Liberian ICT professionals Develop Local Software to Help Fight Ebola: Introducing the I-RAMP Software…

first_imgOver the years, there has been a recurring discourse about the lack of capacity in the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector of Liberia, especially in software development. This discourse and what appears to be the prevailingperception have led many, even the Government, to contractforeign skills/consultants to perform needed ICT services or outsource ICT projects,which could otherwise be done in Liberia.The “prevailing perception”hitherto this article, hashelped hinderlocal software development initiatives, thus strangulating much needed progress in the sector.Despite this perception and the many challenges that “plague” the ICT sector, Liberian ICT professionals have not been deterred. In fact, both the perception and the challenges have kindled an influx of ICT professionals from abroad and motivated many of those who are considered locals or locally-based, to be even more motivated. What the advent/influx of Liberian ICT “brain gain” and motivation of the “locals” have done is ignite a new level of enthusiasm that has enabled the rewriting of Liberian ICT culture, removing dependence (consumers) on foreign-made software to becoming producers and consumers (Prosumers) of their own software. And this “PROSUMER-driven”mentality has ignited a new wave of innovation.  A product of this “new wave of innovation” is the newly developedEbola response application, the work of a consortium local ICT firms. In this article, I introduce and explain to you the Incident Response And Management Program or I-RAMP, a locally developed application.The I-RAMP applicationis proof that Liberia indeed has the capacity to develop innovative software solutions, and that, that “capacity” had been here but ignored for reasons beyond my comprehension. I-RAMP is designed and developed by the Liberia IT Consortium (LitC). The software integrates computer, web and mobile technologies making it a tool that can be used anywhere, anytime, by anyone, and from any place that has internet connectivity and a web browser. The software allows the public to report Ebola-related cases and allows incident responders to collect and efficiently handle data for information gathering and subsequent dissemination to the public, decision makers and other stakeholders. It has the capability to provide all necessary information for crisis responders to respond more effectively using tools to facilitate Ebola or future crises.I-RAMP is a Web-based application that provides a multitude of features and functionalities making it not only a robust application but a much needed solution at a time the country continues to experience challenges in the fight against Ebola. The application is developed in a way that the business functionality and design requirements are influenced by crisis responders and the existing situation.What’s more, I-RAMP was developed using OPEN SOURCE programming languages (PHP, MySQL, etc) and it can easily be integrated into other systems and platforms(works with all browsers). Below are screen shots of I-RAMP’s dashboard and a graphical overview of the software.Local software production and development can spur economic growth in Liberia and other developing countries. This has even been confirmed at UN Conferences on Trade and Development as well as in reports from those conferences. A vibrant software development industry can create jobs and other opportunities for Liberians. Currently, software and services are dominated by the developed world but developing economies are catching up as well. In Liberia, our dependence on imported and proprietary software has stymied innovation and forced us become a repository of pirated software. Worst of all, lack of support for local software developmenthas caused aspiring local software developers to lose motivation while others are simplytoo lazy to learn how to develop software. But I am confident that the development of I-RAMP will lead to a software ecosystem and ultimately to a vibrant software industry that will kindle a new form of youth employment.For such an industry to exist and thrive, the Government of Liberia (GoL), a significant buyer of software will need to provide support. The GoL can help promote local software development by ensuring that at least 50 percent of GoL software and ICT projects procurement are sourced from local software developers and other solutions providers. GoL also needs to launchgrant programs to support the development of local digital content. A grant that provides seed funding for companies entering new media and ICT; that supports internet and mobile phone product and service delivery; should be offered by the GoL. Applicants for these grants should be Liberia citizens over eighteen or Liberian-registered companies/organizations.Other ways GoL could support this initiative is to sponsor software competitions which will enhance innovation and creativity. In addition, GoL should identify ways to encourage software multinational firms like Microsoft, IBM, Red Hat, and Oracle, to offer special incentives such as free development tools, training, certification and marketing support to local software developers. Moreover, a robust and full integration of Open Source Software should be seriously considered by the GoL since it (Open Source Software) allows innovation and competition.The private sector and academia also have roles to play in supporting and ensuring that a vibrant software development industry exists. Providing funding for research, investing in startups or innovative ideas and solutions, are roles the private sector can play. Academia must ensure that quality education is provided and the environment for research is made available. This is WHY I continue to advocate the integration of OPEN SOURCE SOFTWARE in academia. With open source software source code made available, students can learn to develop new and innovative solutions.While we continue to make progress in the ICT sector, there are still barriers that may stagnate if not strangulate the achievement of a vibrant software industry. Some of them include: software piracy (inadequate protection of intellectual propertyrights), no access to venture capital and poor ICT infrastructure. The entertainment­–­especially the music industry- can bear me out on this one. They have been victims of “piracy” for quite some time and so far, this problem still persists. We look forward to the Ministry of Commerce and Industry and the Ministry of Justice to be vehement in instituting and implementing measures to protect Intellectual Property (IP).Finally, the debate that Liberians lack the capacity to develop their own systems and software has been put to rest. I-RAMP is here and plans to be here for good! No more should or must Liberians rely on international consultants or outsource software or other ICT projects when the local capacity exists. This local capacity consists of both internationally trained professionals with extensive background and experience in ICTs as well as locally trained and motivated ICT professionals. To ensure this capacity remains, support must be provided by all stakeholders.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Amb. Brown Challenges KEEP’s Project Beneficiaries

