Significant progress has been made in Liberia in the past 10 years to address difficult political, economic and governance issues. Young Liberians- who now constitute well over 50% of the population- have incredible energy but often feel disenfranchised and excluded from ideas and opportunities. There are few active, managed spaces anywhere in the country where youth can come together to collaborate, innovate, access high-speed internet and develop shared ideas to solve collective challenges. Liberia is now entering into a critical period of its post-conflict history in which it is essential that young citizens have the skills, tools and communities they need to leverage change and build the Liberia they would like to live in going forwards.
The iCampus is a shared innovation, co-working and community space for organizations focusing on the intersection of technology, accountability and social change in Liberia. It acts as a physical and virtual space for youth-focused ICT and governance training; a networking and innovation hub; and a focal point for elections and open governance work. The iCampus supports:
- Knowledge, through publicly accessible computer labs, online and offline courses and trainings on everything from digital journalism to civic participation, and by acting as a hub for visiting practitioners, researchers and experts;
- Community, through affordable shared workspace, ongoing public events, a safe, accessible location in Monrovia and offline networks and campaigns across Liberia that ensure reach to marginalized groups;
- Eco-systems around issues of accountability and technology, through hands-on mentorship, organizational incubation, communications campaigns, network-building and access to
financial and intellectual resources;
- Collaboration, through ongoing workshops, an active web-portal, efforts to build partnerships between and across government, civil society, business and academia and by acting as the home for a number of ongoing working groups and joint projects;
- Sustainability in terms of revenue (desk space rental, membership, and paid trainings and services) partnerships (with other spaces such as the OpenGov Hub) and the environment
(sustainable energy sources and environmentally conscious operations).
The iCampus moves beyond the co-working space model- it is a collective and intentional effort to support the next generation of Liberian change-makers in meaningful ways over the long-term.
The iCampus is co-managed and run by Accountability Lab Liberia and iLab Liberia and will include a variety of partners from across the civil society, business and government sectors. Accountability Lab Liberia supports a new generation of active citizens and responsible leaders in Liberia. iLab Liberia provides access to cutting-edge technology, expert IT assistance and a community leveraging technology for the good of the country.