Seven civil society organisations (CSOs) in Liberia received twelve brand new Lenovo laptops on Thursday March 25, 2021 from the Executive Director of NAYMOTE – Partners for Democratic Development, Eddie Jarwolo.
“This is intended to enhance their [CSOs] capabilities to effectively and efficiently deliver quality services”, Jarwolo shared during the handing over ceremony which took place in Monrovia, capital of Liberia.
“This is [a] good step for civil society organisations after a shock of the emergence of COVID-19 which is affecting every sector of the world most especially on the African Continent”, remarked Mathew S. Karley, Senior Programme Manager of Youth Coalition for Education in Liberia (YOCEL) after receiving a brand-new Lenovo laptop on behalf of his organisation.
The twelve laptops were donated by WACSI and Techsoup under the Techsoup laptop donation programme for CSOs. The twelve laptops are among 102 laptops that will be handed to 40 CSOs in seven West African countries: Cameroon, Nigeria, Benin, Ghana, Sierra leone, The Gambia and Liberia.
The decision to offer laptops to 102 CSOs was informed by findings from an empirical research conducted by WACSI in 2020 with support from Wilde Ganzen. The research sought to understand the extent to which COVID-19 affected CSOs in six of the seven countries, excluding Benin.
Through a survey, desk research and focus group discussions, it was realised that, at the onset of the pandemic, CSOs in Liberia were not prepared to have their staff work remotely.
“In fact, many of the CSOs stated that they lacked the means and technology needed to have their staff work remotely and still be effective”, the researcher, Aaron Weah-Weah reiterated.
As a result, a key recommendation from the research holds that CSOs need “to acquire responsive technological facilities, build their staff capacity through training in IT and digital technologies to prepare for work under hazardous conditions such as the COVID-19 pandemic”.
This challenge became even more complex given that organisations’ financial resources were depleted because of the pandemic.
Recognising this gap, WACSI and Techsoup resorted to ensure that CSOs in Liberia are provided with state-of-the-art laptops to facilitate their work.
“This donation from WACSI will help to enhance the working of YOCEL, most especially at a time where we will be recruiting some interns to form part of our Interns-Space Programme”, explains the Senior Programme Manager of YOCEL.
YOCEL has already identified how the laptop will be used to achieve its mission.
“This will serve us in many ways but most especially to enhance our program[me] department through our interns-Space Program[me]. It is a flagship program[me] that allows university graduates and students to help them in enhancing their capacity within various disciplines. For instance, if you’re an accountant, we provide an opportunity for you to serve as account officer or to work in other areas within the Finance Department”, Karley explains.
In addition to NAYMOTE and YOCEL, other organisations that benefited from this initiative include African Youth Peer Review Committee, Formidable Initiatives for Women and Girls, Initiative for Community Empowerment Liberia, Liberia Youth for Progressive Change, Youth United for Community Development Association.
For Karley, this is a significant milestone for YOCEL, one which is timely and much needed.
“I do appreciate the donation and it came at the right time”, he says.
Several CSOs across the region are in dire need of this support. To join WACSI and Techsoup to respond to the technological needs of under-resourced organisations in West Africa, contact [email protected]