First Lady Sandra Granger on Monday charged the 66 graduates at the Fourth Youth Leadership and Training Programme to use their newly acquired skills to become effective leaders in their homes, schools, workplaces and communities.“I charge you to dream beyond that; to have the vision and develop the stamina that will take you to participation in local, regional and general elections as the honest, forthright leaders our country needs,” First Lady Granger said in her address at the closing ceremony, held at the Madewini Training Centre on the Soesdyke-Linden Highway.The graduates pay keen attention as the First Lady makes her addressThis latest group of graduates are employed young persons, who were selected to participate in the sessions aimed at teaching them practical leadership related skills.“You were selected because someone recognised your leadership potential,” the First Lady said, even as she reminded them that their participation in the training over two weekends is a demonstration of their commitment and desire to enhance themselves and serve their communities.The training programme is a combination of theory and practice that was designed to fill the gaps in training youth across the country. These youths are taught leadership, management, event planning, communications, effective public speaking, meeting, and meeting procedures and other ‘soft’ skills such as courtesy and deportment.The First Lady encouraged the graduates to use what they learnt, “to begin to function efficiently and effectively as a leader.”Meanwhile, Presidential Advisor on Youth Empowerment Aubrey Norton said he is always pleased to attend the closing ceremonies as he would have noted the participants’ measurable progress from start to finish.He said that the programme, “focuses on leadership by example… We seek to inculcate self-discipline and love for your country. We are urging the young people that are trained to seek to improve their own lives as well as the lives of other young people in the community.”Youth from all but the Barima-Waini, Potaro-Siparuni and Upper Takutu-Upper Berbice regions participated in the latest training, Norton revealed.Special prizes were given to Wilton Hinds and Shareefah Parks who were named the male and female participant who best exemplified leadership, and Akeem Hyndman and Tanya Hooper, named the male and female with the most outstanding personality. These awardees were all selected by their peers.The graduates celebrated their success and charmed the audience with a mixed musical presentation that included a rendition of “I believe the children are our future” and “Lean on me”.Director of Youth Melissa Carmichael, Deputy Director of Youth Leslyn Boyce and Ronald Austin Jr, Training and Education Officer were also present at the ceremony.
Last week’s article provided some much needed insight on the Chief Information Office, Republic of Liberia, the CIO Regime and the current Chief Information Officer-RL. Based on the number of calls and emails received after that article was published, I can safely say that there were a lot of folks who were totally oblivious to the existence of that office. This week, my intent is to identify and delineate some of the issues and challenges that have been strangulating efforts to achieve a robust Government of Liberia’s (GoL’s) ICT environment. I also use this medium to acquaint you with efforts that are and will be taken to ameliorate the Government’s ICT environment. Just as many people were not cognizant of the existence of the CIO-RL, so too do many citizens, residents and our international partners not know who decides, plans or implements GoL ICT projects. Worst yet, ask a few of the ICT professionals who work in GoL ministries, agencies, corporation/commissions (MACs), about how Government’s ICT resources (software, Hardware, network equipment, training, services, etc) are purchased; who makes the decisions; how are those decisions made; and based on what standards? That ICT professional might likely tell you that purchases are made without his/her knowledge. All he/she knows is that when ICT resources are made available, his job is to ensure that they are deployed and operational and sometimes maintained. There are no standard hardware or software platforms (dell or HP, Microsoft Windows or Linux) or no standards at all, no warranties, no comprehensive training programs, and worst of all, no due diligence (in procurement) that subsumes total cost of ownership (TCO).Web and Software contracts are signed without the ICT (tech folks) or the legal department’s involvement. As I write this article, we currently have Government entities that have their websites temporarily shut down or “hijacked” (as it is locally termed) because egregious contracts are/were not honored. Oftentimes, when this happens, the MAC loses its web presence (including content). More importantly, it loses its “customers” (citizens, residents, businesses, global partners). Should this be happening at all?Software contracts are signed and implemented with little or no documentation and nothing that resembles a Service Level Agreement (SLA). In such a situation, when there is a fault in the use of the software, and there is no technical support, the ICT/IT department simply discontinues its use and reverts to the manual way of doing things. This is without a doubt, a waste of tax payers’ money. Then we also have Government institutions that are on the Web using “.Com” and “.Org” top level and second level domains when they should be using the “.Gov.Lr” second level domain name. Worst yet, there