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Government Websites Should Be Built Professionally and Based on Policies and Standards Provided By…

first_imgDr. Darren WilkinsTwo years of my professional life were spent working at the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications. The first year, I worked on the World Bank funded eLiberia project with the task of creating a “One-Stop Shop” environment (Government e-Portal), to enable Government deliver services and information to citizens online.  The second year, saw me working with various stakeholders (Government, Private sector, NGOs, etc) toward the achievement of a robust e-government program that would change the way Government delivers services and information to citizens. During those two years, I managed to complete my doctorate degree writing a dissertation on e-Government in developing countries with focus on Liberia. I learned a lot of things about our Government’s initiatives toward digital government or e-government. I also learned about those lingering problems that continue to hinder our efforts to achieve our goal. One of those “lingering problems” is the totally unorthodox and non-standard way in which Government’s websites are being handled, despite the existence of a comprehensive e-government web strategy developed by the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications (MoPT) and its partners.  In today’s article, I place focus on Government websites; meaning the websites of Ministries, Agencies and Commissions (MACs). I try to discuss this “lingering” problem that continues to retrogress our efforts to achieve a robust e-government platform. I then proffer better ways to build government websites based on the E-Government Web Strategy that we developed at the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications; a strategy that many MACs seem to be ignoring.You see, government websites present the public face of “them” to their online constituents. As such, they should be the focus of much research, investigation and very meticulous implementation approaches. Their development must focus on the foundational aspects of e-government and must provide direction for future e-government development. The Government of Liberia already has the foundational aspects of e-government in place. But, it has been very difficult for those who do not understand the whole “e-government initiative” to adhere to the standards and policies that form part of the framework of our e-government program Take a few minutes and examine a few of our government websites and then compare them with other countries’ government websites. Now compare them with the e-Government Strategy developed by the MoPT. You will find that, many GoL websites are dull and totally not user-friendly or user-centric. You will also find that there are websites that do not carry the .gov.lr domain, which authenticates websites as a GoL entity.  Others were primarily developed in a hurry because the developer wanted to get paid simply for putting up a WordPress site with lots of images and scanty information about services provided by that MAC. In my opinion, this is an absolute travesty e-government and undermines the hard work and resources that were put into creating a robust e-government platform by previous stakeholders. Building government websites involves a lot of things including usability, visuals and the overall user experience. Not just an easy-to-use Content Management System (CMS) that allows the designer with no coding experience to upload photos of the head of the institution and his/her colleagues. That is not a website; that is a photo gallery. Now that we have identified some of the problems with our Government’s websites, indulge me while I provide some insight into how to build a government website or an e-government website. First, it is imperative that those developing Government websites familiarize themselves with the GoL’s e-Government Web Strategy, which should be or can be found at the MoPT. Second, prior to considering the development of a website, a MAC must do due diligence. That is, before beginning the web project, certain details must be understood. We call this point, “phase zero”. This phase requires that all critical decisions and understanding of the initiative are made clear before engaging the various phases of the web development project because unspoken assumptions at the outset almost guarantee unnecessary delay.Third, to build a robust e-government website, requires a team and that the initiative be seen as a “project”. The project team involves multiple stakeholder including designers, developers, graphics experts, content managers, employees, partners, other government organizations, businesses and citizens etc. Within this group is the technical team which could be formed in-house if the skills are available. Otherwise, the technical or development team, could be a private firm. The latter is encouraged as it enhances productivity and innovation. Fourth, understanding the requirements and then performing several other tasks including interviews with stakeholders is crucial. Also, the team must be able to deliver a prototype and have the users both internal and external evaluate the site to how a system should look and behave, and then having users evaluate how well it meets their needs and expectations, Valuable feedback gotten from this exercise will help improve the final design, ensure that forms and other processes are simple and functional and reduce the need for changes during development.Fifth, the developer must consider the fact that Government is experiencing financial strangulations, yet the citizens’ expectations for how Government’s information and services are delivered online remain high. In view of this, I recommend, (as does the e-government web strategy) the use of any one of the following Open Source Content Management Systems (CMS): Drupal, Joomla and WordPress. These are CMSes that are used by the other large institutions including the U.S.A’s Whitehouse.gov, Securities & Exchange Commission, Department of Commerce, Small Business Administration, Department of Education, Energy, EPA, FCC, Federal Trade Commission, Whitehouse.Gov, U.S. Congress, Congressional Budget Office, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the US Department of State (ShareAmerica.gov and U.S. Embassy Websites), etc. Sixth, the home page of the website should be task-oriented. This is because, Citizens visit government websites to accomplish a goal, not to admire the graphic design. In addition, the developer must apply user-experience or UX design principles in order to keep up with citizens’ rising expectations for government websites. Also, Citizens expect to access high-quality digital government information and services anywhere, anytime and on any device in a secure manner. Therefore, the website MUST BE RESPONSIVE. Seventh, accessibility is crucial, therefore, MACs’ websites must be free of barriers that make it difficult for citizens with disabilities to access. An accessible design ensures that all potential visitors, including those with disabilities, will have a pleasant user experience. By making content accessible through screen readers, voice commands and keyboard-only access, agencies can ensure that all users have equal opportunity and access to government information and services.Finally, a few other things to must be part of this process is the inclusion of search engine optimization. In addition, capabilities such as information sharing, working across boundaries (inter-organizational network), leadership, readiness, governance, data assets and technical skills should uncompromisingly addressed. That’s all for now. Until Next Week,Carpe diemBy: Dr. Darren Wilkins (DWilkins@SaharaTechnology.Com | 0777129092/0886703789)Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

