Friday, 23 December 2016

Season's Greetings from NATC

Introductory blog post from our new staff


My name is Farman Elahi. I am from Pakistan. I am an IT Technician since 1998. I started my expertise from my school time.  That time we were working on Pentium I and II with Operating System MS Dos and Windows 98. I have worked with different brands such as Dell, IBM, Compaq, Lenovo, Hp, Asus and also Apple. I have experience on PC computers, workstation computers, and mini computers.

I started my local business in Pakistan in 2004. I have experience in diagnosing and repairing all types of computer, accessories and components. I have experience of all kinds of operating system software and application software.

I have worked with different companies, NGOs, Colleges, and the government sector on a contract basis. I also have teaching experience with various colleges and institutes. These include: 

  • I also worked with Dewan Salman Company Hatter as a computer technician from 2004 to 2006 
  • Mujahid Gee Limited in 2006.
  • PWD (in Haripur) on a  maintenance contract from 2006 to 2015
  • Maintenance with SRSP, an NGO, from 2006 to 2007 
  • Badban, an NGO, from 2006 to 2015 in Hazara region
  • STEP NGO in G-11 Markaz, Islamabad with a computer maintenance contract from 2009 to 2013
  • NIMIL College, from 2006 to 2011
  • NEST College, from 2008 to 2015
  • WEST College as instructor and lab manager, from 2011 to 2015
  • Ayub Law College, from 2011 to 2014
  • Chanar College, from 2010 to 2012

I am familiar with MS Office 2003 and 2007, Basics of Computer Hardware, Graphic Designing, Networking, Internet surfing, 3D Studio Max, DIT, Fox Pro, PHP language, Ms Dos and all operating system software.

I dreamt in 2004 of working for a company. I come in Liberia on 4 February 2016. My dream was completed when I came for interview in New Africa Technology. Thanks a lot my God.  

                                                                                                                      Farman Elahi
                                                                                                                 IT Technician NATC

Thursday, 8 December 2016

Installation errors

Hey Everyone, 

As an IT technician, we face a lot of issues which are repeated regularly. So, it makes you more familiar, and, when a client starts to explain his/her problem, you most likely already know the solution and that’s why I love my profession. 

A week ago, we got a call from one of our client’s, Population Services International Liberia (PSI). They purchased two brand new laptops and while trying to install software they were unsuccessful. 

The question to myself was why they would carry on installation when we are their IT consultant and if it creates even bigger problem, the headache becomes ours most especially the tech who’s handling it.

But again I couldn’t ask the client I am there to solve problem. 

I arrived on the customer site and the laptops were handed over to me and the problem they faced was also explained. 

The client bought a copy of Microsoft Office 365 suite which is Cloud based ex: Excel, Word, Outlook, PowerPoint, Access, Publisher, OneDrive, Skype for Business etc. In order to access or download any of these programs if not installed you will have open a web browser, type in organization website and login with your organization email address and password. 

So these two new laptops needed the programs to be installed on them. Then I tried the installation over and saw this ‘’this is a fatal error message, the installation could not be completed because another application is in use.’’ 

I knew the problem right away and how to go about solving it after noticing that it was a Microsoft Windows 10 Operating System (OS). Then I thought, Microsoft Windows 10 OS machines come with Microsoft Office suite preinstalled so in order to complete this installation I need to first end the task in the background and uninstall these programs. 

This was how I resolved the issue:

1. Right click on task bar and open ‘’Task Manager’
2. Click on ‘’Details’’ 
3. Click on Microsoft Office 2013 and see that it is highlighted 
4. Click on ‘’End Task’’ and close. After doing this, open Control Panel and locate the preinstalled version of Microsoft Office and click on ‘’Uninstall’’ and restart the laptop. Connect back to the Internet, open the web browser and login with the user’s E-mail ID and password. Then download and install MS Office 365. 

The installation was successful. Finding solutions to client problems both on the phone and on site is our everyday work as a tech. Thanks for reading and hope this information finds you well.  

Prepared By: Daniel Collins  

New Microsoft product to back up your documents

Hi Blog Readers! 

Throughout the month of November, I have been busy with lot of site visits, doing IT maintenance for hardware and other related IT works, but there is one job which I will love to share with you.  

