System administrators are often asked to apply their professional expertise in unusual situations, or under tight resource constraints. What happens, though, when the “situation” is a foreign country with only basic technical infrastructure, and the task is to build systems which are able to survive and grow in these over-constrained environments?
In this paper we report on our experiences in two very different countries – Cuba and Ethiopia – where we ran a number of ICT projects. In those projects we assisted local universities to upgrade their ICT infrastructure and services. This included skills and process building for local system administrators.
Based on our experiences we formulate a model for sustainable ICT capacity building. We hope this model will be useful for other organizations doing similar projects.