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Germany head to isolated World Cup base

first_imgFor their Russia 2018 campaign, the Vatutinki Hotel Spa Complex, 40 kilometres (25 miles) southwest of the Russian capital and surrounded by forest, has been selected as Germany’s World Cup haven — complete with a thick concrete wall to thwart prying eyes.After the tropical temperatures of Campo Bahia, which was also isolated, the Germans expect wetter climes in the sparsely populated district far from the distractions of Moscow.“Campo Bahia was great, an oasis of calm,” Germany coach Joachim Loew said last week.“Now we have different conditions. We hope that it does not rain all the time.“Moaning does not work — when you start to complain, you only lose energy,” Loew said.Germany are not flying to Russia to see the sights, “but to win the tournament,” as team director Oliver Bierhoff put it.However, their secluded World Cup base will struggle to capture the squad’s imagination.– ‘Vatu-what?’ –“Vatu-what?” replied striker Mario Gomez last month when asked about his chances of making the plane to Germany’s World Cup base.The Vatutinki hotel is far from the bright lights of Moscow © AFP/File / Patrik STOLLARZLoew had wanted to capture some of the ‘Campo Bahia’ spirit in Russia, hoping to base Germany in sun-kissed Sochi after the squad were vocal in their praise of staying in the Black Sea resort during last year’s successful Confederations Cup campaign.However, instead of watching dolphins play in the waves of Sochi, the Germans will spend their days off in Vatutinki, with just several high-rise buildings dotting the tree-lined skyline around the team hotel.Logistics were the reason why the German Football Federation (DFB) opted for Moscow, with Bierhoff insisting “there was no alternative”.The players will not be distracted by Moscow with the capital a 45-minute drive away.Germany open their World Cup against Mexico on June 17 at the stadium where they will hope to end it in the final on July 15 — the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow.Their next Group F game is against Sweden in Sochi on June 23 and then South Korea in Kazan on June 27.If they progress through the tournament successfully, the Germans would play twice more in the Russian capital — in the semi-finals and final — so they want to keep travel to a minimum.The lessons have been learnt from Euro 2016, when they were based in Evian on Lake Geneva for the finals in France, a two-hour drive from the nearest airport.In Moscow, the Germans will be a 45-minute drive from the Luzhniki Stadium and 30 minutes from the nearest airport.The Vatutinki is also close to the training facilities of CSKA Moscow, which they will use during the World Cup.A handout computer generated image released on December 13, 2013 by German Football Federation DFB shows the so-called “Camp Bahia”, a made-to-measure base camp for the Mannschaft in the Brazilian town of Santo Andre, the German football national team will use during the 2014 footbal World Cup. AFP PHOTO / DFB / CAMPO BAHIA +++ RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE – MANDATORY CREDIT ” AFP PHOTO / DFB / CAMPO BAHIA”The players and staff will want for nothing at the hotel.Behind that imposing concrete wall, 72 rooms will be available to the players, coach and staff, including an indoor pool with a spa, gym and regeneration area, as well as the necessary function rooms, which will be adapted to the needs of the team.They will even have their own Yoga guru.Munich-based Patrick Broome, who has accompanied the team at previous tournaments, will be available to ensure the team stretch properly.“We will have optimal conditions,” promised Bierhoff.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000Germany coach Joachim Loew hopes their World Cup base in Moscow will inspire success at the 2018 World Cup © AFP/File / MIGUEL MEDINAVATUTINKI, Russian Federation, Jun 11 – After the tropical tranquility of their base at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, reigning champions Germany fly into Russia on Tuesday hoping the rain stays away from their isolated base outside Moscow.Campo Bahia, the sun-drenched luxury hotel surrounded by palm trees on Brazil’s Atlantic coast and specially constructed to be their headquarters, was credited by the Germans as a key part of their 2014 success.last_img read more

