The Africa Technology and Transparency Initiative (ATTI) has entered into partnership with iLab Liberia, the country’s foremost tech space. iLab Liberia is a non-profit computer laboratory providing access to cutting-edge technology, expert IT assistance and free training sessions that are tailored to suit the country’s ICT demands. The incubation space also hosts tech events and serves as a networking space for tech enthusiasts and professionals working in the country’s IT industry.
‘We are making an investment in the people of Liberia. iLab Liberia is an avenue that can tap into this innovation that are developed and run by Liberians, says Mendi Njonjo, ATTI’s fund manager.
ATTI will fund operational costs, including supporting iLab’s work with non-profit organizations and the media around Open Data and the Freedom of Information Act awareness for citizens.
iLab Liberia opened its doors in 2012 and is based in the capital city of Monrovia. ATTI’s partnership with the tech space will run until December 2013.
Years of civil war destroyed most of the country’s infrastructure, making Liberia a challenging environment in which to promote transparency via ICT. Furthermore, the government’s capacity to share information with citizens is limited. In the face of these challenges, iLab seeks to generate a demand for open data, develop the skills needed to share information in this digital age, and provide some of the necessary infrastructure to facilitate the distribution and collection of information.
With only one percent of Liberia’s population having access to the internet and with no institutions of higher learning offering appropriate technology courses, iLab Liberia faces a sea of challenges in ensuring that Liberians find their space in a rapidly changing digital world.
Hivos supports iLab Liberia because we believe that open access to information and transparency – the free flow of information from policy makers to their citizens – is necessary for people to be fully engaged in the democratic process and to help end corruption and engender accountability in leadership. In a country that is trying to get over the scars of conflict, iLab Liberia, is creating a space that is opening opportunity for the re-building of aspirations.