are official documentations that carry the “@Yahoo” or “@Gmail” email accounts, when the official email address should follow this format: GoLpersonnel@GoLinstitution.Gov.LrOther issues such as the individuals bringing their own computers to do “Government’s work”; taking home Government laptops without proper “check-out and check-in” procedures; employees installing their own software on Government’s computers totally ignoring license agreements; watching movies on Government computers during work hours are just a few that need to be addressed. What’s even worrisome is the use of pirated software on Government computers, an act which is not only ubiquitous, but is often perpetrated by ICT professionals who might not understand the implications of their actions. This often happens because someone might have previously recommended and implemented a solution (software, system) that the MAC (entity) could not sustain but forced its implementation because it satisfied the need at the time. Meanwhile, someone got paid and left! And now, the fight against Ebola has brought multiple international donors to Liberia who are building their systems to provide assistance. That’s very good and we are grateful for the help being provided. But we will not revert to the past, where partners and other donors provided solutions that the Government could never sustain, but were implemented because they(systems) helped serve their needs at the time. When they left, those programs and systems died because the GoL could not sustain them. For example, a donor or NGO provides $20,000 in assistance and that money is spent on the purchase of a Microsoft Windows Server and other proprietary software that require yearly licensing fees. The question is, who pays the licensing fees when that NGO or donor leaves? Total Cost of Ownership must be subsumed and understood before accepting and implementing solutions.Now that I have said all of the above and could say more had it not been for space limitations, let me tell you what the road ahead looks like for GoL’s ICT environment. The Ebola Crisis has given us a chance to build those things we were lacking and fix all that we did faultily. We should take advantage of this opportunity to leapfrog into modern paradigms; something that the GoL has been making significant efforts to achieve.Through the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications, USAID-GEMS, the World Bank (WARCIP-Liberia Project), and other funding partners, the GoL has begun several initiatives that are geared toward bringing “sanity” to GoL’s ICT environment. An e-Government program has begun that will lead to a fully functional, robust, efficient and effective GoL ICT environment based on standards and best practices. In addition to a bespoke e-Government strategy, policies governing the use of GoL ICTs have been developed and gradually disseminated among MACs. GoL’s online presence is in the process of experiencing a “total reboot.” In addition, communications, collaboration and information sharing will be optimized, modernized, and fully realized, while many of our traditional processes will soon be automated. The primary goal of all of these initiatives is to provide information and services to citizens, residents businesses and global partners in a seamless, transparent, effective way; ensure operational efficiency and effectiveness within GoL MACs, reduce costs and achieve economic development through ICTs.To succeed in doing all of what I just mentioned, we will need an “ALL HANDS ON DECK” approach. For starters, every MAC needs to or MUST consult the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications through the Chief Information Office for standards, types of purchases, SLAs, etc. New projects must involve the Chief Information Office and the Project Management Office. MAC’s heads or their deputies responsible for signing ICT purchases and contracts MUST ensure that they garner the technical expertise of the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications through the CIO, their internal CIO or IT Director/Manager, and their legal departments. More importantly, MAC’s heads MUST ensure that they fully support and enforce the GoL e-Government and ICT policies.Finally, we have been given an opportunity to build/fix or contribute to the building and fixing of our ICT environment through various means. Our contribution will determine the future of the sector. Introducing new and ambitious approaches to reduce costs and waste in government ICT procurement and improve operational efficiency may not be an easy task but it is doable. The challenges involved in achieving our goals are infinite. But all of us must do what we can to ensure that what was said to be impossible becomes a possibility. If we fail to do so, then we would have failed our motherland.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
Gardai are warning motorists to take care this morning due to rain, wind and surface water.“Keep a safe distance from vehicles in front,” said a spokesman.“There has been heavy rain overnight in Co Donegal and this has caused some roads to be flooded. “Patrols are out across the county ensure the safety of all drivers.”Rain will clear by the afternoon but there will be more heavy rain tonight, says Met Eireann, which could cause localised flooding.Last night’s rain was accompanied by heavy winds. GARDAI ROADS WARNING AFTER DELUGE was last modified: December 19th, 2012 by BrendaShare 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:donegal weatherGARDAI ROADS WARNING AFTER DELUGErain