselves be recorded professionally and shown on Liberian television in the future so that the ideas can reach an even wider audience.   A few days later, I bumped into the same Liberian friend I had invited to the event, and asked him what he thought of the Pitch Salon experience. “I saw up-close the passion and creativity of Liberian youth” he said; “the question is not where we start, but why we haven’t started doing this earlier”.   Blair Glencorse is an RSA Fellow and was awarded a Challenge and a Catalyst Grant for the Pitch Salons. You can follow him on Twitter @blairglencorse  

User Statistics, 2012 Review

Mon Sep 30 2013 19:56:47 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

In October of last year we did a blog post about the demographics of people that use iLab. Since then, we have tallied up our users and now we have the stats on who has used iLab up until December 2012. There are lots of changes that have taken place in the new stats of our users.

Female participants – the minority

The number of female participants is very low as usual. During this period, 19% of the total participants were female and the remaining 81% male. This low figure reflects a common Liberian perception that the ICT sector is best suited for men. At a recent girls-only iLab event, a participant noted that she was discouraged from entering the ICT field by various people because it would too much math and coding.  To help create more gender equality, iLab now has a customized ICT-Girls Mastering the Internet course which is exclusively for women and high-school aged girls. We believe this course will serve as a stepping stone to encourage Liberian women to learn about the Internet and its many components as they gain more exposure to the opportunities before them in the field of ICT.

Intermediate and advanced courses get a boost

We also now have a lot of Intermediate and advanced trainings, unlike before. When iLab was first launched, we started with basic courses like Intro FOSS, Intro Mastering the Internet, Intro Website design, etc. But as the months went by, the participants who took these courses kept coming to iLab and wanting more. Because of this demand, we now have intermediate and advanced level courses that were previously only offered at the intro level. For example, 46% of people who took Intro FOSS have come back to iLab to take the Intermediate FOSS. We might have even offered the Intermediate FOSS to a larger of number students , if iLab were able to admit all participants who take the pre-test for the Intermediate. We often turn down a lot of interested participants because our two labs only hold 15 participants for a course. Thus, we are not able to hold as many people in the intermediate FOSS course as want to attend. The Intermediate FOSS course is offered in one of the labs approximately every two months.

TED talk – our most popular event

From the inception of iLab until now, we have always referred to Intro FOSS as iLab’s most popular course, and it sure is. No other course at iLab has drawn more interest and produced a high number of participants like the Intro FOSS course. However, it’s now time to also recognize our most popular public event – TED talk night. From the testimonies we have received, many see it as being more interesting, inspirational and overall very educational.

Challenges and Benefits of iLab & Ministry of Commerce Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) ICT training

Mon Sep 30 2013 19:55:40 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

Nowadays, the widespread uses of Information & Communication Technologies (ICTs) are changing the way people or companies work. It is a feature of the technological advancements of this period in history where there has been immense innovation in the information and communication sector. Thus, the pace of technological change and what is available for use by businesses has change how they interact and do business with others. In particular, ICTs have a valuable potential for developing Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) through more effective use and better integration of ICTs in business processes while assisting them to make more efficient decisions relevant to their performance. ICTs have the potential to generate a change among SMEs and make them more competitive, innovative and generate growth.     Challenges faced by SMEs owners in Liberia the current generation that's old enough to be engaged in entrepreneurial activities are not aware of the benefits of ICTs since they've never been exposed to them There is a problem in Liberia with the lack of basic computer skills and digital literacy. By our own conservative estimate, more than half the population have never taken a course on any aspect of computer use. The current generation that's old enough to be engaged in entrepreneurial activities are not aware of the benefits of ICTs since they've never been exposed to them.   Most entrepreneurs only have a basic knowledge of ICT and don’t consider it as a strategic tool. They prefer investing in their core business rather than in ICT. Education, training, and workforce development are key factors to improve the ICT uptake and to make effective use of it in general and for SMEs in particular. The use of ICTs in Small and Medium Sized businesses is not very prevalent in the Liberia. From interactions with the small businesses owners who have participated in our training so far, we've gathered that their businesses use some form of ICT. The kind of technology in use is mostly telephones and standalone computers / laptops for basic wordprocessing and Internet purposes. They do not have dedicated ICT staff to carry out the ICT-related responsibilities.   They also listed different barriers that prevent them from learning and adopting or implementing ICT, ranging from socio-economic issues to technology-related issues: lack of money, lack of stable electricity, lack of knowledge, technology intimidation and perceived high cost of ICT. The Most of the barriers could be possibly overcome by learning more about ICT and by SMEs employing knowledgeable ICT staff.     Benefits of the training   Owing to these facts, since last year, as part of our regular free ICTs training at iLab, we have partnered with the Ministry of Commerce & Industries' SMEs department to host series of contextually relevant ICTs training for over thirty (30) Small Businesses owner's and employees. These training range from Google Map Maker – which allowed them to add and update their businesses geographical information on Google Maps and Google Earth for millions of users / potential customers to see. Facebook and Google + – social media tools that allowed them to create pages for their businesses to advertise and market their products and services. GNUCasha free and easy to use small-business financial-accounting software that will allow them to track bank accounts, income and expenses. MS Excel - an electronic spreadsheet program that they will use for storing, organising and manipulating their organisational and financial documents.   Recently we had an intern, Shira Khaminsky from the University of Massachusetts who taught the Small businesses owners a course we labelled as intro branding and advertising. Doing her time she taught them to use Scribus, a free & open source design software to create customised business card, logos and brochure for their business. We've also just concluded an Intermediate version of the branding and advertising course for the same group of small business owners.     On the whole, ICT tools can provide several benefits across a wide range business operations and transactions. Certainly, ICT applications can contribute to improving information in a firm, can reduce transaction costs and can increase the speed and reliability of transactions for both business-to-business and business-to-consumer transactions. In addition, they are effective tools for improving external communications and quality of services for established and new customers. More specifically, SMEs can obtain a wide range of benefits from the use of ICT. Among these benefits,it is possible to mention:   1. Enhance the productivity and effectiveness of certain activities or functions. 2. Enable the access to new environments as well as the generation of new markets and business models. 3. Improve the qualification and specialisation of human resources, which increases efficiency.   To conclude, our doors are always opened to partner with the Ministry of Commerce and other ministries to train small business owners with contextually relevant ICT skills that will encourage the use of ICTs and enhance their productivity and effectiveness to deliver the best possible services to their customers. We hope that these training will serve as a stepping stone for Liberian entrepreneurs / small business owners to integrate technologies that will boost productivity, thus, generating growth in their businesses.   Luther D. Jeke Training Director *iLab_Liberia  

Experts online!

Mon Sep 30 2013 19:34:22 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

 Another ICT course for the ladies!..."Mastering the Internet", part of the Google RISE program- Girls in ICT this summer (June - August). Over eighty ladies registered for the course but only 15 (fifteen) were selected for the training based on their scores in the pretest given. The training will last two hours everyday for five days (24th June - 28th June), after which they will be certified. Having Luther Jeke as the trainer, they are taught how to use the Internet like professionals; How to determine site credibility, Web browser vocabularies, ways to refine a search, tips for searching on line, and so much more.

 

 Training the ladies on how to be "Experts On line".

Google RISE program - “Girls in ICT”

Mon Sep 30 2013 19:40:24 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

iLab’s Girls in ICT program
  • Is meant mainly for girls in high school or those who have recently left high school/starting university.
  • Is free to participants.
  • You can take one or more courses.
  • Lasts June- August.
  • Even has an international element to it – with Ugandan, Kenyan and South African collaboration!
The different trainings offered are:
  • Mastering the Internet.
  • Introduction to Social media.
  • Introduction to Python Programming.
  • Intermediate Python Programming.
        The ICT for girls at iLab started with a two days ICT Careers workshop with over 40 (forty) beautiful ladies in attendance. Two representatives from Google (Roxanna and Nana) were there to speak to the ladies and you know what?.... the ladies were indeed motivated. .

African tech and innovation hubs, let’s work together to make the Next Big Thing come out of Africa

Mon Sep 30 2013 19:46:24 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

There are A LOT of interesting things happening in the innovations, entrepreneurship and ICT fields in Africa. I had the privilege of representing  iLab Liberia at a meeting of the Afrilabs network of tech & innovation hubs in Africa last weekend, as a pre-event to the Global Innovation Lounge of the re:publica conference, in Berlin, going on this week. There were all in all about a dozen African labs present and meeting for the very first time.   Africa is not one story or one market. However, the choir of our voices can be louder together. As later mentioned by one of our hosts, GIZ’s Christian Gmelin, having Erik Hersman open up the huge re:publica digital media conference with a keynote “Innovating Africa”  turns the typical setup to a new direction – it was not the West talking about Africa and spreading there but rather a story of how Africans innovate at all levels of the society. Hersman presented some of the developments in Africa, highlighting that ideas and innovations come from the edge, from outfits and the disruptors – this means that we need to be on the lookout to learn from anyone – and the powerholder corporations, beware! And right now, there is a lot happening in Africa - and there are now more efforts to work collaboratively across the continent   So what’s in it for iLab?   The meeting and the conference were energizers, eye-openers and door-openers.   First, it was absolutely great to feel the energy amongst peers – all the hubs have a community of their own – but now there is also a network of hubs that makes us stronger, as we the users of the labs are getting to…well, thousands, if not perhaps already tens of thousands! And that makes for a powerful feeling of doing things together, around the continent.   Secondly, discussing with peers and hearing and seeing the stories at each of the places was – in addition to being entertaining - very thought-provoking and a learning experience.   Some of the key trends and developments that we discussed included:   -          Hubs moving up in the value-creation chain, i.e. moving gradually from being tech and coworking centers to being incubation and accelerator hubs, places that coach and develop companies (of course, not everyone has to be like that. At iLab, we are not quite yet at a phase where 5 or 10 startups could be incubated at iLab – but we are moving towards a pre-incubation phase, having various events and programs in place that encourage entrepreneurs to work together and it won’t be long before we have the first set of companies working out of iLab.   -          Hubs thinking about sustainable funding and business models – how hubs generate all or a substantial portion of their income by their own activities in a moderate time. As for iLab, this year’s budget is not fully covered by grants – we are looking to generate as much as 15-25% of our budget through various paid services. -          It’s certainly not just “traditional IT” that these tech and innovation hubs are embracing: hubs that foster social innovations, physical computing and hacking/making and green technology had some of the most creative things happening. ILab is just starting out and experimenting on physical computing (Starting next week!) but already knowing that some of the other hubs have, there are great possibilities to learn   Thirdly,  the Afrilabs meeting and the joint Global Innovation Lounge at re:publica was a about initiating new contacts and collaborations – both in terms of collaboration between the various hubs on the continent, but also between hubs and donors, venture capitalists, academics and so on. We started our first collaboration with Hive Colab in Uganda, regarding Girls in ICT and more specifically Girls in Programming.   Pictures? Oh yeah, hub manager from around the world in action [gallery] Workshopping at Supermarkt. It used to be an abandoned Supermarket in a run-down area. Now several spaces in the area have been taken over by creative industry professionals and the areas has revived as well. It’s a great place for co-working and doing workshops.   Springtime in Berlin, very pleasurable weather. Whenever doing groupwork, most preferred to talk outside. The sun is good for creative thinking!   Some of the results from the first day: how do we make Afrilabs, the network of African tech and innovation hubs as success story.   The second day: after getting a few more into the city, the hubs briefly presented themselves, some of their unique features and challenges – to launch workshops on the most mentioned topics.   Topics of the second day.   The hubs that were present at the event.   The Global Innovation Lounge is not about flashy corporate style, but rather business and innovations coming from the grassroots. We demonstrated this feel by “hacking and making” our area at the conference – with inexpensive materials and a big heart. Jay Cousins from ICECairo leading the pack.   So…we all got our handmade pillows made.   Erik Hersman delivering the keynote: “Innovating Africa” and claiming that the statmakers got it all wrong – patent statistics are not really the way to define where innovations are happening.   This is what an early phase innovation might look like – a DIY 13-phase security system.   From a VERY early proto to a crowdfunding capable production version – the BRCK from Ushahidi   The crowd was gathering at the Lounge, it was busy most of the time   African hubs and their managers.