One of our clients requested us to do a cloud backup. This is simply backing up  all of your important data  to the Internet. There is a new way of storing all of your important data on the cloud server. This system works like our normal external servers that we have in our work places.  

There are a few differences when you back up your file on the cloud:

 1. You still have all your important documents in tact after experiencing a crashed hard drive. Even though sometimes we are able to retrieve our data, a back up on an external hard drive or server is not 100% guaranteed.

2. In case of severe irreparable damage to your hardware, you still have your data stored on the cloud. 

3. Even if  there was some burglary at home or office and your laptop has been stolen, this is a guarantee that all of your data will still be there for you. 

4. You can easily work on a document from anywhere using Microsoft 360 online.  

NATC came up with the use of Microsoft One Drive sync which helps in accomplishing our customer’s aims. This is software designed by Microsoft and helps in the automatic upload of files, folders and pictures over the Internet for backup purpose. It normally comes with Window 8.1 and Windows 10 Operating System. 

If you are installing it on a Windows 7 Operating System then you first have to create a Microsoft or Outlook account and download the One Drive setup.  After downloading the app, you will run as administrator, and you will be asked to enter your username and password you first created. While installing the app you will be asked to choose a particular path or location which you will want to install the one drive. The One Drive app works like our normal folder we save our documents in. All documents saved in this folder   will automatically be uploaded on the cloud once there is a working Internet.  There is a green check mark on each file once it has been automatically uploaded. All you have to do is to save your files, folders and pictures in the rightful path or location.  To make sure your One Drive is working, login to your Microsoft 360 Account, open One Drive and click on recent documents. There you will be able to see all of your documents you posted in the one drive folder.    Thanks for reading my post.  

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

NATC attends Liberia's first TEDx Event!

by Farzana Rasheed

The NATC team was lucky enough to attend Liberia's first ever TEDx Event at Monrovia City Hall. Our whole team was able to participate and, I'm indeed very happy that my staff could experience this occasion together. 

The line up of speakers was impressive and, some of the talks were extremely moving and inspiring. 

Congratulations to Accountability Lab for organising this event and, to all the speakers who shared their stories of courage, resilience and change. 

Monday, 28 November 2016

Posts from our staff

by Farzana Rasheed

Our company blog is a record of our day to day stories, achievements, challenges and records of interesting problems we solve on site.

We ask our new staff to write self introductions and, I've noticed we've got quite an impressive mix of people who have worked at our office over the years, some of them who no longer work with us. But here's a great reading list!

5) Guillaume Foutry (Marketing Consultant):

Self Introduction by Louise Worwele Gray

by Louise Gray

My name is Louise Worwele Gray. I was born on May 2, 1990 at the Star of the Sea Hospital in the township of WestPoint.

My lovely parents are Mr. Ahmed Gray and Mrs. Lucia Blidi. My father is from Sasstown, Grand Kru County and my mother is from Grandcess, Grand Kru County.

I have one brother one sister from the father side and 3 sisters from my mother side. From all my siblings I am the oldest child.

I am Christian and a Catholic from our lady star of the Catholic Church in West Point.

I started my primary education at the Star of the Sea Catholic School in west point. I went high honor roll every period and was given certificates every year. 

When I was promoted to the 5th grade class, I transferred to Saint Teresa Convent High School on Randall Street. It’s an all-girl school. Again I maintained my academy statue and I was always on the honour roll list.

One word I was really fighting  to change was “Can Any Good Things Come Out Of West Point”?

I said to myself yes so many good things can come out of West Point and I am going to be among those people that are fighting very hard to change this state or question.

Let me tell you a little about my father. My father is just a high school graduate because he did not have the financial support to continue his education up to university level, so he vowed to fight hard to give his children higher education.

My father was not working but was a Susu man in the community.  He so honest that people rather saved money with him then to save with a bank.

Through this Susu business he managed to pay my fees up to the 9th grade. When I was promoted to the 10th grade, the school sends 5 students to FAWE Girls to represent them in essay writing on girl’s education in Liberia. Out of the five students selected only two successfully passed the essay: one Sianneh Tehmeh and I. We were awarded a scholarship up to the 12th grade. I maintained this scholarship with good grades until I got out of high school.