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Belgium front three all doubtful for England clash

first_img The deadly trio all picked up knocks Only a Panama victory over the Three Lions on Sunday and a near-impossible goal-difference swing can prevent Belgium from reaching the knockout stages and manager Roberto Martinez admitted there will be ‘major changes’ for the England match.“If we could have seven days to prepare for that game and then another seven days before the following game then we would start with the same starting XI,” said the former Everton boss.“The reality is that we have qualified – you are only as good as the 23 players. There will be opportunities for others. We need to check the injury doubts Lukaku (ankle), Hazard (calf) and Mertens (knock to ankle).”The deadly trio are unlikely to be risked, especially with the Red Devils strength-in-depth, which includes Chelsea striker Michy Batshuayi who grabbed Belgium’s fifth.If England are victorious on Sunday, both teams will have guaranteed qualification with only first-place left to play for.The top two nations in Group G will play the countries who progress from Group H, and with Japan and Senegal currently in charge, it remains to be seen whether topping England’s group would be advantageous.talkSPORT will be with listeners all day and all night at this year’s 2018 FIFA World Cup™ with over 800 hours of World Cup content and all 64 games live across the talkSPORT network. Belgium look likely to ring the changes for their final group game against England after several stars picked up injuries.The Red Devils beat Tunisia 5-2, featuring doubles for Romelu Lukaku and Eden Hazard, but both Premier League stars are now doubts alongside Napoli’s Dries Mertens.center_img 1last_img read more

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Fans mock Liverpool on Twitter for still not getting over Real Madrid loss