first_imgNewly dedicated learning resource center in Cestos City, River Cess County.– Dedicates US$88K facilitiesLewis G. Brown, former Liberian Ambassador to the United Nations (UN), has called on beneficiaries of the Kids Educational Engagement Project (KEEP) skills training program to adequately utilize skills they have obtained.Brown made the remarks on Wednesday May 1, 2019 at the graduation ceremony of KEEP’s program in tailoring, computer skills and pastry-making.The graduation ceremony also co-incided with the dedication of a learning resource center built and furnished by KEEP, which is expected to empower thousands residents in River Cess County with various skills, including tailoring, computer skills and pastry-making.KEEP is a national non-governmental organization that seeks to promote social justice, development of vulnerable children and youth by strengthening their capacities.The organization was established during the height of the Ebola outbreak in the country in 2014. It is supporting more than 7000 students across the country.Mr. Brown recalled how KEEP’s executive director Brenda B. Moore, has redeemed many Liberians and national non-governmental organizations by properly utilizing the donor’s funds, some of which came from the Indian government through the United Nations Children Education Fund (UNICEF).“Take advantage of the skills and be more productive in society. Additionally, this is a small seed, but as you water it, please allow it to grow,” said Brown, who was instrumental in advocating for KEEP while serving as Liberia’s ambassador to UN.Mr. Brown said when properly utilized, those skills will help to transform their lives and improve the status of the county, indicating that utilizing the new facility will help to multiply and bring more opportunities to the people of Cestos.“God will help you whenever you ready to help yourself. Good things can actually come from River Cess, but invest and believe in yourself. Don’t fail yourself. Be your own light and know that you can be better,” Brown said.Rukshan Ratnam, UNICEF Communication Specialist said UNICEF was pleased to support the center in the County, which will allow many people to benefit. According to him, about 300 students in Cestos are expected to benefit from training in reading that will improve their literacy skills.Mr. Ratnam added that the empowerment of women and girls in sexual and gender based violence (SGBV) will help to alleviate associated cases in the county and Liberia at large.“River Cess County has its first library, which brings joy and happiness to the people. Indirectly, this project will benefit students, community members, teachers and also neighboring counties. UNICEF believes in quality education, which prompted the organization to support the initiative,” he said.Wellington Geevon Smith, a prominent citizen of River Cess County and former superintendent, who also delivered the keynote address, called on the citizens to utilize the skills acquired and be more productive in developing and improving their lives.“We need to take advantage of the skills acquired, which will enable the people to provide more for us. This learning resource center indicates that someone is still thinking about us, especially empowerment. More importantly, this program will have a long positive impact in the county,” Mr. Smith told citizens of River Cess.Graduates of the KEEP skills training program marching shortly before the kickoff of the program in Cestos City, River Cess County.Mr. Smith further indicated that the graduation and dedication of the new facility was made possible through Ambassador Lewis G. Brown who was concerned about citizens of River Cess, while serving as Liberia’s Ambassador to the United Nations (UN).He further called on the citizens of River Cess to unite and help in transforming the county, stating, “this county needs everyone and we must continue to hold on together and let’s go our differences.”Mr. Smith added that the success of the program rests on the shoulders of the county’s leadership as well as community residents and the beneficiaries. He also applauded KEEP and its partners for the level of support and empowerment, an initiative that stands to make the difference in the county.The funding was provided by the Indian Government, with oversight supervision by United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).Mrs. Brenda Brewer Moore, KEEP’s executive director, has expressed gratitude to the Indian Government for bringing the program to reality. She also expressed gratitude to UNICEF.“We have provided people with alternatives and some decided to do pastry, tailoring, and computers. After ten months, KEEP has exceeded the targeted numbers by training 196 women in various skills,” Mrs. Moore said.Mrs. Moore further called on the county’s leadership and beneficiaries of the facility to properly manage the center and ensure that the equipment is maintained.The Wednesday’s program brought together KEEP’s beneficiaries, partners and county’s officials.River Cess County Superintendent J. Bismark Karbiah who is currently ill said he has not been able to implement development as plan since taking office in 2018. However, he was very instrumental in helping KEEP set up the resource center. Recounting the challenges encountered by KEEP to hire a computer literate individual to teach in Cestos City, River Cess County, the Superintendent noted that, “More good things will come in River Cess County, because the plan is to bring total transformation.”He continued: “If the citizens of the county capacities are built, it will help River Cess. Only citizens of River Cess will help in building/transforming the county. Today, we are lobbying to ensure that the teachers’ quarter is built, because payment of rent by teachers who are making small money is challenging.”Supt. Karbiah further said his administration remains grateful to KEEP and its partners for the level of support in building the capacity of the citizens in the county. He added that determination will help to transform the county to artificial beauty and empower the residents more.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