iLab June events and trainings announced - ICT For Girls as the key theme

Mon Sep 30 2013 19:44:59 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

Hello everyone!   iLab’s public trainings and events for June are now posted online and ready for registration. See http://ilabliberia.org/events/. In addition to some of the usual recurring events and trainings, there are plenty of new topics for courses and events, including:
  • ICT careers workshop, Mastering the internet and Python programming – targeted for Girls
  • Open government, Freedom of information and transparency
  • Entrepreneurship - ICT for small businesses and startups
  • More technical programming and physical computing courses
It’s a busy and exciting month with the key theme being ICT and girls. If you are a programmer (or a photographer!), this is also a good month to visit iLab and say hi to our fantastic intern Zane Cochran, who is steering a number of classes to do remarkable things!   Don’t see what you like? Make a suggestion. Note also that we also provide organizations with • Customized trainings for your organization • Customized solutions for your ICT systems development and services • Facilities for hosting events or accessing technology (space/equipment for hire)   Hope to see you soon at iLab! Coming up in July: ICT4Girls, programming courses, data visualizations, open government…

A Remarkable Summer Experience at the iLab

Mon Sep 30 2013 19:37:40 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

Hi everyone! I’m Zane Cochran, the visiting instructor at the iLab for summer 2013. While I have been here I have had the opportunity to teach a variety of courses including Physical Computing, Beginner and Intermediate Python Programming, and Photography. It has been a remarkable experience being in Liberia and getting to work so closely with the other talented members of the iLab team!   As an introduction, I am a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin and studied computer science at Berry College. This fall I will begin graduate studies in Human Computer Interaction at Georgia Tech University. I first heard about the great work that was being done in the iLab from Dr. Ellen Zegura, a professor at Georgia Tech who works closely with the Carter Center and frequently partners with the iLab’s efforts. I arrived in mid-May and will sadly be heading home at the end of June, though my time here has been wonderful.   One of the most exciting opportunities I have had in the iLab is getting to share my passion for physical computing with a very select group of students. Physical Computing is a course where students are encouraged to learn the concepts of programming and circuit design through building fun and interactive objects. Through overwhelming support from many friends and colleagues in the U.S., I was able to raise the necessary funds through a crowdfunding campaign I created called “Makers in Monrovia” to purchase all the equipment, tools, and components necessary to allow physical computing to have a permanent presence in the iLab as more and more students discover it.   The course was met with equal excitement by the students who were accepted into the program. Throughout six rigorous weeks of training, they learned principles of interactivity, prototyping, hardware design, and programming using the Arduino platform. Arduino is an inexpensive microcontroller and a programming environment that, while popular in North America and Europe, is just now beginning to emerge in Africa. The students completing this course will be among the first few here to have used it extensively. Their greatest accomplishment, however, will be demonstrating their final creative projects at the end of the course. These final projects are all targeted toward an interactive object that improves life in the kitchen, though each is very unique and the result of students using their imaginations to innovate. The will have a great opportunity to present their prototypes during a public event where they will get to explain their creative process and the outcomes of what they learned during the course. I was also privileged to have given a public talk during the evening on the subject of Physical Computing and the impact it is having both in the world of computer science and in Africa. The talk was well attended and generated interest for future courses and opportunities to learn more about this exciting new field of learning.   Teaching Python courses is quickly becoming a summer tradition at the iLab. I was happy to teach three Python courses during my stay in Liberia. In addition to a Beginner and an Intermediate Python course, I enjoyed teaching the newly created Python for Girls course. This course consisted of 15 specially selected young women who showed a particular interest in learning programming. Through the few short weeks of this class, it has quickly become one of my favorite courses to teach. The young women in this class have dedicated themselves to becoming amazing programmers and through their hard word and willingness to help each other, they are succeeding! My other students who will be completing the Intermediate Python course have also done remarkably well and are excited to take the fundamentals of programming that they have learned and apply it toward a variety of interests including database management, web development, software and mobile application design, and learning additional programming languages.   Finally, it was a real treat for me to be able to share my second passion, photography, during the Introduction to Photography course that I taught. I was quite shocked to see how quickly students improved their style and technique in capturing the unique life and landscape of Liberia in the few short weeks that we were able to meet. One particularly interesting aspect of this class was the students’ willingness to meet with me outside of class on Saturdays for a “Photography Outing” where we would travel together as a group to various places around Monrovia to gain practical experience using the DSLR cameras and implement the techniques I taught during our class lectures. This led to a number of unique experiences and the collection of student photography can be seen at the course’s Flickr page here. Though the course has concluded, the students will continue to use the iLab’s DSLR cameras and meet as a regular group to capture photos of this beautiful city and country.   In every course, the intelligence, dedication and passion that I have seen in my students is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced before. Whether it’s students staying well past the end of class time to share what they’ve learned during class on their blogs or coming in on Saturdays to meet during an unofficial programming group I created to learn Processing (a visually-intensive language based on Java), the self-motivation I have seen in these students is unparalleled and speaks well to continued growth and future of Liberia. I’m just thankful to have been a very small part of it!    

Awesome Ladies in Python class!

Mon Sep 30 2013 19:39:03 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

The Python Programming class begins on the 5th June 2013 with 14 participants (instead of 15). The class kicked off with an introduction from the instructor Zane Cochran, an intern from New Georgia Tech University, the staff of iLab was introduced as well. I introduced myself as the training assistant, I act as a point of contact with the Ladies on any issue(s) they have in class or after class. The participants introduced themselves finally using various adjectives like; eloquent, jovial, classy, et al to describe themselves...indeed they were! They all created their blogs so as to write about their progress in the python class. You can click on this link to check them out: http://ilab.zanecochran.com/?page_id=140 Wow! Our ladies are awesome... 'Never say you can't till you've given it a try'.    

Exciting insights from eLearning Africa 2013!

Mon Sep 30 2013 19:31:31 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

I had the privilege recently to represent iLab  at the eLearning Africa 2013, which was the 8th International Conference on ICT for Development, Education and Training held in beautiful Windhoek, the capital of Namibia.   ELearning Africa 2013 brought together 1480 participants from 65 countries gather in Windhoek for three days of learning, knowledge exchange and networking. The Continent’s largest gathering of eLearning and ICT-supported education and training professionals, eLearning Africa brought together over 300 speakers from across Africa and the world to explore the latest innovations and issues in the fields of technology and education.   Getting me to Namibia to attend eLA 2013 was bit of a hassle because I needed to get a  visa for South Africa in Accra, Ghana then get the Namibian visa in Pretoria, South Africa, but the dynamic and hardworking team of iLab applied all efforts and time to make that happen.   There were two major missions in sight as headed out to Namibia.   1. To represent iLab Liberia at the second gathering of the Afrilabs, a Pre-eLA 2013 conference workshop (Technology Innovation Hubs in Africa: Creating Opportunities for Peer Learning and Knowledge Exchange), which was organised and sponsored by GIZ.   2. To attend the actual eLA 2013 conference.   Africa now has several innovation hubs. iLab and these other hubs serve as business incubators, meeting places for the local IT-community and points of knowledge exchange. Although there are different types of spaces, but we all represent powerful opportunities for social innovation and community empowerment. A common challenge for many of our spaces is creating a sustainable business model that enables us to work independently and plan for the future. This pre-conference event was intended to strengthen the co-operation between individual hubs, as well as GIZ and Afrilabs. During the first half of the pre-conference workshop, as hub managers / employees, we were asked to share our experiences on community building strategies, connecting members and enabling peer learning in our hubs. We were also asked to present our different business models and approaches to attain independence and sustainability. Additionally, during the second half of the pre-conference workshop, we were given a task to develop a toolbox that would include ideas for replicable income streams and ways to implement them. The essence of developing the toolbox was to find ways to give answers to the question: How can all activities, including community building, help build sustainable replicable environments for local empowerment?   Way forward/ Action Points (Opportunities) emerging from the pre-conference workshop + bar camp.
  • We should work on the Intellectual Property (IP) and legal challenges.

  • Build strong mentorship structures.

  • Successfully embrace virtual incubation.

  • Collaborate with our governments with the involvement of Development Funding Agencies (DFA’s) in technology development for example laying their own internet cables like Kenya did to cut the costs, subsidizing ICT equipment etc.

  • We need to be supplementing some of our government’s agenda’s if we are to tap in some of their support. We should also categorize the investors for example, donors, government, foundations, business angles among others.

  • We can only get good external funding if our activities clearly define “what is a hub?” in terms of what we do, the kind partnerships we are looking for, and most importantly the success stories we produce.

  • We categorized our revenue models into the activities that our hubs were good at and we highlighted;

    • Desk rental services

    • Donors, seed funders

    • Technology Philanthropists like the Geek Development Fund & Savanah Fund in Namibia

    • Banks, Small SME loans, Partners e.g. GIZ, CCL, Universities, Google, Dell, Microsoft

    • Consultancy and ISP partnership e.g. iHub in Kenya.

    • Local entrepreneurs e.g. Private Sector Federation, Rwanda Development Board.

  • Work on Hub profiles:

  • Statement of path to sustainability – develop prototypes of revenues models that can guide new hub entrants.

  • Shared amplification of AfriLabs using the Media Machine as double edged sword for example news channels, news papers, magazines, T.V and Radio shows but being conscious about cons international media. Hub managers should blog about their Hub activities and community activities.

    Key Points about growing our hub communities:

    We should have activities that are tagged to the community challenges and keep the hub open to society. It doesn’t have to be techie’s only. (Jessica-iHub, Kenya). Have events running frequently and ensure to make them practical. Something that will keep the participants engaged all throughout the entire activity. (Mohammad-Ice Cairo). Have a good set of planners (events management at the hub). Have a web platform for continuous communication between the community, event facilitators and the hub management as well.

    We got a representative from ECOWAS in one of the Bar Camps, his remarks were: Ministries wanted to work with youth that were good at content development for example youth entrepreneurs, developers of animations that reflect the true value of the African Continent.

    At the conference, I had the opportunity to attend the followings:   1. The opening plenary: Learning and Innovation: In the Cloud and on the Ground with a Spirit of Ubuntu which chaired by Honorable Minister Joel Kaapanda, Minister of Information and Communication Technologies, Republic of Namibia.   2. Promoting Innovation in Africa Through Free and Open Source Technology. This session chaired by John Matogo, Strathmore University, Kenya, Geraldine de Bastion, Germany and Joris Komen, FOSSFA, Namibia. The speakers shared their past five years experience of using free and open source software to create learning environments, as well as business opportunities in Africa.   3. Technology Innovation Hubs in Africa: This interactive session focused on how many of the innovation hubs in Africa go beyond start-up incubation and are actively supporting peer learning, community engagement and education. Finding sustainable ways to finance hubs and how can individual hubs network and cooperate. I actually served as on of the panelists during this session. [gallery]     4. eLearning Africa Debate: Innovation and sustainable; which is more important for education in Africa? Participants were given the chance along with the panelists to point out if priority for education in Africa be Innovation or sustainability. In the end, the house that believes that more emphasis should be placed on Innovation won the debate.   As stated by the organizers, I do concur that ELearning Africa conferences are the key networking events for ICT-enhance education and training in Africa. It is a must those who want to develop multinational and cross-industry contacts and partnerships, as well as enhance their knowledge, expertise and abilities. The hub for first-hand information and real-life examples of how ICT advances the cause of education for all in Africa. Decision makers and practitioners from the education, business and government sectors, with 80% coming from Africa. And amazingly the conference is accompanied by extensive and exhibition and demonstrations.   Overall, eLA 2013 was a great learning and networking experience for me and I also found some time to have fun and explore beautiful Windhoek.   eLearning Africa 2014 will be held in Kampala, Uganda from May 28th -30th.     Thanks,   Luther D. Jeke Director of Training iLab Liberia          

Zane hands over...