first_imgAfter Loris Karius’ concussion diagnosis after the game and Jurgen Klopp’s scathing attack on Ramos, it seems as though football fans everywhere just want the Reds to let it go and focus on the present.Van Dijk’s comments sparked a wild reaction on Twitter, with many telling them to just ‘give it a rest’. Check out some of the best responses below! The average first-team salaries at every Premier League club in 2019 revealed The Egyptian was injured in a collision with Sergio Ramos early on, which made the Spain skipper no friends on the red side of Merseyside.Van Dijk believes the LaLiga giants decided to focus their play down the left-hand side to expose the novice academy graduate. Latest Liverpool news Green reveals how he confronted Sarri after Chelsea’s 6-0 defeat at Man City Salah and Ramos tangle in Kiev during the Champions League Final shining Jheez they will still be talking about this final in 2030— Sean_Murphy1674 (@MurphyPongo) November 17, 2018 BEST OF Premier League Team of the Season so far, including Liverpool and Leicester stars Which teams do the best on Boxing Day in the Premier League era? 2 REVEALED latest Where Ancelotti ranks with every Premier League boss for trophies won Gerrard launches furious touchline outburst as horror tackle on Barisic sparks chaos LATEST huge blow Find someone that holds on to you like Liverpool do the Champions League Final. https://t.co/JL2jDSfCgA— ARGH KiD (@arghkid) November 17, 2018 Most Popular Football Stories It’s so sad to see Liverpool and Salah fans are not over with the champions league final . May be because this is last champions league final for them— Vipul Narang (@VipulNarang4) November 17, 2018 gameday cracker center_img This champions league final was the football equivalent to Brexit. Liverpool being the remainers who can’t take the result https://t.co/Q1F0iMTJ9q— Tom (@tomwhu13) November 17, 2018 Funny how Liverpool still haven’t gotten over their Champions League loss to Real Madrid.— AFOBAJE OF LAGOS (@Afobaje__) November 17, 2018 Top nine Premier League free transfers of the decade Liverpool news live: Klopp reveals when Minamino will play and issues injury update Boxing Day fixtures: All nine Premier League games live on talkSPORT Liverpool news live: Klopp reveals when Minamino will play and issues injury update Liverpool have been mercilessly mocked on Twitter by some fans for STILL not being able to let go of their Champions League Final defeat to Real Madrid.Defender Virgil van Dijk decided that now, 175 days after the clash in Kiev, would be a good time to accuse Los Blancos of ‘ganging up’ on Trent Alexander-Arnold after Mohamed Salah was taken off injured. Oxlade-Chamberlain suffers another setback as Klopp confirms serious injury Van Dijk’s comments clearly triggered a reaction from football fans Boxing Day fixtures: All nine Premier League games live on talkSPORT Arsenal transfer news LIVE: Ndidi bid, targets named, Ozil is ‘skiving little git’ REVEALED 175 days later and Liverpool fans still talk about the Champions League final.It’s not that deep lads, you lost.— Mo (@Kunqueror) November 17, 2018 scrap Every time Ally McCoist lost it on air in 2019, including funny XI reactions 2 tense RANKED latest gameday cracker Give it a rest already 😴😂— Macauley Edwards (@MacEdwards98) November 17, 2018last_img read more

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Acholi defeat Bukedi on penalties to win 2019 FUFA Drum

first_imgAcholi players prepare to receive the FUFA Drum trophy from FUFA Vice President Justus Mugisha on Tuesday. (PHOTO/FUFA)FUFA Drum Final 2019Acholi 0(5)-0(3) BukediAkii Bua Stadium, LiraTuesday, 10-12-2019Acholi are the 2019 Federation of Uganda Football Association (FUFA) Drum champions!They achieved the feat on Tuesday following a 5-3 penalty victory over Bukedi in the final played at the Akii Bua Stadium in Lira.After a goalless draw in 90 minutes, Acholi were clinical from the spot as they converted all their five penalties while Bukedi missed once.Tito Okello, Alfred Onek, Richardson Asaba, Moses Okot and skipper Denis Okot all converted their penalties for Acholi.Disan Galiwango, Frank Kalanda and David Owori netted for Bukedi but Aaron Okoth was denied by Acholi goalkeeper Derrick Ochan.Tito Okello was named the man of the match, taking home UGX 100,000 and a plaque.Acholi took home UGX 32M as the total prize money. Bukedi on the other hand took UGX 15M.Acholi now become the second winners of the competition after Buganda who were victorious in the inaugural edition in 2018.How both teams lined up for the finalAcholi XIDerrick Ochan (G), Denis Okot Oola, Silvester Okello, Walter Ochora, Ronald Owing Ogenga, Felix Okot, Moses Okot (55’ Alfred Onek), Fred Agandu (Richardson Asaba), Hudu Mulikyi (85’ Norman Ojik), Isaac Otto, Tito OkelloNot-Used subsEmmanuel Rubangakene (G.K), Stephen Junior Akena, Francis Onekalit, Andrew Kidega, Derrick Ocen, James OtimBukedi XIDerrick Emukule (G.K), Joseph Othieno, Yeseri Waibi, Benon Tahomera, Edward Kabona, Ibrahim Pengere, Paul Dumba, David Owori, Ibra Nsimbe (80’Frank Kalanda), Fredson Gwoto (85’ Stephen Okello), Iddi Babu (40’ Disan Galiwango)Not-Used SubsPatrick Wafula (G.K), Cosia Waiswa, Isaac Kisujju, Andrew KiwanukaAwards-Lango’s Bronson Nsubuga was named the Most Valuable Player of the Tournament.-Tito Okello of Acholi finished with 8 goals to take the top scorers’ accolade.-Bukedi’s goalkeeper Derrick Emukule was named best goalkeeper of the tournament.-Acholi’s Geoffrey Akena was named best coach.The 2019 FUFA Drum Best XIDerrick Emukule (G.K, Bukedi), Denis Okota Oola (Bukedi), Rashid Okocha (West Nile), Benjamin Nyakoojo (Tooro), Slyvester Okello (Acholi), Hudu Mulikyi (Acholi), Bronson Nsubuga (Lango), Fredson Gwot (Bukedi), Tito Okello (Acholi), Ibra Nsimbe (Bukedi) and Felix Okot (Acholi).Comments Tags: AcholiBukediDerrick EmukuleFUFA Drum 2019Tito Okellolast_img read more