2 Berbice health centres sit as white elephants

first_img3 years after being built…contractors paid in full, remedial works incompleteTwo health centres in Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne) – located respectively at Number 76 Village, Corentyne and at Plegtanker, East Bank Berbice — have not been opened three years after they were constructed.Plegtanker Health CentreDirector of Regional Health Services, Jevaughn Stephens, has said the facilities have not yet been handed over to the Region Health Department, since the contractors responsible for their erection still have remedial works to carry out on the structures.However, those contractors have been paid in full, although the facilities are not functional.The issue was raised last week when the Region Six Regional Democratic Council (RDC) met for its statutory meeting.Vice Chairman Dennis DeRoop bemoaned that after the RDC had budgeted for the facilities, and after their construction had been approved, persons cannot benefit from their existence, even though they were built.He noted that while the building sits at Plegtanker, there is no medical facility for the people on the East Bank of Berbice. The Plegtanker Health Centre was built from allocations in the 2015 budget, and the Number 76 Health Centre was built from allocations in the 2016 budget. In excess of $13 million was spent on the two health centres.“Why are we spending this money and we are not delivering services?” DeRoop asked. “We are not utilising these places,” he lamented.Number 76 Village, Corentyne Health CentreRegional Chairman David Armogan disclosed that he had recently visited both facilities. “Bush is taking over the buildings,” he asserted. “Even the compound is not being cleaned. It looks like a building that is just left to go (into decay). It doesn’t look like a health centre, and something that we are serious about,” Armogan noted.Director of Regional Health Services, Jevaughn Stephens, explained that after both facilities had been completed, the projects were referred to the Public Works Department for remedial work. Plumbing and electrical works have also not yet been completed, Stephens added.“Government had passed out upgraded ‘minimum standards for health centres’, and we shared that with the engineers. It has to do with the type of seats and all that is required; and we have already procured furnishing for both facilities, and our staff is trained and ready to take over those facilities,” Stephens said.Stephens has said that as soon as the Regional Engineering Department hands over the buildings to the Health Department, the Health Department would be able to put both health centres into use.Calling this response “ridiculous”, Armogan questioned when the contractors were asked to carry out remedial works. “This is totally unacceptable!” he said. “We can’t come three years after and say the reason why it was not opened as yet is because there were structural deficiencies. That should have been identified weeks after the building was completed,” Armogan declared.Plegtanker residents, meanwhile, have explained that it costs them up to $10,000 to get to the New Amsterdam Hospital, while the facility has been a white elephant for years.Haridai Tambron, a resident of Plegtanker for 41 years, said construction of the health centre commenced in 2015. According to Tambron, residents in the community have to travel to either the New Amsterdam Hospital, some 20 miles away, or the Sisters Health Centre, situated thirteen miles away.Plegtanker resident Nandika Tomby explained that it is very expensive to take sick persons to the New Amsterdam Hospital. “We does have to hire a car to reach out…it does take like three hours to reach out. Sometimes we got to pay $10,000 or $12,000 to hire a car to go to the hospital in New Amsterdam.”Several Plegtanker residents have said they eagerly await the day when the facility would be opened.last_img read more