In 2009 after my graduation, my father said I should take the Stella Maris Polytechnic entrance exam. I took the entrance and was awaiting the result so I decided to enroll at the Inter Digital Computer where I earned a certificate in MS Doc, Word Window and Excel.

In February 2010, I enrolled at the Stella Maris Polytechnic as a freshman student. I studied Accounting (major) and Management (minor).

In 2011, my father was knocked down by pressure and was taken from one hospital to another for 6months. Later he became much better but was paralysed and he could not continue the Susu business and could not afford to pay my fees again.

Then I decided to do used clothes business because I never wanted by dreams to die. I started with one (1) bill of house hold materials.

After my classes, I would take the clothes from one community to another to sell and that was how I was able to pay my fees for 3 semesters until I was sent for internship.

I was opportune to do my internship with Starks Foundation Inc. A Health, an  NGO which is owned by the CEO, Mr. Gabriel Starks.

Based on my performance, I was employed at Starks Foundation Inc. as the Finance Assistant after my internship program. I graduated with an Associate degree and decided to pursue the BSc degree, too.

During the 2011 elections, Mr. Robert A Sirleaf was offering scholarships to destitute students who had their last semester GPA of 2.5 or above. My GPA was 3.40 so I decided to take advantage of the scholarship.

Something interesting happened: the guy who was heading the scholarship programmed asked that I should give him 75.00 USD for the scholarship! I had no option but to give him the money because the scholarship would last me until I graduate.

My name came out that semester on the scholarship and I fought hard every semester to maintain the required GPA.

That was how I left the used clothes business because I couldn’t be working and selling at the same time.

Starks Foundation was more than an employer to me. They stood for me so many times, during my graduation and even the time I lost my grandfather, they were always willing to open their arms to me.

In 2016 Starks Foundation just ended their 5-year contract with Global Fund. All our activities were on hold and junior staffs were asked to stay home until the company can get another bigger contract. I stayed until June and there was no sign of contract yet so my Boss advised that we could take advantage of other opportunities because we had to sustain our families.

One day I was in a taxi from work and heard a man discussing how MERCY CORPS is helping Liberians through Apprentice program. He said they published lots of vacancies in the classified newspaper every Monday. I decided to get one paper the  following Monday and saw that NATC was accepting applicants for book keeping so I decided to take advantage.

After a week, I received call from William from MERCY CORPS who I have not met in person up to present called me and told me to prepare for an interview with the CEO of  New Africa Technology company. I had opted out of the Mercy Corps programme because the monthly stipend was too low but William offered to connect me to NATC Management for a direct interview. 

The interview went very well and I think the CEO was impressed with my level and professionalism and understanding. She said her main aim of hiring me is to migrate the company’s financial reporting from Excel to QuickBooks. NATC was not able to find an experienced bookkeeper through the Mercy Corps programme but was willing to hire me. 

I started work at NATC on of November 1, 2016 as the OFFICE MANAGER. The working environment is good and straightly professional. The CEO is a little bit tough but I think its professional way of during things because we Liberian like to get fire on our backs before we can do things straight.

My greatest aim and objective is to move NATC reporting from Excel to Quick books at least the end of this year or early next year. A Quickbooks expert recommended by me (my ex trainer) has been hired by NATC to set up the system and train me. 

Lastly I want to appreciate Starks Foundation Inc., Williams from MERCY CORPS and my present employer NATC for this great opportunity and challenge.

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Self Introduction by Janneh Dorbor

by Janneh Dorbor

I am Janneh Borbor, a graduate from the Stella Maris polytechnic with a BBA degree in Accounting. 

I was born in Harbel Firestone, Lower Margibi County unto the union of Mr. James A. Borbor and Mrs. Joetta M. Borbor.

I started my primary and high school education in Harbel and graduated from the St. Pius Xth Catholic High School, with a diploma and Division 3 in the West Africa Examination Council (WAEC) examinations.

I previously worked for Nepenjo Reality and Investment, Inc. as the Stockroom and Finance Clerk and also with Innovative Architecture & Engineering Corporation, where I served as Cashier intern.

