Despite its prolonged and bloody civil war, Liberia is rebuilding itself thanks, in part, to a nascent tech community committed to social change and economic development. Indigo is delighted, therefore, to be providing a grant of £20,000 to iLab, a computer lab based in Monrovia that provides access to cutting edge technology, expert IT assistance and a community of like-minded individuals. Increasingly, Liberian citizens and organizations are seeking access to information and to platforms that allow them to share their experiences within and beyond Liberia. The founders of iLab Liberia recognized this growing interest and simultaneous lack of info-sharing resources available to Liberians; the natural first step seemed to be a central location with reliable Internet, electricity, and trained IT staff where collaboration and learning could take place. The iLab has 11 computer workstations, a dedicated VSAT with a C-band connection and speed of 384/128 kbps; there is also a conference room available for trainings and meetings and a projector with speakers for live distance learning sessions.From programmers and IT professionals to NGOs and government employees, iLab provides the resources to help people use ICTs to accomplish their goals.
iLab started out life to provide training to CSOs in how to use the Ushahidi platform to map and provide an early warning system for any outbreaks of violence. Since then, the organisation has broadened its remit to offer a number of ICT training courses for NGOs and individuals, as well as support for Liberia’s budding tech community. They run workshops, host events and provide training in a number of areas aimed at giving citizens a more powerful voice, including in issues around election monitoring, social media training and mapping training. Indigo’s grant will be used for staffing costs, the upgrading of iLab’s internet connection and a small amount for office supply and equipment costs.