Mon Sep 30 2013 19:36:25 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

The intern from  New Georgia Tech University had his last class on Python with the Ladies today. We had so many sad faces with me inclusive:(  Zane, it was so nice having you teach us so much on Python, Physical Computing, Photography and more... So, Carter and Luther will continue with the Python class for Ladies on Friday as Zane leaves for New Georgia. We wish you a safe trip back home to your family hoping to see you next summer.

Liberian Hipco Artists Share One Vision

Thu Sep 04 2014 21:52:40 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

For many of Liberia's most talented hipco artists, the love of music is a reason to stick together.   Hipco, which is short for “hip colloquial,” refers to the broken English commonly spoken by most Liberians. For the circle of nearly twenty artists living in the Sinkor area, hipco is a way of life and a means of self-expression.   iLab was first introduced to the team of musicians through hipco advocate, Nora Rahimian. She was eager to see how we could teach local artists the skills necessary to promote their work to a wider audience, while also enhancing their ICT skills.     After an in-depth evaluation with the musicians, iLab's team customized the Social Media course to include YouTube (along with the popular Facebook and Twitter), and despite efforts to also instruct Soundcloud, Dropbox, and Bandcamp, the staff wanted to focus attention on a few platforms first.   Lawrence Logan, commonly known as 'Marvalous MC,' shared the most important aspect of how the training is beneficial to him   “It's important for me and other artists to work hard to improve the music industry and get Liberian tunes out to the rest of the world – for most of us, it's been a way to band together to unite our country.”   As they entered the Twitter-sphere, generated Facebook fan pages and YouTube channels, excitement spread quickly as to how learning these platforms can generate instant exposure of their work.   Hipco artist Abu B. Bernard, or 'Sunshine,' reminds us all of the beauty of music:  “Music as a whole doesn't have any boundaries, so there's no reason I should as a musician.”

UMass Graduate Seminar Now Accepting Liberians

Thu Sep 04 2014 21:52:40 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

Shira Khaminsky studies at the University of Massachusetts Boston and works as a Senior Editor of the school newspaper. This article has been cross-posted from the Mass Media website.   “I saw parents killed by their children. I saw children abandoned by their parents. I saw neighbors from rival ethnic groups who had lived together for generations accusing and causing the death of each other,” said Gleh Huston Appleton, describing the Liberian civil war. “I have also seen a nation entrapped by its past due to bad governance.”   Appleton’s experience is not unique. The Liberian civil war, a brutal conflict that lasted for 14 years and ended in 2003, cost 250,000 lives and left the country in ruins.   Today, the relatively small West African nation is still in the process of rebuilding. The vast majority of Liberia’s citizens have no access to the electricity grid, running water, basic health care or high quality education.   So what’s the connection between Appleton, Liberia, and UMass Boston? The answer is Michael Keating.   Keating, a lecturer in the Conflict Resolution program at the McCormack Graduate School and the director of operations at the Center for Peace, Democracy and Development, has been working on issues in Liberia since 2006.   This semester, he is launching a unique pilot program, offering a group of Liberians the opportunity to take his Globalization and Development seminar remotely, alongside UMass Boston graduate students.   Appleton is one of the Liberian students in the class. A development analyst with experience in Liberia, Sudan, Juba and Lesotho, 34-year-old Appleton has a Bachelor of Business Administration Degree from Liberia Christian College and a Masters of Public Administration from the Management Institute of Canada, which he pursued online. One of 14 siblings, he lost both his parents before the age of 10. During the worst periods of the conflict, Appleton experienced extreme hunger. Referring to those days, he describes himself as a “walking skeleton.”   This program, Keating said, was born out of necessity. In his visits to Liberia, many Liberian students approached him about studying in the US.   “They have a strong desire for an American education, but they don’t really know what that entails,” Keating explained. “Educational methods and standards are much different in Liberia, so students don’t know what is expected.”   In order to fill that gap, he organized a group of Liberian graduates from several of the local universities. These students work in the Liberian government, in non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and in the private sector. They do not pay to take part in the seminar, and they won’t receive any college credit for it.   With funding from Academics Without Borders in Canada, Keating found a space where the Liberian students can gather for Skype sessions with their American colleagues. This space is called iLab Liberia, a unique computer lab in the capital city of Monrovia. Sponsored by Google and eBay, among others, iLab has its own satellite, providing the fastest internet connection in the country. ILab’s staff, comprised almost entirely of Liberians, offers free training to Liberians who wish to learn how to use computers and the internet, skills that many of them lack.   The cooperation benefits students on both sides of the Atlantic. Tara Conklin is a graduate student in the international relations program at UMass Boston, and she is taking Keating’s seminar this semester. Conklin already has a connection to Liberia: she was there this summer with Keating, as part of an international internship initiative from the Office of International and Transnational Affairs (OITA). Conklin worked as an intern for a Liberian congresswoman and in the country’s Environmental Protection Agency.   “I think the American students in the class will gain invaluable insight from our Liberian counterparts,” Conklin said. “They can enhance our understanding of development theory by providing specific examples of what we’re learning and educating us on their own experiences and observations from their country.”   Keating agreed. “Of course, the Liberian students are living out in their daily lives the issues that we Americans only read about. For them it is not theory,” he said. Appleton, who hopes that this experience will help him decide whether or not to pursue a Ph.D. in international development, said that the class is “a great way of transcending cultural boundaries.”   “The course is a proof of globalization at work,” Appleton said. “The mix of the class presents first hand opportunity to classmates in the developed world, who have not or may never experience the impact of international development policies on poor nations of the world. It gives them an appreciation of the deeper implications of each policy instrument on underdeveloped nations.” Keating plans to continue and expand the UMass Boston’s involvement in Liberia.   “I hope to be able to continue a program like this into the future. It is very low cost, and I believe it can have great potential value for building relationships among students from very different backgrounds who are looking at the same set of problems. Of course, I also hope to will motivate American students to travel to Liberia to work or research or to simply get to know that fascinating place.”

A Cross-Cultural Learning Experience Comes to Liberia

Thu Sep 04 2014 21:52:40 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

September 20, 2012 marked a unique day in Wales, United Kingdom: it was AfriCAN Day.   AfriCAN Day was inspired from President Obama's elections campaign ("Yes we Can!"), and has now become an annual event that aims to give schools and community a taste of Africa’s rich and vibrant cultural heritage. The day also seeks to explore how African people have impacted and contributed towards United Kingdom and Welsh society, highlighting the achievements made by people of African decent who have made Wales their home over the years.   With the help of an organization known as Wales Liberia Connect (WLC), efforts were quickly made to host an online forum for students in both regions to have an opportunity to learn about the others' culture.   When Max Kpakio, CEO of WLC and a Liberian living in Wales, reached out to iLab to see how we could assist in linking his Liberian counterparts with students Wales, the answer was easy.   A simple Skype call at iLab provided the real-time platform that connected nearly 15 students from three high schools in Liberia (St. Peter Lutheran, Free Pentecostal Global Mission, and Well- Hair Stone) to students and instructors in Wales.  Mrs. Asatu Bah-Kenneth, Assistant Minister of Justice for Administration and Public Safety, was the special guest speaker who discussed her views on Liberia's civil war that paralyzed the country, providing Welsh students a rare opportunity to ask a Liberian official questions pertaining to the war. For nearly two hours, students took turns asking each other questions about important issues in their respective regions.   Having seen the power of how a simple platform like Skype can engage students from around the globe, iLab hopes to continue to partner with more schools and organizations in the future.

Liberia’s Technological Oasis: One Intern’s Experience at iLab Liberia

Thu Sep 04 2014 21:52:39 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

Shira Khaminsky interned at iLab to teach an intro to branding and advertising course for small business owners. She studies at the University of Massachusetts and works as a Senior Editor of the school newspaper.   Before I arrived in Liberia, I got a few warnings. “Don’t ever use a memory stick twice,” a friend told me who’s been to the country a couple of times, explaining about viruses that fester in many Liberian computers. “If you need to get anything done on the internet,” he said, “bring a book to read while you wait for the pages to load.”   Expecting a technological desert, I was genuinely concerned about the withdrawal symptoms. How many hours would I survive without checking my email? Would I still be an effective, functioning member of society without access to Google 24/7? I doubted it.   Enter iLab, Liberia’s technological oasis, where I was fortunate enough to get an internship. Just five minutes in the building and my worries melted away. iLab’s computers operate on Ubuntu, meaning viruses are not a concern. And the satellite on the roof gives pretty much the same internet speed as back home. The iLab staff gave me a warm welcome. In addition to the technical stuff, like how to use Ubuntu, the staff volunteered to show me around some parts of Monrovia outside of iLab’s big yellow building. I could not have asked for better friends and tour guides for my time in Liberia.     Branding for Liberian businesses I was to give a one-week course in branding and marketing for small businesses, with an emphasis on design. The goal was to get a group of people who want to grow their businesses, and give them some skills to help present themselves better, like designing business cards, ads, and brochures.   My own experience comes from my work as the editor-in-chief of a student newspaper. Working for a newspaper, you get to see both sides of the game: we regularly place and design ads from local businesses on our website and in print, advising them on how to best reach the market we can provide. But we also advertise our own services: soliciting local businesses to buy ads. Julius Saye Kehnel, from Liberia’s Ministry of Commerce, got together a group of small business owners to attend my class. We did some pre-testing which included basic questions (“What is a computer?”) and creating Word documents using different font sizes and colors. 16 people came to the pre-test and the class had 15 spots. Although some people had issues with saving their documents on the desktops, and some of their test answers showed deep confusion about computers, I felt that it would be a shame to keep anyone out. We took 15 people, including a few who didn’t exactly pass the pre-test. I’m still not sure if this was the right decision.   Starting the course, reality sets in I planned the five-day course: two days of conceptual work, two days of practical work on Scribus, an open source design program, and a test on the final day. Looking back, this was an ambitious plan. The first day of class it became clear to me that we wouldn’t be able to cover as much as I had hoped: many people struggled with logging into the computer because the password included both lower case and capital letters. I adjusted my plan to include more practical time using the program, and less time talking about marketing.   At the end of each 2-hour session, the students gave me feedback by filling out worksheets. On the first day, the most common comment on the worksheets was “Too fast.” Considering the fact that we didn’t even finish what I had in mind for the day, I was concerned. I decided to dedicate three days to Scribus instead of two.' Unlearning what you’ve learned Have you ever thought about the double-click? I mean, have you ever really thought about it? Both the physical action of it and the concept behind it? Can you remember the first time you did it? I can’t. At iLab, I watched Liberians in their 30s and 40s double-click for the first time in their lives. Computer illiteracy suddenly became a tangible thing. There were a lot of lovely moments, too. On the second day I challenged the class: create the Liberian flag on Scribus and write “LIB” in big capital letters above it. After twenty minutes, one of the students created a flag that looked like it was flapping in the wind. Another student added some verses from the Liberian national anthem under her flag.   We spent only part of one day talking about marketing – specifically logos. We played a game in which people had to describe, without looking, various logos that they see on a daily basis. We discussed what makes a logo not only memorable, but also practical. Still, I could feel everyone inching towards their laptops – they wanted more practice time on Scribus. In the end, most students were able to create finished business cards, which they saved as PDFs and mailed to themselves (an impressive feat).   If I could do it again, I would devote one or two weeks to learning Scribus and an equal amount of time talking about and seeing examples of branding and marketing. One week just wasn’t enough. If I can swing it, I hope to go back to Liberia and to iLab, and spend more time with my students talking about the specific needs of their businesses. In the meantime, I’ve encouraged them to come back to iLab, use Scribus, and email me with any questions or just to show off their work.

iLab User Profile: Maruh Massaquoi

Thu Sep 04 2014 21:52:36 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

Name: Maruh P. Massaquoi Age: 35 Occupation: Law Enforcement ICT  Interests:  Website Development, Social Networking and Programming   Dreaming big: My dream is to teach programming so that I can increase the number of Liberian programmers and accelerate the national pace of computer software development.   Where iLab fits in: By participating in iLab's trainings, I am able to acquire the technology skills that I wouldn't otherwise have access to anywhere in the country. iLab provides me free access to the latest technology and the trainings help link me with various resources to advance my goals.   Something we didn't know: I love my wife and kids.

iLab User Profile: Joyce Tarnue

Thu Sep 04 2014 21:52:37 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

Name: Joyce Quaetta Tarnue Age: 20 Occupation: Student ICT  Interests:  Website development   Dreaming big: My dream is to open a computer training center aimed at training Liberian girls in the field of computer science.   Where iLab fits in: The trainings here at iLab will serve as a stepping stone for further trainings I will acquire and help me network with other girls interested in pursuing information and communication technologies.     Something we didn't know: I enjoy listening to gospel music.

