Liberia’s Blackboard Blogger

Liberias Blackboard Blogger

Alfred Sirleaf is an analog blogger. He take runs the “Daily News”, a news hut by the side of a major road in the middle of Monrovia. He started it a number of years ago, stating that he wanted to get news into the hands of those who couldn’t afford newspapers, in the language that they could understand.

Alfred serves as a reminder to the rest of us, that simple is often better, just because it works. The lack of electricity never throws him off. The lack of funding means he’s creative in ways that he recruits people from around the city and country to report news to him. He uses his cell phone as the major point of connection between him and the 10,000 (he says) that read his blackboard daily.


Liberia’s Blackboard Blogger from WhiteAfrican on Vimeo.

Not all Liberians who read his news are literate, so he makes use of symbols. Whether it’s a UN or military helmet, a poster of a soccer player or a bottle of colored water to denote gas prices, he is determined to get the message out in any way that he can.

Liberia - Daily News props

Advertising works here too. It’s $5 to be on the bottom level, $10 to be on the sideboard and $25 on the main section. He doesn’t get a lot of advertising, and but he manages to scrape by.

His plans for the future include decentralizing his work, this means opening up identical locations in other parts of Monrovia, and in a few of the larger cities around the country. I don’t put it past Alfred either, he’s a scrappy entrepreneur on a mission to bring information and news to ordinary Liberians. He’s succeeded thus far, and I would put my money on him growing it even further.

Alfred Sirleaf talking to a news reader

(Also, read the NYT piece on him from 3 years ago)

(note: title for this post stolen shamelessly from Rebecca’s Pocket. I also first posted this at WhiteAfrican, because I couldn’t decide if it was an AfriGadget story or not…)

Author: Erik Hersman

Erik is the owner of White African, a blog about technology and Africa. He is the co-founder of Zangu, a new web and mobile phone application that he hopes will change communication in Africa. AfriGadget is another web project of his, not that he doesn't have enough of those already...

58 thoughts on “Liberia’s Blackboard Blogger”

  1. Ndesanjo,huyo jamaa wa Liberia amenikumbusha mbali sana.Amenikumbusha mwaka 1991-1993 Kantalamba High School wakati huo nchi ina magazeti machache sana na mitandao ndo kabisa ilikuwa haijaingia kabisa,simu za kunyonga pale Posta na Simu Sumbawanga mjini tena kwa sisi wanafunzi kupiga lazima ni Rivasi Call maana hatuna pesa hata!
    Sasa mwanafunzi mmoja Boaz Ackimu Boaz akaanzisha gazeti kuandika kwa kalamu na kila Jijumaa lazima gazeti litoke lote kuanzia habari za kisiasa,uchumi,michezo burudani na kila kitu na pia lazima Boaz[Mwameja] alikuwa kipa wa darasa na baadaye shule acheze mpira,aende darasani,ahudhurie misa kanisani lazima awepo bwenini lakini pamoja na yote hayo gazeti lazima litoke.Wakati mwingine makaratasi hayatoshi inabidi aandike halafu aweke-na kusema habari itaendelea wiki ijayo!Kwa kweli umenikumbusha mbali sana kisa cha huyojamaa wa Liberia ya Samuel Doe,Prince Jonson,Charles Taylor na Mama Sirleaf!

  2. Ndesanjo,huyo jamaa wa Liberia amenikumbusha mbali sana.Amenikumbusha mwaka 1991-1993 Kantalamba High School wakati huo nchi ina magazeti machache sana na mitandao ndo kabisa ilikuwa haijaingia kabisa,simu za kunyonga pale Posta na Simu Sumbawanga mjini tena kwa sisi wanafunzi kupiga lazima ni Rivasi Call maana hatuna pesa hata!
    Sasa mwanafunzi mmoja Boaz Ackimu Boaz akaanzisha gazeti kuandika kwa kalamu na kila Jijumaa lazima gazeti litoke lote kuanzia habari za kisiasa,uchumi,michezo burudani na kila kitu na pia lazima Boaz a.k.a.[Mwameja]maana pia alikuwa kipa wa darasa na baadaye shule acheze mpira,aende darasani,ahudhurie misa kanisani lazima awepo bwenini lakini pamoja na yote hayo gazeti lazima litoke.Wakati mwingine makaratasi hayatoshi inabidi aandike halafu aweke-na kusema habari itaendelea wiki ijayo!Kwa kweli umenikumbusha mbali sana kisa cha huyojamaa wa Liberia ya Samuel Doe,Prince Jonson,Charles Taylor na Mama Sirleaf!

  3. Ndesanjo,huyo jamaa wa Liberia amenikumbusha mbali sana.Amenikumbusha mwaka 1991-1993 Kantalamba High School mjini Sumbawanga,Rukwa, wakati huo nchi ina magazeti machache sana na mitandao ndo kabisa ilikuwa haijaingia kabisa,simu za kunyonga pale Posta na Simu Sumbawanga mjini tena kwa sisi wanafunzi kupiga lazima ni Rivasi Call maana hatuna pesa hata!
    Sasa mwanafunzi mmoja Boaz Ackimu Boaz akaanzisha gazeti kuandika kwa kalamu na kila Ijumaa lazima gazeti litoke lote kuanzia habari za kisiasa,uchumi,michezo burudani na kila kitu na pia lazima Boaz a.k.a.[Mwameja]Tanzania one wa Kantalamba maana pia alikuwa kipa wa darasa na baadaye timu ya shule acheze mpira,aende darasani,ahudhurie misa kanisani lazima awepo bwenini lakini pamoja na yote hayo gazeti lazima litoke.Wakati mwingine makaratasi hayatoshi inabidi aandike halafu aweke-na kusema habari itaendelea wiki ijayo!Kwa kweli umenikumbusha mbali sana kisa cha huyojamaa wa Liberia ya Samuel Doe,Prince Jonson,Charles Taylor na Mama Sirleaf!

  4. This was actually really cool to see. I was in Liberia for six months and would drive past this “analog blog” a few times a day and rarely did you ever see it without at least a few people checking up on the latest goings on…inventive

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  7. How do we donate for this project?

    He wants to decentralize this idea and spread to different areas of the country. I would really like to help with this.

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  9. blackboard blogging isn’t bad… actually, it is somehow fun… many people have enjoyed this.. you can even earn even in just a simple blackboard blogging. (www.kika.ca)

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