Monday, 10 September 2012

Informatics Viruses, the Liberian IT Malaria

Contributed by Guillaume Foutry

I have always found malaria to be a scary disease: there is no cure, you have to be careful all the time with mosquitoes and even if you got it once you can catch it again. Let alone mention that an awful lot of people die from it every year (According to the WHO 655 000 deaths in 2010, mostly among African children).

Unfortunately, working in the IT sector in Liberia, I feel viruses are the digital equivalent of malaria: they are widespread, easily transmitted through USB sticks that you plug into a computer and stay hidden on your machine for a while. But when they strike, they can freeze your computer, damage the hard drive and destroy your files forever.

At NATC, working with organizations of all sizes in Liberia, we have a great exposure to viruses’ issues on computers and servers. Again, the parallel between malaria and informatics viruses can be extended to the treatment: prevention is by far the best thing to do.

Here is what NATC recommends:
  • Install an antivirus software on your computer: We recommend you to use Norton Antivirus
  • Keep your anti virus up-to-date: this is as important as having the antivirus itself. If you do not update it regularly, your antivirus will not be able to detect and destroy the latest viruses
  • Do not plug USB sticks on your server: USB sticks are the most common way of virus transmission
  • Do not open emails sent by unknown contacts: they might contain malware. Just delete them
  • Do not click on links that you do not know what they link to
  • If you have a Mac, get an antivirus: even if your own computer might not be infected because it is not a Windows OS, you might transmit the infection to other computers.
If you suspect you have a virus on your computer, activate your antivirus and let it scan your computer. It should identify the virus and deal with it. If you still experience issues, please contact us and we will be more than happy to “cure” your computer.

Monday, 3 September 2012

Empowering a Liberian NGO with a Website

Contributed by Guillaume Foutry

Websites and social media are fantastic communication tools for NGOS, offering them the possibility to reach out quickly and at a very low cost existing and potential donors. Unfortunately, NGOs in Liberia do not always have the knowledge or skills to build and maintain their presence on these platforms.

This is where NATC comes in and can do everything for these organizations. We recently worked with the Angie Brooks International Centre (ABIC), a Monrovia based NGO that aims to empower women in West Africa to trigger social and economic development.

After discussing with them, we helped them to identify what the goals of the website should be and to which audience it should be built for. We then provided them with a range of options for the website design and architecture and assisted them with the copy and assets.

As the objective was to build something simple that could be easily maintained by ABIC staff, we decided to use Bluehost for the hosting solution and Wordpress for building/managing the website. We also found a flexible, easy to change, beautiful design for the website. The current set up ensures that ABIC, independently from NATC, can add new content to the website. And if in the future new features/functionalities need to be added, Wordpress offers many quick solutions through its plugins system.

We felt it was an enriching experience for both sides as they got a better understanding of what the successful components of a website are and we got to know a lot more about their activities and the impact they have here in Liberia.

The website is now live and you can have a look at It will enable ABIC to reach two objectives: reach out more potential donors and increase the exposure of the NGO, but also create a new donation stream, as users will be able to make online donations. Above all, the website gives ABIC a voice online, something essential for such an organization in 2012.

If you would like to get a website built, please get in touch with us as we can offer you a range of affordable solutions. If ABIC aims to empower women, NATC wants to empower businesses and organizations, helping them to grow thanks to products and services we provide.