Emerging Voices: Glencorse on Higher Education in Liberia

Thu Sep 04 2014 21:52:38 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

Blair Glencorse is in Liberia working on the Accountability Lab, which aims to find answers to problems of accountability. This article has been cross-posted from the Council on Foreign Relations blog.
Under the leadership of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Liberia and its international partners have focused on several governance priorities to bolster economic development and prevent a repeat of the brutal conflict of the past. Their reforms have included rooting out rampant corruption within the public sector, opening up government, streamlining business rules to attract investment, and consolidating management of natural resources. Indeed, Liberia was the first African state to comply with EITI rules governing extractive industries and the first West African country to pass a Freedom of Information Act to support more transparent government.
Among these issues, Liberia’s higher education sector may not seem a priority. But chronic accountability problems in colleges and universities are putting the sustainability of Liberia’s transition under threat. The country’s human capacity is very low; it ranks 182nd out of 187 countries on the UN’s Human Development Index and literacy is less than 60 percent. It is difficult to manage a state and society without effective institutions of higher education that can generate basic administrative and management knowledge over time.  
Accountable universities are also important because Liberia has significant natural resources—a key driver of conflict in the past—that must be managed effectively and equitably. Beyond huge agricultural potential and large deposits of iron ore, rubber, gold, diamonds, and timber, significant amounts of oil were recently found off Liberia’s coast.
Governance of the extractive sector is already weak, as documented in detail by a recent Global Witness report. There were nearly 3,000 engineering students across the country this year, but just 30 were able to pass the necessary exams to graduate. This is hardly a sign that the necessary capacity is being developed to manage the country’s resources. A failure of higher educational institutions raises the likelihood that Liberia’s wealth will turn into a curse instead of a blessing.  
It is also essential that current students—the next generation of leaders—understand the importance of accountable structures and behaviors, which they can then build upon and replicate at the national level. Earlier this summer, one university closed for three weeks after violent campus protests by students and a brawl with the administration when fees were increased without warning. Meanwhile, the country’s largest public institution of higher education, the University of Liberia, was racked by fierce riots between supporters of opposing political parties after student elections. Colleges and universities should be forums to learn about effective decision-making and responsible participation. Too often, though, they are not.    
The endemic integrity challenges of the higher education system manifest themselves both at the top—in Liberia’s government—and at the bottom—in colleges and universities and among individuals within them. The Ministry of Education has not yet developed a strategy for the future of universities and colleges, while the body tasked with oversight—the National Commission on Higher Education—largely cannot effectively accredit institutions, set clear regulations, or enforce standards. Universities and colleges themselves rarely have strategic plans and are unable to follow regular reporting regimes.
Patronage and bribery by administrators, professors, and students are widely reported. Abuse of resources, teacher absenteeism, and sex for grades appear common, although data is minimal and there has been almost no systematic research into these problems. This structure endures because the corrupt dynamics have become entrenched and a “culture of silence” prevents reporting of problems and hence any constructive reform. When combined with a lack of resources, limited technology, and poor teaching quality, this produces woeful outcomes from Liberian higher education. Employers complain that some students graduate without even being able to write their names. The system, rather than generating knowledge and building integrity, actually teaches corruption and undermines capacity.
    The Accountability Lab, an organization I founded recently to find new answers to problems of accountability in the developing world, is working with universities and civil society stakeholders to develop innovative solutions to these challenges. Over the past four months in Liberia, we have conducted preliminary research and discussions with a wide range of individuals—from government officials to students. This work has established that a new approach is needed to strengthen rules, understand problems, set benchmarks, and ensure credible punishments for illegitimate behaviors.
    An approach of this type will have to be carefully integrated within wider reform efforts, and will take decades, not years. In the short term, clear rules and benchmarks could improve monitoring and generate more ethical behavior. This effort might include helping university administrations enforce codes of conduct for students and professors, and putting in place honors councils to encourage honesty and achievement among students.
    To overcome the “culture of silence,” universities also need trusted and anonymous tools for reporting problems, supported by reformers within university administrations who are willing to address them. This would allow leaders to enforce rules based on evidence, firing professors who engage in corruption, for example.    
Fortunately, higher education is garnering greater attention. Public university professors are receiving higher salaries, and a new education law provides for student loans. Liberia’s government is working with the World Bank and USAID to develop a strategy for higher education and provide trained professors.  
Moreover, some administrators, professors, and students understand the need for reform and want to change the status quo. Liberia’s international partners and friends should work to support and encourage these reformers in order to build a higher education system that can prepare Liberians to successfully rebuild and develop their country.

Programming for Liberia: Excerpts from an iLab Intern

Thu Sep 04 2014 21:52:38 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

Allan Martell interned at iLab for several months and taught intro and intermediate programming and video production courses. He is a native of El-Savador and is passionate about digital media for rural communities.   A Salvadorian in Liberia I've been running trainings on computer programming for iLab Liberia over the past two and a half months. In this brief period, not only did I instruct five courses on programming, but I also learned about the promising future of programming for this country, as well as some of the challenges that Liberians will have to face in order to become programmers. I had my own challenges as an expat; and being a native Spanish speaker, having to teach in English wasn't easy at times.   My home country is El Salvador, and I learned most of my English while studying my masters at the Georgia Institute of Technology in the United States. Two years ago, I didn't even know where Liberia was on the map. I became interested in this country in the fall of 2010 when I took a class with professor Michael Best from Georgia Tech’s Computer Science department. Dr. Best led a project about post-conflict reconciliation in Liberia. By getting involved in his research I learned that Liberia and El Salvador share some key similarities, like extreme poverty and a recent civil war.   Teaching Programming I came here with one mission: to teach classes on computer programming with Python. iLab Liberia decided to use Python because its syntax is fairly easy to learn.   My first task was to find out about the context in which I would be teaching. I was astonished to learn Liberian universities have no Computer Science programs. My co-workers had also warned me that due to civil war, the educational system had been virtually paralyzed for too long. Therefore, many people here have trouble understanding abstract concepts, which is a key skill for any programmer.   My first strategy was to draw lessons from my experience as a facilitator in El Salvador. Before leaving my country to study my masters, I had already gained two years of experience running trainings on video production for rural communities in El Salvador and Honduras. The background of rural communities in Central America resembles a lot what I'd heard about students in Liberia. The main challenge in the trainings back home was to make sessions interactive. For that purpose, my co-facilitators and I conducted several activities that required the participants involvement, to the point of having them become the protagonists of each session. The overall goal for us as trainers was to move behind the scenes and let the participants do all the tasks. For any trainer, this methodology requires a lot of patience and time. I imagined this would be the two main skills I would need in Liberia, and I was proven right.   Based on my video production days, I planned sessions that would combine theory and practice at all times. I divided the contents of the class into very small pieces of theory, and I assigned at least one exercise for every piece so that students wouldn't move forward without seeing their practical application of the current topic. This approach had its advantages and drawbacks. On the positive side, in-class exercises frequently allowed the students to see what the theory was about. On the downside, these exercises required more time than I originally expected.   Lessons I left Liberia convinced that patience is key for any trainer. After all, students will ask the same questions many times, and will require a bit-by-bit explanation of complex topics. Many times I found that my programming students were totally capable of accomplishing the required exercises, but their fear of failing would stop them.   I also realized that the traditional classroom format doesn't work as well in this country. Precisely because many students have problems with self-confidence, the format of classes, and tests doesn't help to measure the skills acquired in class. The level of stress becomes too high often overwhelms the students. Then, the question that naturally arises is what are the alternatives to measure their learning if a traditional test does not capture their progress?   Instead of having a formal test every week, I think that reorienting classes around projects would better serve the goals of programming courses in Liberia. Students would be given a project description in the first session of each course. The document would outline a series of tasks that students can accomplish by using the contents of the training. While the tasks might make no sense during the first session, each new class should shed light about possible solutions to the stated problem. In this format, students would have to see each class as an exploratory experience where they have to actively question themselves how to use the newly acquired knowledge to solve a puzzle, rather than just sit and listen.

A Liberian Pitch Salon: From “Lollywood” to “Dubstep”

Thu Sep 04 2014 21:52:38 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

Blair Glencorse is in Liberia working on the Accountability Lab, which aims to find answers to problems of accountability. He also started pitch salons, a cross between speed networking and TED Talks.   On a rainy night in August, iLab was kind enough to host the first Liberian “Pitch Salon.” Pitch Salons- which I started with some friends in Washington, DC earlier this year- are a cross between speed-networking and public talks for hand-picked innovators who think about more than just the bottom line: social entrepreneurs, thought leaders and change-makers. Pitchers give an “elevator pitch” for an organization, cause or idea that is engaging, accessible to an informed listener and has the potential to change the world for the better. I have been spending an increasing amount of time in Liberia through work with my new organization the Accountability Lab, and I knew this concept would work well in Monrovia. The Liberian people have such great energy, enthusiasm and ideas- it was a perfect fit.   Kate Cummings of iLab and I made sure that we found some brilliant young Liberians with a variety of ideas that the audience would find engaging. We also carried out a careful process to strategically select about 40 audience members for the pitches, each of which had a combination of superb networks, access and ideas. The format we planned included short five minute talks by each “pitcher” without a question and answer session, but followed with a discussion and socializing hour. This was when pitchers and audience members could network, ask questions and start helping each other change the world. We hoped that some drinks and some good food from PA’s BBQ might help this process along.   The hard work was all done by the exceptional pitchers, who made the event a huge success. Bai Best from the Liberian Observer described his brilliant ideas for ways that Liberians can mobilize new technologies to tell stories; James Mulbah, who looked every inch the successful businessman, explained his progress in making Liberia clean and chemical-free through entrepreneurship; Tecee Boley, a local journalist, expressed in a deeply emotional pitch her idea to cover the untold stories of Liberia’s upcountry; Divine Key Anderson, Liberia’s answer to Steven Spielberg, talked about film-making in Liberia; and Roberta Phillips an amazing young activist illustrated how women can be empowered through technologies. The final pitch- by Nowai Dunbar and her very talented (and seriously flexible) African Prodigies- used dance to demonstrate the importance of engaging youth for the future.   The Pitch Salon did not aim for a specific outcome- it was not an advocacy platform or competition for funding. Rather, it was intended to be an informal, fun and self-contained way for innovative people with great ideas to share them with others who were interested to listen and, potentially, help. There seem to be plenty of both types of people in Liberia and some great follow-up has already taken place. Stay tuned for Liberia’s second Pitch Salon very soon.