I have come to realize that going to college to obtain a degree in a specific field of studied is a smart and good move but what we forget to understand is the lack of work experience in that area of studies. Most companies or entities will not hire you for said reason; lack of experience. Companies nowadays will not take the risk of training people who will later exit the said company after being trained by the said company. Hence, people are being hiring based on experience and qualifications.

With the new programme of apprenticeship launched by Mercy Corps to empower the youth will go a way of getting people trained for the job market. This also gives you the chance to learn on the job.

For my gratitude, I will like to extend my sincere appreciation and a big thanks to NATC (New Africa Technology) for accepting me as an intern in their company. While at NATC, I hope to achieve and gather the requisite experience and learn a whole of new things.  

Sunday, 16 October 2016

Blog Post on Panasonic KX-TE S824 ADVANCE HYBRID SYSTEM Configuration

Dear Readers,

When started as an IT trainee with New Africa Technology Company (NATC), it was such a difficult long way to reach where I am today. Nothing comes easy in this life and to make it happen, you have to work towards it.

In the years back while serving as a trainee, I used to wonder on when I will reach a point where I would be trusted or depended upon to complete a piece of task. All alone the way then, I have been supervised by other senior staff members. This drew my attention to remain focus and follow every instruction given. Since the suspension of my formal department head, my experience of taking over as a leader of the team have become very challenging and interesting for me. As I said, I never thought I would reach this far.

I will share with you today what I experienced during the past week. Our client asked us to extend their network via wireless connectivity and the telephone system (Panasonic KX-TES 824 ADVANCE HYBRID SYSTEM) desk phone. The wireless router MikroTik Cloud Router Switch was configured successful, tested and working. This was cool.

The Panasonic Console Box has an 8-16 ports card already installed.  In order to extend the lines to their new building, we had to purchase another card that that will run from 17-24 ports to get our extension going. Now all my idea was ‘’ just insert the card, run the new cable and insert them into the new ports and it should assign a number just like a DHCP router." 

I started to test all the lines including the new lines, once I added, but believe me, all numbers were mixed up, meaning, line 100 as assigned would appear as 125 or something. But I discovered that during the time I was inserting the new card, I removed all of the cables and didn’t know where cable came from which port so I did a research and found a solution but only if my computer would have what it requires to have. That is a COM PORT with which I would have to use a cable to log into the console box but my computer does not support it.

I tried switching the cable from one port to another the whole day but to no avail. So I decided to leave it as it is and copy all the numbers it was giving and make a new telephone directory list and print it out. But that was not the deal, the customer was unsatisfied with the new plan. I called a PABX telephone specialist and said: "I will need you to just do me just one test and I will complete the rest." He said, "very well then." I admitted that this was my very first time doing a telephone job and I am eager to learn this but my computer does not have a COM PORT and the expert said I will show you a simple method: 
  • Get the master phone/desk phone
  • Press Program
  • Enter *#1234 and 009 for password and press Store
  • Use the Speaker key to scroll through all the numbers save in the Console.
You are now into your Console Box to start your configuration. For example, if the number that was assigned to Receptionist was 100 and have changed to 150, apply the instructions above and use the Speaker key to find # 150 because # 150 is saved. All you do is find # 150 and just dial 100 and press “Store”. The number is now been changed dial code # 100 and saved. This was how I continue with the configuration for all 13 lines plus the new 6 lines added. This was done to the customer satisfaction. At least I can say I have acquired another knowledge.

Here at NATC, nothing is impossible for us and that’s while we are Master of All.

As a team, we all go for one goal: "Together Everyone Accomplish a Mission’’ and that’s what NATC stands for.

Prepared by: Daniel W. Collins

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Working with Mercy Corps' Prospects Programme to find an Apprentice Bookkeeper

by Farzana Rasheed

Left to right: Agnes, William, Janneh and Farzana
New Africa Technology Company reached out to Mercy Corps' team to help it find a bookkeeper. As you know, we've been having lots of problems finding and retaining a qualified Quickbooks expert. 

Currently, Rita Gailor, who joined NATC through Mercy Corps' Prospects programme, is filling the gap by maintaining our ledger, producing weekly and monthly reports and, maintain our filing. 

William Marshall,  Entrepreneurship & Employment Coordinator at Prospects, has been working with me to find candidates for interview for a bookkeeper since August. We had a first round of interviews on 7 September with 3 young women but failed to find an appropriate candidate. 

