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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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.

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

 

 

Ladies in ICT- Social Media

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.

ICT for small Business

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.

Experts online!

 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”.