iLab's New Course teaches Liberians to have a Global online voice

Fri May 11 2012 01:04:32 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

Technology is all around us.   iLab Liberia is at the forefront of educating Liberians on various information and communication technologies.  With the help of iLab's Quickstart Website Training, Liberians are now gaining the skills needed to contribute to global conversations and create an online presence.   The Quickstart Website training is a week-long course that introduces participants to Wordpress and how to use Wordpress to create websites and blogs.   The major challenge we identified before teaching this course is that participants need to first have basic computer skills before being able to use Wordpress. So we screened participants by using a basic computer test to determine if they were well suited for the course.   However, we noticed that passing the basic computer test didn't guarantee that participants could do well in the Quick-start website training. We now plan to incorporate a more comprehensive evaluation for the next course that will not only test their basic computer skills, but also their proficiency in using the web.   With the help of this course, iLab hopes to see more Liberians being proactive in creating their own voice.   Luther Jeke Training Director *iLab_Liberia

iLab User Profile : John Kamma

Thu Sep 04 2014 21:52:34 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

Name: John W. Kamma
Age: 35
Occupation: Police Officer, Social Worker
ICT Interests: Internet, GIS
Dreaming Big: John wants to adequately acquire more skills in Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) at iLab and use those skills to support his local NGO (Citizens Bureau for Development and Productivity, or CIBDAP) which he started back in 2009 while working as a police officer.
Where does iLab fit in: John comes to iLab to learn how to properly organize and format his organizational documents, learn more mapping technologies, like the Ushahidi platform which his organization has been using to get citizens views on social, political and economic issues via text messages. It is also John's dream to create collaboration between the Liberia National Police and his organization whereby his organization can be turned into an information dissemination arm of the Liberia National Police using mapping technologies.
Something we didn’t know: John loves to walk on Monrovia’s nice beaches, read inspirational books on leadership and visit the countryside in his spare time. John also likes to observe nature a lot.

Demographics and Usage – Sep 2012

Thu Oct 18 2012 00:55:57 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

Back in February I did a blog post about the demographics of the people that use iLab. Since then we have tallied up our users and now have the stats on who has used iLab up until September 2012.  Here's what we have found about all the users iLab has had from May 2011 to September 2012 and the new users since February 2012. Before we get into the data, let me give a short disclaimer: We did our best to collect this data as accurately as possible, but as with any attempt to gather statistics, there may still be errors or omissions, so please keep that in mind. Though this data represents "what" is happening we cannot with any certainty say "why" these things happen. There are too many variables to account for. Thus any attempt to explain why the numbers are what they are is based on the best information we have and obvious correlations. Lastly, as someone who works for iLab, my analysis about why is probably going to be biased towards the positive. We welcome comments about this data and my interpretation. By far the most striking thing about this new set of data is that not much has changed, except the number of people we have served. As of February 2012 iLab had served 335 people, as of September 2012 we have served 771 people. That's a 130% increase in 7 months. In comparison it took us 10 months to reach 335 people. Part of this could be attributed to our new lab space that allows us to serve twice as many users at the same time. This could also be because more people have learned about iLab and what we offer.

Who uses iLab

As before, by far, most iLabbers identify themselves as students. Keep in mind that on the form we use to capture what kind of user someone is, they can select more than one choice, so someone could put themselves down as both a student and a entrepreneur. The biggest change in the user front is that IT Professionals has become the clear 2nd category of our users. Previously IT professionals, entrepreneurs, and other were all very close, but now IT professionals has clearly pulled away as the second most popular category for our users to identify themselves by.  Perhaps this could be because the IT industry is expanding and more of our users now fall into this roll. On the other hand, this could happen because people from other sectors do not see iLab as a place that benefits their interests.

What events people attend

As before, our top event is still TED Talks, but now our second most popular event is Movie Night. Before it was Mapping Parties. This is to be expected as both these events recur frequently and require no technical abilities. Mapping Parties are our 3rd most popular event. Mastering the Internet, a course on how to navigate the online world, is quickly catching up as the 4th most popular event. Intro to Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) rounds out the top 5. Part of the reasons these courses are so popular is that they are offered frequently, but this is in response to demand. Overall it could be said that this shows that majority of demand is targeted around introductory classes and events with a low technical barrier to entry. One big change between May 2011 - Feb 2012 and Feb 2012 - Sep 2012 is the variety of events we offer. We have gone from 10 to 21. Looking at our events that repeat, Mapping Parties, TED Talks, and Movie Night, we see that TED Talks are far more popular now, than they were between May 2011 - Feb 2012. This can be seen both in terms of the total number of people who have attended at least one TED Talk and the number of people who attended multiple TED Talks. Mapping Parties now finish 3rd with Movie Night taking 2nd place. However, more users repeatedly attending Mapping Parties than Movie Nights. Though given how new Movie Nights are compared to Mapping Parties, this may also change soon.

Gender

Last, but certainly not least, we look at gender at iLab Liberia. While there is still a large discrepancy, 20% / 80%, we have improved by 3% from 17% / 83%. We believe that part of this is due to our efforts to reach out to groups that work with women and girls to bring them to iLab. For exampled our work with the group ICT for Girls (ICT4G). iLab will continue to work to lower this gap and engage more women.

Raw Data

The raw data in Excel format for those of you who prefer to crunch your own numbers. Again, we welcome comments and critiques of this data and its analysis. Thanks, John.  

iLab's Social Media training: its significance to Liberians

Fri Aug 10 2012 10:36:15 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

On the 26th of March we certified 17 persons after they successfully completed the social media training at iLab. This was the second social media training held at iLab for non-journalists. Previous social media trainings held at iLab had been exclusively for journalists from various local media institutions.   This 5 day course had one session each that lasted for three hours. Those certified included local IT Professionals and students of various Liberian universities. We covered social media tools like Tumblr, Twitter, Google+ and FronlineSMS.   As a way of showing the practical use of tools taught in the training, it was required of all participants to start their own Tumblr, Twitter and Google+ accounts. Some of the tumblr blogs started during the training were Gabriel Leoanard's http://assescode143.tumblr.com/ Fredrick Horace's http://amuchine.tumblr.com/ and Roosevelt Sackor's http://rooseveltsackor.tumblr.com/.   What makes iLab's social media training significant to Liberia? There have never been any computer institution or tech lab in Liberia offering training in social media. We have also realized that Liberians have spent the last decade reading other people's articles, stories and advertisements online; even stories about Liberia online are often told by ex-pats who live here. The participants saw the training as a new means through which their untold stories could be read and seen.   With such an eye opening training, we believe Liberians can now get online and contribute stories about all happenings in Liberia.   Luther D. Jeke Training Director *iLab_Liberia  

Tools for modern-day storytellers: social media for Liberia’s aspiring journalists

Wed Aug 29 2012 18:56:47 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

In an effort to bring technology to a growing community of Liberian journalists, iLab recently offered a course exploring online collaborative platforms. This course, Social Media for Social Change, is one of iLab’s ongoing and most popular courses that, in this case, was customized for 14 members of the Journalists for Human Rights Liberia Student Chapter. This training introduces platforms for easily publishing articles, document storage and virtual collaboration among Liberia’s aspiring journalists.

[caption id="attachment_1186" align="alignright" width="240" caption="Cross-section of participants"][/caption]

In our interactions with iLab users, we’ve found that most people spend their online time using Facebook and emailing; very few are taking advantage of other information sharing tools. For this reason, we highlighted the following tools for our classroom of journalists:

  • TumblrFor journalists weve met at iLab, the most important function of a website is to share their stories, images and create a body of work for others to see. Blogging tools like Wordpress, while useful, focus more on the sites design whereas our users are seeking to upload content quickly and easily. Tumblrs features make it clear and simple how to upload a variety of content with a unique, preset theme.
 
  • Google Plus This social platform is an alternative to Facebook that, in the Liberian context, is more often used for professional collaboration via Hangouts or simultaneous editing of a shared document. iLab users find it engaging and also a productive tool for group work and info sharing outside of the lab.

 
  • [caption id="attachment_1187" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Participants receive certificates at the end"][/caption]

    TwitterAs I always say,a journalist without a Twitter account is half-informed.Even in a setting like Liberia where slow connection speeds make it difficult to use Twitter, it is undoubtedly the fastest way to share ones own work and to stay abreast with events both within Liberia and around the world. Even if Liberian journalists only get to use Twitter periodically depending on their internet connection, it is critical for them to have a voice in the Twittersphere where Liberians are under-represented. With the ACE fiber-optic cable recently landed in-country and soon to be distributed, Liberia will soon have access to high-speed internet and these journalists will be ready to take advantage of tools like Twitter right away.

 

We’re excited to Hangout, Tweet and Tumble with these talented storytellers; here are a couple of all-stars to follow: @flozeezee, @AlVarneyRogers. In our efforts to support aspiring and professional journalists, we welcome suggestions about online and offline platforms/tools that you have found useful. Please share with us so we can continue growing Liberia’s online community of storytellers.

iLab helps bridge the divide between Liberian women in ICT

Fri Aug 31 2012 23:22:36 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

Information and communication technologies (ICT) are fast accelerating productivity across the globe. The ICT sector not only drives innovation, but fuels competition through job creation. Understanding the Internet and having proper access to it are therefore crucial for the growth of the Liberian economy, particularly for the professional development of its women.   With the help of iLab's ICT for Girls (ICT4G) Mastering the Internet course, which is exclusively for women and girls as young as high-school aged, Liberian females are now learning about the Internet, various search techniques, and exploring how to use the web to solve real, everyday problems.   The training is a week-long course that introduces its participants to the wonders of the Internet as an educational and research tool, and it encourages women to explore what they are passionate about. In the past few months, iLab has taught more than three(3) ICT4G trainings with over 60 participants.   We at iLab know that Liberian women are significantly under-represented across the board in ICT-from education and training programs to the higher level careers in the sector. The shortage of ICT-oriented women also impact future generation significantly.   This course serve as a stepping stone to encourage Liberian women to learn about the Internet and its many ingredients as they gain more exposure to the opportunities before them in the field of ICT.   Luther D. Jeke Training Director *iLab_Liberia              

iLab User Profile: Moretti P. Collins

Wed Aug 29 2012 18:10:36 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

Name:        Moretti P. Collins

Age:           30 Occupation: Medical student ICT Interests: Electronics and other gadgets  

Dreaming big: Continue to research at iLab and complete several projects and presentations

 

Where does iLab fit in? when it comes to researching medical journals, articles and preparing documents and completing research and assignment papers.

 

Something we didn’t know: Many Liberian medical students take advantage of iLab as a means of accessing online medical resources that wouldn't otherwise be accessible without the high speed internet.

Ashesi University offers scholarships to Liberians

Wed Apr 25 2012 22:42:42 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

Last month, we received a delegation from Ghana’s Ashesi University. In addition to visiting iLab and getting a sense of our operations, the delegation came to offer scholarship opportunities to qualified Liberian students.

Ashesi University is a coeducational institution whose goal is to educate African leaders of exceptional integrity and professional ability. The university, which began instruction in March

 2002 with a pioneer class of 30 students, has quickly gained a reputation for innovation and quality education in Ghana.

The university is an independent, private, not-for-profit institution.