How Pellegrini and Klopp compare as managers

first_img 6. Klopp won two Bundesliga titles and the German Cup during his seven-year spell at Borussia Dortmund – keep reading to see who the best players the men have managed 11 11 11 9. Pellegrini’s longest stint at any one club was his five years at Villarreal – The Chilean has managed a total of 11 clubs, including Manchester City, with longevity not something he has gained recognition for in his career. 11 5. Pellegrini led Manchester City to the Premier League and League Cup double in the 2013/14 season. He became the first manager outside of Europe to clinch the English title – Pellegrini has also won Copa Chile 1995 and Copa Interamericana 1993 (Universidad Catolica), Serie A 1999 (LDU Quito, Ecuador), Primera Division 2000/01 and Copa Mercosur 2001 (San Lorenzo), Primera Division 2002/03 (River Plate), UEFA Intertoto Cup 2004 (Villarreal) 11 4. Klopp has a loss rate of 27 per cent in Germany and England 11 8. Klopp was key in the development of Robert Lewandowski, with the forward’s performances at the Westfalenstadion helping him earn a move to Bayern Munich 11 3. Pellegrini’s loss rate is 25 per cent in England and Spain 2. Jurgen Klopp has a win rate of 49.4 per cent in his Bundesliga – 1 and 2 – (Mainz, Borussia Dortmund) and Premier League managerial career 11 Manchester City v Liverpool kicks off at 5.30pm on Saturday 21 November and is live on talkSPORT.Despite facing Chelsea early on his role as Liverpool manager career, such is the poor form of the reigning Premier League champions, that it perhaps shouldn’t have been considered Jurgen Klopp’s first real test in England.This weekend’s clash with Manchester City, however, will be viewed as just that. The Reds go head-to-head with the title leaders at the Etihad Stadium, where Manuel Pellegrini will look to unsettle his rival in the dugout.The two managers contrast greatly; Klopp the charismatic and headline-stealing leader and Pellegrini the calm and understated coach.So, how have two such men compared throughout their managerial careers?Liverpool is Klopp’s third managerial job after Mainz and Borussia Dortmund, while Pellegrini has taken charge of, among others, Real Madrid, Malaga and Villarreal.Click the arrow above, right, to find out the trophies they have lifted, their success rate, and more.Stats courtesy of transfermarkt 7. Pellegrini deserves praise for the form of Sergio Aguero. Last season the Argentine claimed the Golden Boot having scored 26 Premier League goals, his highest tally in a City shirt 1. Manuel Pellegrini has a win rate of 52.6 per cent in his La Liga (Villarreal, Malaga, Real Madrid) and Premier League (Man City) managerial career – see how Jurgen Klopp compares by clicking the yellow arrow above, right, 11 11 10. Klopp spent seven years at Mainz and Borussia Dortmund and remains the longest-serving manager for both clubs – The German has managed three clubs, including Liverpool, and appears to quickly earn the trust of the board. Could he finally be a long-term solution for the Reds? 11 11. Klopp and Pellegrini have gone head-to-head once in a thrilling Champions League quarter-final in the 2012/13 season when the City boss was at Malaga – The first leg at the Estadio La Rosaleda finished goalless, but the second leg at the Westfalenstadion was filled with drama. Malaga led 2-1 in normal time, leaving Dortmund needing two goals in stoppage time to go through – and they did just that, sealing a 3-2 victory to secure a spectacular comeback.last_img read more


