Creating a strong and safe password

 When choosing a password, try to make it by writing a sentence that you can easily remember. For example: "Los Angeles Lakers will win the NBA tournament this year". Then pick up the first letters of each word and also add at the beginning or at the end (or at both parts) some special characters and numbers. For example, with the last sentence you could get the password: =3LALwwtNtty$. This method lets you come up with easy-to-remember passwords that are also hard to crack. And you avoid the need to write such a long password down in order to remember it.

How do you choose a strong password? Here are some guidelines:

* The longer the better: At least 8 characters.

* Mix upper and lower case, punctuation and numerals.

* One good way to implement both of the first two rules is with a passphrase, i.e. a sentence instead of a word: "I hate passw0rds, they suck" or "My father was born in 1929." I use these in a few places but, alas, not all sites allow you that long a password or to embed spaces.

* Avoid passwords that are words in a dictionary, especially common words.

* Avoid reusing passwords, especially those for critical resources like your e-mail, on other sites. Doing this exposes you to a wider compromise than necessary.

Problem 1: Re-using passwords across websites
With a constantly growing list of services that require a password (email, online banking, social networking, and shopping websites — just to name a few), it's no wonder that many people simply use the same password across a variety of accounts. This is risky: if someone figures out your password for one service, that person could potentially gain access to your private email, address information, and even your money.

Solution 1: Use unique passwords
It's a good idea to use unique passwords for your accounts, expecially important accounts like email and online banking. When you create a password for a site, you might think of a phrase you associate with the site and use an abbreviation or variation of that phrase as your password — just don't use the actual words of the site. If it's a long phrase, you can take the first letter of each word. To make this word or phrase more secure, try making some letters uppercase, and swap out some letters with numbers or symbols. As an example, the phrase for your banking website could be "How much money do I have?" and the password could be "#m$d1H4ve?" (Note: since we're using them here, please don't adopt any of the example passwords in this post for yourself.)

Problem 2: Using common passwords or words found in the dictionary
Common passwords include simple words or phrases like "password" or "letmein," keyboard patterns such as "qwerty" or "qazwsx," or sequential patterns such as "abcd1234." Using a simple password or any word you can find in the dictionary makes it easier for a would-be hijacker to gain access to your personal information.

Solution 2: Use a password with a mix of letters, numbers, and symbols
There are only 26^8 possible permutations for an 8-character password that uses just lowercase letters, while there are 94^8 possible permutations for an 8-character password that uses a combination of mixed-case letters, numbers, and symbols. That's over 6 quadrillion more possible variations for a mixed password, which makes it that much harder for anyone to guess or crack.

Problem 3: Using passwords based on personal data
We all share information about ourselves with our friends and coworkers. The names of your spouse, children, or pets aren't usually all that secret, so it doesn't make sense to use them as your passwords. You should also stay away from birth dates, phone numbers, or addresses.

Solution 3: Create a password that's hard for others to guess
Choose a combination of letters, numbers, or symbols to create a unique password that's unrelated to your personal information. Or, select a random word or phrase, and insert letters and numbers into the beginning, middle, and end to make it extra difficult to guess (such as "[email protected]").

Problem 4: Writing down your password and storing it in an unsecured place
Some of us have enough online accounts that we may need to write our passwords down somewhere, at least until we've learned them well.

Solution 4: Keep your password reminders in a secret place that isn't easily visible
Don't leave notes with your passwords to various sites on your computer or desk. People who walk by can easily steal this information and use it to compromise your account. Also, if you decide to save your passwords in a file on your computer, create a unique name for the file so people don't know what's inside. Avoid naming the file "my passwords" or something else obvious.

Problem 5: Recalling your password
When choosing smart passwords like these, it can often be more difficult to remember your password when you try to sign in to a site you haven't visited in a while. To get around this problem, many websites will offer you the option to either send a password-reset link to your email address or answer a security question.

Solution 5: Make sure your password recovery options are up-to-date and secure
You should always make sure you have an up-to-date email address on file for each account you have, so that if you need to send a password reset email it goes to the right place.

Many websites will ask you to choose a question to verify your identity if you ever forget your password. If you're able to create your own question, try to come up with a question that has an answer only you would know. The answer shouldn't be something that someone can guess by scanning information you've posted online in social networking profiles, blogs, and other places.