The University co-founder, Patrick Awuah, speaks at TED talks about the university on the topic “educating leaders”; we highly recommend this video - watch it here.

The day after our meeting with Ashesi delegation, we invited iLab users to attend and informational session explaining the procedure and necessary forms to apply for the scholarship opportunity. More than 80 interested candidates were in attendance, including both iLab users and others new to our facility. During our meeting, we explained about the University, the levels of scholarships awarded, procedure for applying for the scholarship, and a virtual tour of the campus through the university's website, and at the end of our meeting, we encouraged all interested candidates to attend the official Ashesi University Scholarship launch which was to be held the next day at the Joseph Jenkins Roberts United Methodist School in Monrovia.

Our team attended the launch and found that nearly 50% to 60% percent of the people at the launch had attended the scholarship awareness meeting at iLab Liberia the day before.

The scholarship opportunity

Ashesi University has over $3,000,000 from the MasterCard Foundation to give financial assistance to applicants who otherwise could not afford the college’s tuition. Nearly 40% of their student body receives scholarships from the University.

Ashesi offers a four-year bachelor’s program grounded in the liberal arts core curriculum. Degrees offered include:

  • Business Administration

  • Management information Systems

  • Computer Science

Ashesi University is here in Liberia to award significant financial support to qualified students who need such assistance. Students accepted will be eligible for full or partial scholarship support to cover their tuition fees, textbooks, housing, and meals. In addition, 40 scholarship recipients will receive laptops each year.

The admission and scholarship application forms can be downloaded here.

Requirements for scholarship

  1. WAEC – All applicants are required to have obtained division I, II, & III in the West African Examination.

  2. If in High School, you are required to provide your transcript along with your application form(s)

  3. Engage with other activities, skills, leadership ability, volunteer job, sports, talents, etc is an added advantage

  4. Bank Statements, pay slips etc from family

  5. Fill in the Admissions and Scholarships Forms (if you are applying for a scholarship)

  6. Complete Application Forms in CAPITAL LETTERS

  7. Submit Forms my post and email

  8. If selected you will have to undergo on-phone interview (The University admissions office will call and interview you by phone on the number you will provide in your application form).

Frequently Asked Questions about the Ashesi scholarships

Who can apply for a scholarship at Ashesi?

Any family that can not afford the full fees should complete a scholarship.

Application Form and turn it in with their admissions application.

You can not apply for a scholarship after you have been admitted.

Will I need to submit any supporting documentation with my scholarship application?

A letter requesting why you need a scholarship is required. Families will able be required to submit bank statements, pay slips and any other relevant documentation. The more information you can include to support your inability to pay the full fees, the easier it will be to process your request. However, if you are unable to provide supporting documentation please explain in your letter why you are unable to do so.

How are scholarship decisions made?

First, the selection process begins by determining who should be given an offfer of admission based on each applicant's overall profile

Second, based on your scholarship need, you are placed into one of three categories:

Extreme Need (over $5,000)

High Need (between 3,500 – 5, 000)

Medium Need (between 2,000 – 3,500)

Low Need (less than 2,000)

For each category, there is a set amount of scholarships Ashesi can award.

Third, students in each category are selected based on the competitiveness of their admissions application.

When will I know whether I have been awarded a scholarship?

Typically, decisions are made within three weeks of submitting a completed application. You will receive both your admission and scholarship decision at the same time.

Will the scholarship be renewed every year?

As long as you and your family can continue to demonstrate financial need, you can expect that your scholarship award will be renewed annually. The scholarship committee meets annually to assess the financial status of each scholar's family. You may be asked to submit updated bank statements, pay slips and other supporting documents of verify your family's financial standings.

Where iLab comes in

Looking at iLab Liberia's mission to provide and encourage innovation, access and technology, we are in a position to provide our users with any possible learning opportunities that enable them to excel. In an effort to helped our users understand the requirements and submit their applications, iLab has pledged to do the following:

  1. iLab sent out a citation to all her users and the public upon which they gathered at iLab's office where they were briefed about how to apply, provided copies of the application Forms, and encouraged them to attend the launching ceremony to hear from the horse's mouth.

  2. Obligated her lab to all applicants to send their applications by email.

It is our hope an prayer that a good number of Liberians applying will be qualified and admitted.

Via iLab, Liberian Journalist Presents at New York Film Festival on Global Human Rights

Fri May 04 2012 18:46:00 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

Tetee Gebro is a Liberian Journalist reporting for New Narratives and working with SkyFm, a local radio station here in Monrovia.   Recently, Tetee reported on Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) on her radio show. This report brought about a huge outcry in Liberia among both the traditional people and human rights activists with diverse opinions on the topic.   Because of her coverage, Tetee was asked to appear on a panel at New York Film Festival on Global Human Rights. This was a glorious opportunity for Tetee and Liberia’s entire journalism community.   In order to participate in the panel, Tetee was to appear virtually via Internet, but because of Liberia's lacking telecommunication infrastructure and slow Internet connection, it appeared almost impossible for this opportunity to become a reality.   As Tetee's organizers tried to find a place with reliable internet service and an evironment that could afford her to appear by video over Skype, iLab Liberia was the only public resource center in Liberia that could provide Tetee with the resources to participate in the panel discussion. We were immediately contacted and as usual, we invited Tetee and her local organizers to a meeting to understand the nature of the event and to ensure that all Tetee could required to make this event possible could be available..     iLab prepared a computer running Skype and a projector with and adequate bandwidth just sufficient to ensure uninterrupted video and voice transmissions. With the help of iLab, Tetee was able to successfully attend and presented at the Firm Festival. See more about Tetee's presentation at the Film Festival here.   iLab is the only technology hub in Liberia that offers free technological opportunities that could not otherwise be found in this country. With the lab’s popularity spreading, we are moving to a larger space this month so we can better accommodate users’ needs and interests. We are always looking for potential funders who would like to see Tetee and other Liberians given the resources that iLab has to offer; contact us if you would like to contribute to iLab’s future and that of Liberia!   Thanks   Carter

iLab User Profile: Lorpu Page

Thu Sep 04 2014 21:52:32 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

Name: Lorpu P. Page Age: 28 Occupation: Student ICT  Interests:  Computer engineering and software development   Dreaming big: My dream is to open a youth center with various programs aimed at helping young, disadvantaged Liberians get the skills they need to succeed personally and professionally.     Where iLab fits in: The trainings here at iLab will broaden my knowledge of how I can use online resources and ICT to achieve my goal of helping young people.  My programs will reach a wide audience, and I can share with people all over the world about the work that I will do here in Liberia. Something we didn't know: I have global family ties to China.

iLab User Profile: Kokulo Lawuobahsumo

Thu Sep 04 2014 21:52:32 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

Name: Kokulo Lawuobahsumo Age: 24 Occupation: Student ICT  Interests:  Website Development and Administration   Dreaming big: My dream is to create an interactive problems and solutions online platform or website. On this site, all Liberians will be able to post their problems, be it social, political, technological or economical and other Liberians will be able to post solutions to those problems with no coast attached. Where iLab fits in: I have participated in iLab's Quick-start website development and Social Media training. I will keep attending all its events and make use of the Open office hours to better prepare myself in achieving this dream of creating this problems and solutions for Liberians. Something we didn't know: I was born on a Wednesday.  

       

Ubuntu WiFi drivers on ThinkPad E520s

Sat Mar 17 2012 23:22:12 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

Recently iLab acquired 18 new computers to expand our lab. To prepare them for use at iLab I installed a fresh copy of Unbuntu 10.10 on them, but the WiFi drivers didn't work. At first I tried a lot of different methods, I was able to get a break through the second day of troubleshooting. However, because I used a lot of different methods, I sincerely did not know which one installed the driver, whether it was the combination of all the methods, or just one.   After a while, I decided trying each method and restarting after every method, this way I could know exactly which one got it installed. After few hours of using this solution pattern, I was able to grasped the exact method. Among the many methods I tried, were installing Ndiswrapper to enable me install the windows driver, but that didn't worked, I updated a lot of repos, but it still didn't help. I extracted different driver files and compiled them, but that didn't also worked, editing some system files which didn't as well, in addition to other methods that I attempted. Finally, I got a link that instructed me to simple used the below lines, and whoops that is serving as my key now! It works well and has released me of the stress I encountered with the wireless driver issue:  
sudo apt-get update
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:lexical/hwe-wireless
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install rtl8192ce-dkms
sudo apt-get update
sudo reboot
  Anyone encountering similar problem with Thinkpad Edge E520 on Ubuntu 10.10 (32 bit) Desktop Editon can use this to get it working.  

iLab's FOSS training: why it matters in Liberia

Mon Apr 09 2012 18:52:48 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

At iLab Liberia we have had a series of Introduction to Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) trainings over the last 9 months. During the trainings we cover the definitions of Linux Operating System derivatives, how to install the Ubuntu 10.10 Operating System, desktop and basic features operations and also introduce participants to Apache web server and Open DNS. I recently led my first Intro FOSS training at iLab, and it got me thinking about the significance of sharing FOSS in Liberia.   What makes iLab’s Intro FOSS training unique? Firstly, there is no other computer school or tech lab in Liberia offering any training in FOSS. This FOSS training is iLab’s most popular training because most Liberians have a growing interest in learning new skills and especially a new operating system like Ubuntu that is free, open source, and virus-free. This training is a dream come true for most Liberians because they have been using pirated copies of Windows OS for most of their lives as computer users; these pirated OS’s easily corrupt their computers and make basic computer use extremely frustrating. Proprietary software like the Windows OS is very expensive and it is very difficult to get a genuine copy in Liberia. We have repeatedly conducted this training at iLab because we have heard participants’ testimonies that learning and using the Ubuntu OS has improved the performance of their computers, made their computers virus-free, and also given them an edge over other techies and computer users.   Before iLab began offering these trainings, Windows Operating System was the only OS used in Liberia. During FOSS trainings, we frequently face the challenge that FOSS is a whole new subject in Liberia and we have to spend ample time explaining the concept of FOSS and getting participants to comfortably use an alternative to the familiar Windows OS. It is our dream at iLab that Liberians will develop more interest in learning and using free and open source software to enhance their work and computer user experience instead of using pirated copies of proprietary software that tends to crash after a few months.   Want to see our FOSS manual? Click here   Luther D. Jeke Training Director *iLab Liberia

iLab Small Business training

Sat Feb 25 2012 02:21:56 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

iLab Liberia, in collaboration with the Ministry of Commerce, hosted a four-day training for small business entrepreneurs.   The training ran from February 13th to 16th, and brought together twelve participants from diverse businesses, covering the following topics: Day-1: Created Gmail accounts for business transactions with lessons in email etiquette, as well as how to write professional work-related emails. Day-2: Introduction to navigating the internet and how to use search engines for researching one’s business needs. Day-3: Created a Facebook business page for marketing and advertisement purposes. Day-4: Created Google spreadsheet to manage and track finances, then export to Excel or Open Office. The participants took a final test on the last day, and certificates were awarded. For those who made below a 70% on the exam but participated fully in the course, a “certificate for participation” was awarded; participants who scored a 70% or higher received certificates for “completion and outstanding achievement.” Since participants are certificated at the end of every training, we have resolved to accompany every training with a final exam to determine what level of certification participants receive.   Challenges Prior to this training, many of the participants lacked the necessary skills in computing their business management and so the training served as a boost to enhance their ability to effectively transact businesses using computers and the requisite online tools. To date, iLab has not conducted evaluations of potential participants before a training. However, we have noticed in recent trainings that some participants do not possess the requisite skills needed to benefit from the training; although most of our trainings start at the beginner level, some participants have never before used a computer or opened a web browser. To tackle this problem, we will implement a pre-test for those who register for upcoming trainings.   Successes The Small Business training afforded participants to learn ways they can advertise their businesses online and further use the internet to connect to Suppliers, Competitors and Customers in a more secure way. With the growing number of interests in our trainings and participant obtaining jobs solely from what they learned from ilab, it is evident that our services to the public is breeding the tech community in Liberia in a positive way.   Lesson Learn moving forward We have realized that computing training is needed in almost every section of the Liberian society, while it is true that we have been offering free trainings for the public, it is evident that specific training for targeted groups that applies directly to their career is needed. With the success of the small business Intro-level training, we are confident of looking forward to more customized courses for diverse disciplines.  

iLab User Profile : Steven Berbeco

Mon Jul 02 2012 19:31:07 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

Name: Steven Berbeco
Age: 40 Occupation: High School teacher in Boston, Massachusetts ICT Interests: Education technology for limited resource settings   Dreaming big: My dream is to enable Liberian teachers to share best practices with teachers from around the world.   Where iLab fits in: iLab's public access will allow teachers to collaborate internationally.   Something we didn't know: My nickname in Arabic is "Abu Hagag."
 

iLab User Profile: Gabriel K. Leonard

Mon Jul 02 2012 19:37:12 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

Name: Gabriel K. Leonard
Age: 28 Occupation: Student ICT Interests: Communication Technologies     Dreaming big: I want to become a computer engineer and share what I have learned with others.
    Where does iLab fit in? I come to iLab to attend trainings ranging from Free Open Source Software, Google Mapping, TED talks and Social Media events. These events and trainings have helped me to improve in the area of technology and broaden my mind on new online tools for information sharing.     Something we didn’t know: I love to go sight-seeing and observe nature which helps me have a renewed mind towards technology.