first_imgTHE ARCHITECTS behind Letterkenny Irish language secondary school Coláiste Ailigh have shortlisted for the prestigious 2015 European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture – the Mies van der Rohe Award.Of the nine projects, which have to have been completed within the previous two years, five are in Ireland, two are in the UK, one is in Norway and one is in Denmark.The practices selected for the 2015 Mies award are: McGarry Ní Éanaigh for Coláiste Ailigh, a secondary school in Letterkenny, Co Donegal; Michael Kelly and Dan Costelloe for The Cow House, a residential project that used specially-engineered windows and creatively used local materials; Solearth for Airfield Evolution that has brought a sense of the countryside into suburban Dublin; Waterford City Architects for the stone-facaded Waterford Medieval Museum in the city’s historic Viking Quarter; A2 Architects for a sculpture park pavilion in Norway on the site of a former paper mill that houses an installation by artist John Gerrard; and Belfast-based Hall McKnight for Vartov Square, a new public space adjacent to the City Hall in Copenhagen.  COLÁISTE AILIGH DESIGN NOMINATED FOR TOP EUROPEAN ARCHITECTURE AWARD was last modified: February 5th, 2015 by John2Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:awardColaiste AilighMcGarry Ní Éanaigh for Coláiste Ailighlast_img read more

Burbank floats trash, sewer fee hikes

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORE11 theater productions to see in Southern California this week, Dec. 27-Jan. 2“No one wants to pay more for basic services,” Teaford said. “We’re not the most expensive. We’re not the cheapest. We’re within the range of comparable cities.” Glendale is also proposing a 10 percent hike in trash fees this year, raising the average monthly bill from $14.41 to $15.85 a month. The Los Angeles City Council recently approved a rate increase, raising the monthly trash fee from $11 to $28 by 2010 to pay for another 1,000 police officers. Rising costs for natural gas to fuel trash trucks are helping push the costs up. In Burbank, a new billing services system upgrade installed last year has driven up billing costs 66 percent. Burbank last raised trash fees last year, when they jumped from $18.45 to $19 a month. Sewer rates also were raised last year from $14.99 to $16. BURBANK – The city’s Public Works Department is proposing a trash fee hike of 26 percent over the next three years because of jumps in cost of living for refuse employees, natural gas that fuels the trash trucks and billing costs. If approved by the City Council on June 20, the average trash fee for a single-family household after three years would jump from the current $19 a month to $24.16, Public Works Director Bonnie Teaford said. Burbank is also proposing a sewer fee increase, pushing the average residential bill from $16 a month to $20.53 a month after three years. If approved, the rate increases could go into effect July 1. The proposed fee increases follow on the heels of a similar proposed hike by the Burbank Water and Power Department that could increase the average resident’s monthly bill by between $2 and $4. Residents currently pay an average $63 a month for electricity and $36 a month for water, officials said. Councilman Jef Vander Borght said the proposed increases could make a big impact on residents who live on fixed incomes. “People who are at the lowest economic situation right now in dire need may find 9 percent too much for them,” he said. (818) 546-3306160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