We had applicants who had studied accounting for several years at well-known universities but in the interview, they could not answer basic questions about bookkeeping or accounting principles. 

We asked William to post the opportunity again and this time, to only short list candidates who had worked with Quickbooks. The programme did not find any candidates with Quickbooks experience but with the relevant degree and some experience. 

We had a second round of interviews with 2 candidates - again, 2 young ladies - and frankly, I was again quite shocked and disappointed with their poor knowledge in their own field of study. The interview performance was shaky and nervous. We took a simple practical test in Excel and both candidates performed poorly. In the written test, one candidate performed better and, was able to express herself clearly and, with more confidence. 

So what should I do? Let Rita continue to help us with simple bookkeeping and, miss out on technical work on site? Or, should I give a chance to one of these young candidates, take the pains on training them, and hopefully, get a hardworking young professional who can be good for the company in the long term? 

Friday, 7 October 2016

Night time robbery or Daylight robbery??!!??

by Haresh Karamchandani

We had a break-in a few days ago at our home. The detectives from the Burglary Unit of the Liberia National Police were able to apprehend the robber the same day. He was caught red handed with our empty laptop bag and my wallet.

The robber then led the detectives to the person who he had “sold” the laptops to, and they were able to recover the Macbook Pro laptops and my mobile phone. I thought this was really great, but when the cops told me that the robber escaped from their custody while they were interrogating the other suspect, I was very disappointed to say the least.

The detective, a young chap, who I would like to commend here, was a brave and hardworking man. He promised me that he would catch the robber and produce him to me. I promised that I would personally reward him if he was successful. 2 days later my doorbell rang very early in the morning. I went out to the balcony to check who was frantically ringing our doorbell and was pleasantly surprised to see detective Randall with the handcuffed robber! I wearily gave them some transport cash and told Randall that I would come over later on to the police headquarters to give him his reward.

Today morning, I was invited by the police to come over to the station along with the laptops and mobile phone and wallet. They said that they wanted to present the robber to a magistrate and have him committed to prison. I agreed to cooperate and was at the police station at 9:30 AM.

They took away the recovered items from me and told me that after the robber is committed I would have to sign for the items at the court. They wanted the items to be used as evidence.

We all proceeded to the court house, which is walking distance from the police headquarters. The robber was handcuffed and kept pleading to me to forgive him. I told him that the matter was beyond my control and the police and court proceedings will have to be adhered to. I lectured him that once he serves his sentence he should come to me and I would offer him some work. I also gave him some cash so that he could fill up his starving belly. He was not given any food for 2 days.

There was another case being heard and argued when we arrived at the court. We were told that we would have to wait till that was done with. I enjoyed listening to the arguments and counter arguments which looked like a scene from a Bollywood movie. The case was “Government of Liberia” vs “8 Ivorian criminals who were needed to be extradited”. The defense lawyer was amazing. He argued that the extradition treaty was signed way back in 1975 between the two governments, but the treaty should have been confirmed or accepted by the senate, which has not been done till date. He argued that the treaty was not valid and therefore the criminals cannot be extradited. The judge continued to smile and listen patiently. The final straw was when he argued that the Government lawyer does not even have a valid license to practice. He then fished out his own valid license and General Revenue account receipt. The Government lawyer walked out embarrassed and the judge adjourned the case. The criminals were sent back to prison. Apparently they have been there for 5 years already!!??!!

Then it was time for my case. I was asked to follow the bailiff to the Magistrates office. While I was giving my statement, I heard a loud commotion and people shouting “Rogue, rogue!!” My heart skipped a beat. Was it “Smokey” the robber? Yes, it was indeed. This fellow is slippery. We rushed out to see what was happening and my fears were correct. Smokey had escaped, but the court security also ran out behind him to catch him. A few moments later, they came back with Smokey all handcuffed and huffing and puffing! What a relief.

I then went back to the Magistrate to complete the formalities. The writ of arrest was done, registered and they were ready to take him to South Beach prison. They demanded LD500 as “car fees”, I gave it to them. They demanded LD 350 for “registration” fees, I gave it to them. They demanded another LD350 as “typing writ fees”, I gave it to them. In contrast “Smokey” begged me for food money, I gave him LD100 and he was so grateful.