Demographics and Usage - Feb 2012

Fri Mar 23 2012 23:44:57 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

iLab recently evaluated their usage records from May 2011 to February 2012 to see who is using iLab and what parts of iLab they are using. Here is what we found:

Who uses iLab

By far the majority of iLab users consider themselves students. Since a user can select more than one way of describing themselves it's possible that many of our users are students while they are also employed. Also, the Liberian education system is notoriously slow and students often have large gaps in their class schedule, so it's possible that not everyone who considers themselves a student is actively taking class, but in the process of completing an education program. Entrepreneurs and IT professionals round out the top 3 places. Interestingly the least number of users are government and NGO staff. This may appear surprising since these two sectors are the largest sources of formal employment. However, unemployment and informal employment in Liberia are known to be quite high. To encourage those who are formally employed to come to iLab we hold a lot of our events after hours.

What events are people attending

When it comes to iLab events the mapping parties and TED talks are the clear leader. This is most likely because these are our longest running and most frequently offered events. Google technology events and our introduction to Free Open Source Software (FOSS) events are also quite popular. It should be noted that this graph represents the number of individuals that have attended 1 or more of the given events. If we were to count the number of repeat users TED talks and Mapping parties would be much higher. The graph on the left shows the number of users who have attended 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5 or more events. This shows that mapping parties draw more repeats users. When looking at the numbers we do see that TED talks draw more first time users.  As we continue to offer events we hope to better capture the number of new and repeat users for all of our events.

Gender

Finally we end with a look at gender. Out of 335 users 278 (83%) were male and 57 (17%) were female. Quite a large discrepancy. We certainly do our best to encourage participation of both genders, but it seems, as is often the case around the world, participation by the fairer sex is lacking in the technology sector. iLab is currently talking with an organization about creating a curriculum specifically to target young ladies. We're excited about this opportunity and hope it comes to fruition.

Raw Data

For those of you who want raw data to play with, like all good computer scientist would, please see this Excel File.   Thanks,   John.

iLab Robbery Lessons Learned

Wed Jan 25 2012 20:51:50 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

In the past year iLab has had over five hundred visitors. This Tuesday morning, January 10th, we had our first visitor who left with more than a bit of IT knowledge – instead, he took two of our computers.   The thief signed in at the security booth at about 9:28 am, informing the security that he had a scheduled meeting with us. He had visited the day before, sharply dressed in a business suit, and had inquired with iLab’s office manager about his local NGO working with iLab. But on Tuesday, as he made his way into the iLab for the 2nd time, he opened the lab door quietly and unpluggeed two laptops closest to the door and put them in his bag then slip out – all of this with iLab staff in the next room. The lab computers were not locked as they normally are, and the office manager was momentarily out of the lab.   [caption id="attachment_322" align="alignright" width="374" caption="Empty spot of the stolen HP Probook 4525 in iLab"][/caption] Our IT Director noticed the two computers were missing within an hour and we called colleagues at a local GSM company. They were able to geotag the location of the phone number the thief provided when he signed in with security. With the help of the police’s Criminal Investigation Department (CID), the thief was found and arrested by the evening; the ex-pat who bought the stolen computers has also been arrested, and the police are now trying to recover the computers.   Lessons Learned We at iLab have gotten too comfortable. Being on the last floor of a five-story building, surrounded by a huge fence and security system, we felt secure; although we anticipated the possibility of theft when first moving in and had locks for all the windows, doors and computers, the computer locks had not yet been reinstalled on our first days back from the holiday.   We are just plain lucky that these were our two least valuable computers, and that only two of 16 were taken. Clearly, some changes need to be made – here’s what we’re thinking:  
  • Bag checks by security when visitors enter and leave iLab
  • An automated doorbell that rings whenever the front door is opened
  • Having at least one iLab staff located in the lab at all times
  • Locks on computers and all equipment in the lab at all times
  • Making sure we have all the details of our equipment (not just the computers) – serial number, model and make – recorded so we can easily identify our equipment should it be taken
  • Possibly hiring another security officer to station directly outside the iLab door
This has been a valuable lesson for us about being in touch with the realities of one’s environment and not blinded by one’s feeling of security. As a public resource center, we don’t control what members of the public will come to iLab and thus we cannot assume what their intentions will be. If you have any other ideas on how we can improve the security of iLab, feel free to share.
 

iLab Launches New Website

Tue Jan 24 2012 03:26:54 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

iLab Liberia is proud to launch a new and improved website running on the open source platform, WordPress. We have also redesigned our site to be more visually attractive and to make it easier for you, the user, to use. We hope you enjoy it. John

Thank-you Letter from Columbia University

Wed Jan 25 2012 20:56:22 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

Access to technology is a huge challenge for local Liberians. iLab Liberia in an effort to minimize this gap has used its hub as a single public point for techies and innovators to access the internet in Liberia.   Among the many beneficiaries of this initiative are Liberians, expatriates and other INGOs, foreign universities and institutes that use iLab's facility to enhance their mission, programs and surveys.   Below is a thank-you letter from Columbia University as a testimony for the assistance ilab rendered while they were carryout a survey in Liberia.    

New Approaches to an Old Favorite: Google Mapping Parties

Sat Feb 25 2012 02:49:35 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

At iLab Liberia we usually host a mapping party every month. During the mapping parties, locals and expats come at iLab to map public buildings, their favorite video club, cook shop, neighborhood streets or businesses using Google Map Maker. We play some Liberian music, have soft-drinks and snacks, enjoy the ocean view during breaks; it's a great time all around.   During previous mapping parties we realized that, most folks stopping by to map didn't have an in-depth knowledge of Google Map Maker (or any mapping tools) and some didn't even have gmail accounts; having a gmail account is a pre-requisite for using Map Maker. These were issues that limted the amount of places and roads that were being mapped each of our mapping parties. So for our latest mapping party last Friday, we introduced few new approaches to increase mappers' understanding of how to use Map Maker and how to make the most of their mapping time. From 5-6pm before the actual party, we had a mapping tutorial for all the new mappers and a station for people to open gmail accounts. During the actual mapping party we divided the 41 participants and gave them 45 mins each to map before rotating in the next group; this was in part because we only have 15 computer stations and also because with more than 15 persons mapping at once, the V SAT internet connection slowed down to a crawl.   By applying these strategies, we noticed that all 41 participants were able to smoothly map places and roads of the choice. We believe that if we incorporatete the strategies we used, we can have more data on the public map of Liberia very soon     Luther D. Jeke Director of Training *iLab_Liberia      

Social Media Training for Journalists

Thu Apr 12 2012 21:27:21 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

Today iLab Liberia wrapped up a training for Liberian human rights journalists in social media. The training started on December 8th and finished today. There was one session each day that lasted for two hours. Fifteen journalists from both print and electronic media institutions participated in this training. The social media training covered blogging, particularly Tumblr and Twitter. Some principles of using social media were also discussed, such as including tags in a blog, mentioning your blog or post in a tweet and styles of writing posts as a journalist.   During the training all of the journalists started tumblr and twitters accounts. For example Ms. Tecee Boley started http://teceeboley.tumblr.com/, Mr. Sam Zota started http://samzota.tumblr.com/, and Mr. Oniel Bestman started http://onielbestman.tumblr.com/. At the training we were told by the journalists that many of their stories are not heard due to the lack of space in the dailies to publish them. The Journalists saw the training as a new tool through which their untold stories could be heard, seen and read.  
After this training, iLab Liberia confirmed that there is a great need for such training for Liberian journalists, and as such iLab Liberia plans to host another social media training soon. Please check back later.
Here are some photos from the event.
[promoslider height="600px" category="journalismtraining"]
Luther D. Jeke
Training Director
*iLab_ Liberia
 

Microsoft invests in the lives of Liberians

Thu Sep 04 2014 21:52:30 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

Thanks to Microsoft, iLab now holds 30 computer software licenses valued at almost $22,000!   The generous donation will help to build iLab's training capacity and further provide users with the flexibility of learning two operating systems.   Since it's beginnings in May 2011, iLab has powered all its computers on the Ubuntu system, a free and open source Linux distribution that ensures virus-free workstations.   Despite that obvious advantage, the slight disadvantage for most users using Ubuntu for the first time is their lack of familiarity with the operating system and most of its office applications.  Even businesses interested in hosting a training on Microsoft Word or Excel using iLab computers have been limited because of the high software costs.   That will all soon change. iLab now has 30 new licenses for Windows 7 and Microsoft Office. And with a rapidly growing user rate, we can expand on our public trainings and further invite businesses to maximize use of our resources.   The donation came from Microsoft's Corporate Citizenship initiative, which seeks to provide technology tools, training, and resources to help create opportunities and transform communities.

