Liaison Congo: introducing the internet to bukavu
Innocent Misabiro is the Managing Director of Liaison Congo and was already running it when we first met in 2013. At that time, the company installed v-sat internet access into NGO offices and Innocent had built a technically capable team and a good track record. In Kivu this is not easy. People study computing at university without ever using a computer or seeing a router. Hands-on experience, let alone expertise, is not commonplace.
When we met, Innocent talked about his dream to expand the work of Liaison Congo and bring the benefits of the internet to everyone in Bukavu. Piece by piece a plan emerged to adapt his capabilities and start an internet café. Innocent insisted it must solve the twin problems of electricity cuts and slow modems that were crippling other cafes, and that it must offer people useful training in how to use a computer and how to use the internet.
Since then he has opened two cafes, both in popular areas of Bukavu. Café-2 is on Avenue Leopold, which is in the centre of Bukavu where many small businesses are located. It’s noticeable that the café is especially busy between 10am and 4pm, whereas Café-1 in Nyawera is busiest after 4pm when students come in to study and use social networking sites.
Innocent offers training courses at Café-2 for both kids and adults, ranging from those who wish to learn the basics to those looking for something more advanced. He is an approved provider of the International Computer Driving Licence certification program and he takes care to customise the training to the needs of each student. This way everyone passing through Liaison Congo starts off on the right track.
Innocent and Ensemble's latest endeavour is POWA, a Wi-Fi Network for universities, currently running at the University of Bukavu with plans to expand. The project offers students the ability to set the price and the rate of the connection they will use to allow them to study.