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Ilab Liberia July 18


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Ilab Liberia July 18

  1. 1. iLab Liberia – Challenges in building a technology community in a post-conflict state.
  2. 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. 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. 4. Background: Ushahidi for 2011 elections…was not enough
  5. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 11. “ICT will transform our country…” - Minister of Post and Telecommunications, Dr. Norkeh, in May 2013 0588.jpg
  12. 12. ICT skills needed more than ever!
  13. 13. We’re here to serve the community!
  14. 14. Questions & comments? Facebook: iLab_Liberia Twitter: @ilabliberia, @troppone Email:
  15. 15. iLab Liberia – Backup
  16. 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. 17. Collaborating in Liberia’s first IT business plan competition
  18. 18. Liberia’s early warning, early response actors
  19. 19. Physical computing experiments