Mobile Money in Liberia

Fri Feb 03 2012 03:20:32 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

Mobile Money is a term that refers to mobile financial services, mobile payment, mobile banking, mobile money transfer and mobile wallet – all of which generally refer to payment services operated under financial regulation and performed from or via a mobile device.   The Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) operators in Liberia, particularly LonestarCell MTN http://www.lonestarcell.com/have begun offering this service, which is quite timely and has its advantages in a country where the economy is growing. At the same time, like the M-Kesh of Mozambique, the uptake of mobile money services in Liberia has been slow to start.   One way to start branding and customizing these services in Liberia would be for the GSM operators or Liberia Telecommunications Authority http://lta.gov.lr/ to come up with a unique nomenclature for this service instead of Mobile Money which is the generic name that refers to the technology.   Recently in Nigeria, GlobaCom and UBA has signed an MOU with the Government to launch it’s Mobile Money service which though not yet functional but have named U-Mo .See http://www.thisdaylive.com/articles/glo-uba-sign-mou-on-mobile-money-service/97220/   In other countries in Africa, such as Kenya, the M-Pesa mobile money service is blooming and has helped bridge the urban-to-rural gap in banking and money transferring services. When fully adopted in Liberia, I believe these services will help boost the economy. For example, institutions like the government can make salary payments using Mobile Money for county officials thereby avoiding transporting huge amount of dollars from county to county for the sole purpose of salary disbursement.   Why Mobile Money? Many Liberians have to travel far from home to find work and need to be able to send money back to their families, particularly in far-flung counties. Existing money transfer options are extremely expensive and many people cannot afford it.   Traditionally in Liberia, money has been transferred in a risky unregulated manner via long expensive trips carrying cash in an unpredictable environment. Technology in the banking sectors has begun to close this gap, and this is where Mobile Money comes in – allowing users to make frequent transfers without having to personally access a bank.   Advantages Mobile Money can lower the cost of remittances as it removes the need for physical points of presence and ensures a timely and secure method of transaction. This technology has been a great success with a lot of benefits to individuals, societies and the Governments. Can you link to a site where there is evidence/accounts of the benefits? However, there are a few aspects that the LTA (Liberia Telecommunication Authority) as a regulator of GSM operators needs to address relating to Mobile Money Transfer:
  1. Should the regulator allow a non-banking institution, such as all the GSM companies in Liberia, to get into the banking domain by accepting deposits and doing most of the functions of a bank without applying the same level of regulations on it as with banks?
  1. How will the regulators and financial institutions bring interoperability in mobile banking?
  1. How do the unbanked customers of mobile banking build their credit history?
In the case of Liberia, we are in our early stages of Mobile Money’s growth and we need to carry out a lot more awareness and publicity of the service in order to have it widely spread and adopted as soon as possible.   For those who are interested, I will outline what you need to do to sign up for Mobile Money. Since it is only LoneStar Cell MTN whose offering the service currently, I will outline the user procedure related to Lonestar: To register for Mobile Money you need to:
  • Fill out an application form
  • Provide valid identification card (Passport, Driver License, Voter ID)
To complete Registration:
  • Dial *156# and the call/ok button
  • A welcome message is received, Welcome to Mobile Money, please select, Please select ID type
    • Driver’s License
    • National ID
    • Passport
    • Others (School, Church, Work etc.)
  • Select reply/send
  • Enter ID number ex. 1214
  • Select reply/send
  • Select Pin code ex. 12345
  • Repeat Pin code ex. 12345
To download the entire Mobile Money User guide for Lonestar Cell MTN, click here  
 

Tech Election Workshop - Technologies Used

Wed Jan 18 2012 07:34:23 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

Last week the iLab hosted a series of events called "New Tech at Work: Planning for Liberia's Elections and Beyond." The aim was to create a discussion about technologies that could be used to aid Liberia as it approaches the 2011 elections. At these events representatives from Google and iLab/Ushahidi Liberia spoke about relevant technologies that could be used by NGOs, citizens, and official elections bodies to help improve the way they collect, store, and share data. The events were made possible by Google's sponsorship. As a follow up, the iLab team has compiled a list of technologies, software, and resources that were mentioned at these events. The list can be seen here at the iLab website: http://ilabliberia.org/resources/new-tech-at-work-liberias-elections-and-beyond/ If your organisation would like a training on any of the resources mentioned please fill out our sign up sheet here: http://ilabliberia.org/use-ilab/. Thanks, The iLab Team.

Tech Centers in Liberia

Fri Feb 03 2012 03:03:39 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

In 2007, SocketWorks Global [1] of Nigeria began setting up a technological hub at the University of Liberia to bridge Liberia’s digital divide in the project called the Liberia Digital Bridge with the sponsorship of the International Finance Corporation. After inauguration, the project did not get off the ground, dashing the hopes of thousands of students and staff who anxiously awaited the outcome of the project. This project died without making any significant impact.   In an effort to bridge the digital divide in Liberia, various organizations and individuals have stepped up to the challenge by setting up technology centers in Liberia to meet this end. These typically take the form of community libraries, resource centers, and training centers. Since these efforts do not have the strong investment backing that the Digital Bridge project once had, these tech centers are run on a much smaller scale.   The most popular approach has been to setup training centers that charge a fee for the courses it offers. One example is the Young Men Christian Association (YMCA)[2]training center in Monrovia. This training institution offers introductory courses in the Microsoft Office suite as well as graphics design. Using mainly proprietary software (i.e. Microsoft products), which inure costly fees for licensing. As a result, despite being registered as a non-profit organization, the YMCA charges fees for courses to sustain the training institution. The downside of this approach is that only those who can afford the fees are eligible to attend. The training center is also not an open space for tech professionals to meet and host events; the YMCA charges for the use of its facilities to host events.   A second approach has been to setup resource centers with a hybrid of a library and a computer lab for public use. Two centers with this arrangement are the Information Resource Center (IRC)[3] at the US Embassy and the Liberia Intellectual Society of Scholars & Academia (LISSAA)[4] setup by a Liberian citizen living in the US. While the IRC does not charge users for the facilities, computer use is usually limited to an average of thirty minutes a day per person. These centers provide Internet access, a small library and a few computers running Microsoft products. The high cost of running tech centers in a country like Liberia has taken a toll on LISSAA in particular making them charge for Internet use, while the IRC runs safely with US government sponsorship. Since these centers do not have a specific technological focus, users are allowed to do anything like following sports news to using social networking sites without restriction. Occasionally, basic computer training is offered to select users of these centers. In regards to accessibility, the IRC is located on the grounds of the US embassy where visitors are usually screened by security guards before entry. The location is frightening enough for would-be users. This leaves the IRC out of reach for many Liberians who may not be able to muster the courage to go to the US embassy. LISSAA, on the other hand, is located on Benson Street which makes it more accessible for Liberians.   Based on our observation of these technology centers, we decided to follow the style of*iHub_ Nairobi. With this arrangement, we setup an innovation hub called *iLab_ Liberia to focus on the tech community, as well as anyone interested in learning more about technology. Usage of our space for training and events hosting is free of charge, and our computers run free and opensource software like Linux and FireFox. At the moment, we are the only people using this approach in Liberia. At *iLab_ Liberia, our focus is to promote information sharing and the use of opensource tools. Instead of offering training in regular proprietary software, users are introduced to web and software development as well as to opensource alternatives to proprietary software. This is significant considering that most users who cannot afford to buy genuine copies of proprietary software often make pirated or cracked copies of them which often leaves them vulnerable to viruses. Equipped with a dozen computers on a dedicated VSAT Internet connection, the tech hub is suited for hosting tech events as well as for providing contextually relevant training to users. This is usually done by understanding what potential users want to learn about and then directing trainings to these needs. This is a paradigm shift from the traditional definition of a tech center which is nothing more than a computer school or Internet cafe.   Since inception, we have hosted PenPlusBytes‘ Africa Elections Project workshop to train journalists in technology reporting. We have also hosted Monrovia Google Technology Users Group (GTUG) meet-up sessions and web development trainings. The West African Network for Peacebuilding, Liberia Early-Warning Working Group, and our elections partners have all been hosted for various workshops and trainings at the *iLab_. Right now, we are training thirteen students from five high schools in Monrovia, Paynesville, and Brewerville in web development to take each other head-on in the *iLab_ Web Challenge.   We are positive that we can make a far greater impact in the lives of Liberians with this approach to technology centers.   Kpetermeni Siakor IT Director *iLab_ Liberia   Sources: [1] SocketWorks Global Digital Bridge -http://www.swglobal.com/e-solutions/digital_bridge.php International Finance Corporation Sponsorship -http://www.ifc.org/ifcext/spiwebsite1.nsf/0/36CA941DCF217B3C852576BA000E29BD http://www.ifc.org/ifcext/che.nsf/AttachmentsByTitle/Factsheet_Socketworks_OvercomingtheDigitalDivide/$FILE/Fact+Sheet-SocketWorks-Overcoming+Digital+Divide.pdf [2] Young Men Christian Association –http://www.ymca.org.lr/ [3] Liberia Intellectual Society of Scholars and Academia –http://www.lissaa.com/ [4] Information Resource Center -http://monrovia.usembassy.gov/irc.html [5] *iLab_ Liberia –http://www.ilabliberia.com/        

Developer Training in Liberia

Fri Feb 03 2012 02:26:23 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

At the heart of all the technological advances in Africa is the hope that African people will use these technologies to their gain. Fiber-optic cables surround Africa’s coasts; mobile operators are investing in wireless technologies like WiMax in preparation for a flood of data that could break existing networks. Mobile devices and computer manufacturers are selling low-cost superphones, tablets, and netbooks, hoping that these devices will integrate well with the African lifestyle whilst platform developers scout the continent in search of developers to build apps for Africans on their systems and networks.   At this point it is quite obvious that the focus of these market players is the people—because it is the people who will spend their money on these technologies. A huge “side-opportunity” is created as a result of this new focus—the demand for developers of these Africa-relevant applications. At the moment, a few African countries have woken up to this new reality and are striving to meet this huge demand. Liberia is not one of those countries awake to this new reality. For public and private sectors alike, the primary focus is on rebuilding systems and infrastructure destroyed by the two civil wars, as well as dealing with international debt accumulated over the years. Instead of technology being the means by which these reconstruction efforts are undertaken, it has become a project of the future. With our education system still weaker than its pre-war status, technical training has still not matured for even the best institutions.   At the moment, there are no Computer Science (CS) programs in any of our universities. The closest and only program we have is an e-Learning program for BSc. Information Technology from Amity University in Uttar Pradesh, India, offered through the Pan African e-Network with the University of Liberia[1]. This program primarily focuses on infrastructure setup and management, with little programming. This stands opposed to the programming-rich B.Tech program in Computer Science and Engineering offered in India by the same university[2].   Other institutions that offer courses in programming include the Starz Institute of Technology[3] and Silicon Pro. These courses are mainly introductory courses to languages like Visual Basic and PHP/MySQL. Furthermore, training in web development is more concentrated around tools like Dreamweaver than on the underlying programming/markup/scripting languages. These institutions are relatively new and the programming courses are not as popular with students as courses like networking and hardware. Courses in popular languages like Java, C++, and Python which are relevant to mobile application development are non-existent in these training institutions. Furthermore the high cost of these trainings makes them inaccessible to most would-be programmers.   Liberia’s small developer community is comprised mainly of people who studied outside Liberia, self-taught, and those who learned on the job. As a result, programmers are in short supply which causes programming jobs to go to foreign firms. There are a handful of tech firms in Liberia that are involved in software development that often have to train their recruited staff to program on the job. This is on a very small scale and benefits very few people.   Due to the limited number of programming languages taught in Liberia, developers are often not prepared to build applications on platforms that are language-biased like iOS. Since this is the case mainly for mobile devices, Liberian developers are cut off from harnessing the potentials of mobile applications. To date, it is still difficult to find mobile applications for Android, Apple or Symbian that have been built by Liberians. This situation leaves us woefully unprepared to tap into the vast opportunities the mobile and Internet revolutions bring to the continent. Without mobile and web developers, Liberia will be left voiceless on these emerging platforms. Mobile and web applications relevant to Liberia need to be built by Liberians but, without effective training in modern languages, this will be impossible to accomplish. It is hard to imagine Liberia playing a pivotal role in the tech industry without a growing developer community. As important as computer networking and hardware are to Liberia’s technological advancement, these skills are inadequate to spur maximum Liberian participation in the global tech arena. They also do not promote innovation as programming skills do.   Until our tertiary institutions start offering relevant CS programs, Liberia will remain a consumer of information technology and may never grow to be a provider. Until Liberian students get early exposure to programming, they will be unable to compete with their regional and global counterparts in the technology race. And until we get a shift in our thinking about science and technology education, we will never get free from foreign technological domination.   Kpetermeni Siakor IT Director *iLab_ Liberia  
Sources:
[1] Pan African e-Network - http://www.panafricanenetwork.com

The *iLab_ Web Challenge

Thu Jan 05 2012 06:26:12 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

The *iLab_ We