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Ilab Liberia July 18
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Ilab Liberia July 18


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  • 1. iLab Liberia – Challenges in building a technology community in a post-conflict state.
  • 2. Nutshell iLab Liberia is a non-profit computer NGO, a collaborative training center and technology hub. iLab provides access to cutting-edge technology, expert IT assistance and an enthusiast community – leveraging technology for the good of Liberia. Operating in Liberia – one decade after a 14-year civil war (“Liberia remains a peaceful, but fragile country” – Ban Ki-Moon)
  • 3. If you’ve read the stats… Human development index Corruption rankings Failed states index Freedom in the world World Bank ICT …none of these are impressive
  • 4. Background: Ushahidi for 2011 elections…was not enough
  • 5. Facts about iLab  Launched in May 2011  30 laptops  2 Mbit satellite internet connection  2 separate labs and 2 conference rooms  Lending library for audio/video equipment and books  7 persons (6 Liberians) in Monrovia
  • 6. iLab services  Trainings  TECH: Free and Open Source Software (FOSS), Mastering the Internet, Social media; Website creation (WordPress) & web development (HTML5, CSS3), Programming and databases (Python, SQL)  BUSINESS: IT for Small Businesses (Intro & Intermediate)  GIRLS: ICTs for girls programs  Learning events  TED talks, Movie nights, Google Mapping parties, guest lectures  Open office hours (co-working hours)  Customized projects to partners (INGOs, Government, businesses)
  • 7. iLab key themes 2013 Entrepreneurship & ICT Open government & transparency Programming & technology ICT 4 Girls Experiments: e.g. Physical computing Sustainabilty: 25% funding from paid services
  • 8. Impact? Well over 1000 different people have used iLab in 2 years Over 1300 visits to iLab in the first six months 2013 On a typical day, currently about 40-60 visits per day in
  • 9. iLab challenges 1/2 • Funding: relatively short-term funding (project funding) • Staff: scattered attention - capacity building - finding temporary staff to suit changing scope and load of work • Strategy: defining lab’s role in the long run, impact of ACE & improving infra working with universities, etc.
  • 10. iLab challenges 2/2 • Local skills • Access to technology • Literacy rate 60% • Lack of formal degrees in IT • Cost and state of Infra • West Africa: Highest cost of electricity in the world • Internet: thousands of dollars per month • Weakened institutions • Universities & collaboration • Working with government
  • 11. “ICT will transform our country…” - Minister of Post and Telecommunications, Dr. Norkeh, in May 2013 0588.jpg
  • 12. ICT skills needed more than ever!
  • 13. We’re here to serve the community!
  • 14. Questions & comments? Facebook: iLab_Liberia Twitter: @ilabliberia, @troppone Email:
  • 15. iLab Liberia – Backup
  • 16. Google RISE program – why? For students everywhere to have an opportunity 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.
  • 17. Collaborating in Liberia’s first IT business plan competition
  • 18. Liberia’s early warning, early response actors
  • 19. Physical computing experiments