The formalities were completed, or that is what I thought. I asked for my items and the Magistrate said “sorry, that has to be left at the court, it is considered FOC, Fruit of Crime, and will remain in our custody till the case is over, till the criminal is sentenced!” I went livid with rage. How should I respond to this “honorable” gentleman who flaunted a US$1,000.00 watch and other expensive jewelry? I kept my cool and asked him for a private session. He asked all his people to leave the office.

I then asked him what he wanted to permit my items to be taken back with me. I told him I could sign any bond to say that the items would be produced as evidence whenever required. I asked him there should be some way. He knew he had my balls in his hands. He said what can you offer?

I told him US$100.00. He then took his expensive pen and wrote on a sheet of paper… 200. He said I should take some pictures of the items and get them printed and they would put it in the file. Easy as that.

I had the following choices:
  1.      Walk out of his chamber and go and meet the Chief Justice or Chief of Police and hope that they intervene and help.
  2.      Agree to pay this daylight robber and take my belongings and get out of there.
I opted for option 2.

What would you have done? What should I do, now that I have my items? Should I take this up with the higher authorities? Should I write a letter to the Chief Justice? Should I go to the press?

I asked this question to my banker friend. He advised, no. This is Liberia. You may need this honorable person sometime in the future. And anyways nothing will really come out of it. This is Liberia.

I asked this question to my NGO expatriate friend. He agreed with my banker friend and further went on to say that it will be a waste of time. He said we are business people and should not create animosities.

I asked this question to my driver, Morris. He narrated the following to me: A few nights ago a robber tried to enter his window. He was awake and heard the movement. He got up armed with his cutlass and hid near the window for the robber to break-in so that he could chop off his arms or even his head. Unfortunately his wife heard the robber and shouted “Rogue, rogue!” and the robber fled.

This is Liberia!

I will sleep peacefully tonight knowing well that the robber is at South Beach Prison. Or will I really sleep peacefully? Knowing well that there are bigger robbers at large roaming free, extorting money from poor citizens?

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Double post at NATC

by Rita Gailor

It has always been so great working with the NATC family.

I came as an IT trainee. It has been great, because there are lot of new things learnt and had some great experiences.

I have been going on site with the senior technicians, helping to solve problems with the supervision of the senior staff, going for maintenance checkups, and other tasks.

It is a great pleasure being part of a solution.

I have also been handling administrative or financial role in the absence of NATC office Manager/Accountant. I feel so confident of myself when I am entrusted with some strange task. I call it strange because they are task that sometimes I have very little or no knowledge about. I fight as much as possible to understand what the task is all about before making a move. All thanks to our Head of operations who have been so patient enough in explaining what the task is about and what outcome he is expecting.

One great experience I had was with Ministry of State about the opening of a bid document.

There was an announcement posted in the newspaper which NATC decided to apply for.

Not knowing much about how it works, I was asked to go and represent NATC during the opening. Earlier that morning I was sent at an insurance company with a check to take a particular document (Bid Security). I was successful in getting the document but interestingly never knew what this document was used for.

Initially the plan was for me to get the documents and take it to my Boss. He was supposed to represent NATC at the opening. I submitted the Bid document at Ministry of State and went for another site visit. On my way back from site I was told to represent NATC at the opening. Once again, I mustered all the courage I needed and went for the opening. At that moment, I knew nothing about how it is done but again my Boss briefed me on what I should do.

We went for the opening. I took down some points. While going through NATC Document during the opening, there was this document called Bid Security that was missing. When he told me I asked if this document could be added later but the guy conducting the meeting said no. 

From my own observation from other bids, there was a check shown to that effect from different banks which was serving as the bid security. I never had thought that this document that I collected from the insurance company could serve the same purpose and that it was even among the documents with me. I saw others with Checks so I was only looking out for a Check. I wrote down all necessary points and when I got back to the office, the first thing my boss looked at was “No Bid security” he said it was there and this was the same document he send me for at the insurance company. I was shocked and did not even know what to say. But I think I have learned my lessons from this experience.

Another great experience was about the payment of taxes, how the calculation is done , and what the process is about.

Thanks for reading this blog post. Have a wonderful day.