Santi Cazorla ends two-year injury nightmare

first_img Best clips, calls and talkSPORT moments of 2019, feat Hearn, McCoist and more predicted smart causal gameday His long-awaited return came on Monday in a friendly against Hercules.The midfield wizard wrote on Instagram: “Very happy to get back to do what I like most.“There is a lot of work ahead for me but it is the first step, eternally grateful to the people for the care, it has been worth it to get here, THANK YOU.”Cazorla will continue his rehab work with the Yellow Submarine and could feature Marseille, Montpellier, Sheffield Wednesday and Wolves before their regular season starts. who plays? LATEST FOOTBALL NEWS Tottenham v Brighton LIVE: talkSPORT commentary and team news for Boxing Day opener How Man United could line up for Newcastle clash – will Pogba start? Every current Premier League club’s best kit from the past decade Cazorla on the Emirates pitch possible xi How Arsenal could line up in Arteta’s first official game in charge – Ozil return? How Chelsea could line up against Southampton – what system will Lampard play? Tottenham predicted XI to face Brighton with Mourinho expected to make big changes Santi Cazorla finally returned to first-team action with Villarreal, bringing his horrible injury nightmare to an end.The former Arsenal man had missed almost two years of football after suffering various knee and achilles problems.He required eight operations on his achilles tendon after damaging it in October 2016 and the injury grew increasingly worse.The area contracted gangrene, which meant it began eating part of the tendon, to the horror of Gunners fans.But he has continued his agonisingly slow comeback and, after his Arsenal contract expired, former club Villarreal offered him the chance to win a deal by featuring in their pre-season. 1 How Liverpool could line up at Leicester with midfielder set for lengthy absence highlights ALTERED NEW ERA last_img read more


first_imgOnly Letterkenny cartoonist Jarla could make a ‘political football’ out of a game of football.The well known artist might claim to be impartial but we have a sneaking suspicion he’ll be shouting for the men form the Cathedral Town.   HOUSE ABOUT THAT? JARLA’S VIEW ON THE GAA COUNTY FINAL was last modified: November 4th, 2012 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:cartoonistcounty finalGAAJarlalast_img read more


first_imgDeele College’s very own boxing champion, Brett McGinty is currently preparing for one of the biggest competitions of his life, as he prepares for the European Youth Championships in Russia in later this month.But next week, Brett will head to Dublin to take part in a training camp, which will hopefully prepare him for a title bid in Eastern Christopher O’Neill The young St Johnston man, who is a TY student in the school, is no stranger to success at this level, having previously won a bronze medal in this prestigious competition.Boxing at the 70 kg category, Brett is looking forward to the week-long training camp in Dublin, where he will hone his tactics for the forthcoming battles.Brett, who also excels on the football field with his native Kildrum and Maiden City in Derry, is more at home in the centre of the ring, where he combines explosive power with nifty footwork.Irish coaches have ear-marked Brett for glory from a young age and the Deele College student is hoping that these finals can lay the foundations for future success in the sport. “I need to get a medal, that is the number one aim and when that is achieved, I want to make sure that the colour is gold. I know the opposition will be tough I’m determined to work as hard as possible to make sure I’m physically and mentally ready for the challenge ahead.“Eugene O’Kane, my coach is the most dedicated coach I’ve ever seen and I want to win to make the hard work pay off for both of us.”Principal, Joe Boyle says that the school is very proud of Brett’s achievements and he has no doubt that the school will be welcoming back a European medallist, when Brett returns from Russia.“To achieve what Brett has achieved in the world of boxing illustrates the effort and commitment he has shown to the sport. With the help of his coaches and continued dedication, we are in no doubt that Brett can take back a medal from Russia.”He added, “To have a European medallist in the school is a great honour and I, along with all the staff, would like to wish him all the best, as he prepares for these games.” BRETT AIMING FOR EUROPEAN GOLD IN EUROPE was last modified: October 18th, 2014 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:boxingBrett McGinleydeele collegedonegallast_img read more