Mobile Data collection: The Liberian experience

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.

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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.

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

“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

 

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.

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

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.

Hon Magdalene Dagoseh giving an opening remark

 

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.

 

Barkue Tubman moderating the dialogue.

Munah Youngblood Moderating the dialogue

The students with the prominent women

 

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.

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

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’s statistics in 2013!

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)

Courses offered in 2013

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iLab’s October 2013 summary updates: A busy but successful month…

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.

High School Students with their certificates

 

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.

Intermediate Mastering the Internet Certification

 

Social Media for Social Change – Here we introduced the popular and free social media tools to 10 participants.

Social Media Certification

 

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.

Training session- ICT for small business

 

 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

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

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.

Awesome ladies in Python 2!

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…

The ladies with their certificates

 

 

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

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