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Tigers top Panthers in extra innings

first_imgA ninth-inning Austin Kadle double scored two runs and gave visiting Arcata enough separation to hold off McKinleyville 10-7 in an extra innings affair Tuesday evening. “We have a lot of young players who feel a lot of pressure when the game tightens as it did today,” Arcata head coach Troy Ghisetti said. “We’re trying to get them to understand how to compete.” Arcata’s Jaden Gorge, who came on in relief for starting pitcher Quinn Parker, grabbed the win after three game-saving innings late. …last_img read more

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Mood upbeat in Himachal’s Chamba district

first_imgMood in the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) in Himachal Pradesh was upbeat after Chamba district was included in the list of country’s most backward districts. The isolated district was going to get a special grant and it would be developed with fresh parameters, said the party’s MP Shanta Kumar, representing Kangra Lok Sabha seat. Thanking the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he said it would be the BJP government’s biggest gift to the hill State and the ignored districts such as Chamba would see the light of development.Raw material The remote district had now come under the list of underdeveloped districts in the Centre’s fresh policy announced specially made for the backward and less progressed districts. Though the hill State came under the category of reasonably developed States, t the Chamba district was lagging behind in growth, said Mr. Kumar. He added that the district required economic investment and new industries and it was fit to have some big cement plants because of availability of raw material here.Addressing a meeting held to celebrate the announcement, Union Health Minister JP Nadda said the Congress had ruled the hill State for long but had intentionally kept the district backward. He said the Centre would would fulfil its promise of bringing developmental projects with the district being included in the list of less developed districts. New recruitments would be done in the Chamba Medical College and Hospital and the cement plant to come up at Sikri Dhar would end the unemployment problem prevailing in the district, said the Minister.A new road map of development would be readied by a specially formed committee headed by the State Chief Secretary.last_img read more

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Golden Temple Visit a Dream Come True For Foreigner Sikhs

first_imgIt was a dream come true for a group of 45 baptized Sikh foreign nationals who landed at Sri Guru Ramdas International Airport in Amritsar on Tuesday to pay obeisance at the revered Sikh shrine Golden Temple. Related Itemslast_img

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Bill Targeting H-1B Visas Reintroduced in US Congress

first_imgThe reintroduced bill has increased minimum pay of H-1B visa workers to $100,000 per annum. Related Itemslast_img

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Deonar home for sexual abuse survivors renovated

first_imgDr. Hrishikesh Yashod, Commissioner, Women and Child Development, Maharashtra on Monday inaugurated the renovated Government Special Home for minor victims of sexual abuse and trafficking in Deonar.The home, the first point of intake for minor girls who are survivors of trafficking and sexual abuse, was renovated in a joint effort by the Department of Women and Child Development and the International Justice Mission (IJM) to create a more hospitable and warm living space for girls in restorative care.IJM is the largest anti-trafficking organisation in the world working in the area of sex trafficking and bonded labour of minors.“The government of Maharashtra and IJM, along with other partners, are collectively aligned to the cause of building healthier social welfare institutions. This will help in creating rehabilitation centres with a healthier environment for the victims of trafficking,” said Sanjay Macwan, IJM’s Regional Vice President.last_img read more

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