If you're asked to choose a question from a list of options, such as the city where you were born, you should be aware that these questions are likely to be less secure. Try to find a way to make your answer unique — you can do this by using some of the tips above, or by creating a convention where you always add a symbol after the 2nd character in the answer (e.g. [email protected]) — so that even if someone guesses the answer, they won't know how to enter it properly.

Secure your passwords now!

Director of Operations Mercy Corps - Uganda

- Oversee management, supervision and training of all aspects of administration, HR and logistics in all Mercy Corps Uganda field offices.
- Provide program support, coordination, supervision and monitoring of activities designed to meet program objectives.
- Engage program staff in regular and frequent communications to ensure that support needs are met
- Oversee database and paper file management for finance, administration, logistics and HR documents
- Ensure compliance with Mercy Corps and Donor administrative, procurement, and HR procedures.
- Through various Heads of Office staff, advise, train, and support the development and management of systems in Uganda, for full integration with Mercy Corps systems.
- Work with Mercy Corps staff to ensure smooth introduction and operation of necessary operational systems, including constant and routine travel to field offices if and when necessary for support and orientation
- Responsible for the management of all administration and logistics functions and is responsible for the full and proper implementation of Mercy Corps systems of management, compliance and control as described in Mercy Corps field manuals.
- Ensure that all food storage and distribution activities are in keeping with USAID FFP Regulation 11 and commodity tracking system is in place and well maintained.
- Conduct prudent and timely assessments of security environment, initiate and/or enforce necessary security protocols balancing program needs with security constraints.
- Ensures that all communications equipments are in working order and ready to be used (routinely train staff).
- Conduct himself/herself both professionally and personally in such a manner as to bring credit to Mercy Corps and to not jeopardize its humanitarian mission.
- Any other duties as assigned.
- Mercy Corps team members are expected to support all efforts towards accountability, specifically to our beneficiaries and to international standards guiding international relief and development work while actively engaging beneficiary communities as equal partners in the design, monitoring and evaluation of our field projects.
- As part of Mercy Corps’ agency-wide Organizational Learning Initiative, all team members are responsible for spending 5% of their work time in formal and/or non-formal professional learning activities.

All Head of Office staff in all Mercy Corps Uganda Field Sites



WORKS DIRECTLY WITH: Director of Finance and Administration, Project staff, Kampala office staff, field office staff, international partners and other implementing partners; other Mercy Corps staff, and government and NGO counterparts.

- A minimum of five years field experience in administrative or operational support functions with a humanitarian non-governmental organization (Ideally in Africa)
- Demonstrated excellence in human resource management, particularly in a multi-cultural environment, including techniques for staff development, training, motivation, and discipline
- Demonstrated skills and experience in NGO administration, finance, and logistics systems
- Demonstrated excellence in multi-tasking, time management, and flexibility
- Knowledge of best practices in project design, implementation and community participation techniques
- Experience in Title II program operations, including commodity warehousing and distribution preferred.
- Excellent writing and communications skills.
- Excellent negotiation, representation, skills and the ability to work comfortably with an ethnically diverse staff.
- Demonstrated attention to detail, ability to follow procedures, meet deadlines and work independently and cooperatively with team members.
- Proven ability to innovatively solve problems and trouble shoot.
- Demonstrated understanding of complex emergencies, related security concerns, and appropriate responses to such emergencies. Understanding of the security concerns in northern Uganda/Karamoja is highly desirable.
- Knowledge of Mercy Corps systems and procedures (particularly Mercy Corps procurement systems) highly desirable.

- The successful candidate will have the following characteristics:
- A strong team player, with good communication and diplomatic skills.
- Excellent analytical and information management skills.
- Good organizational skills and ability to work under stress and in remote locations.
- Experience working in relatively insecure environments with the ability to keep calm and make decisions under difficult circumstances.
- Flexible and creative in planning and problem solving.
- Attention to detail, ability to follow procedures and meet deadlines and work independently and cooperatively with team members.
- Proven excellence maintaining professional internal and external relationships.
- A focus on team building and national staff capacity building

This position is based in Kitgum and is an unaccompanied posting. Shared housing is provided with most of the amenities (electric, water, DSTV, Internet). The town is small but there is a strong INGOs presence with expatriate staff based in the town. Restaurants and diversions are available. Although the situation has improved, there were incidents in the past that required movement restrictions at night. Water and electricity are generally available with occasional outages. The position requires frequent travel to other field offices where one will encounter more basic living conditions (minimal running water, and limited electric without generators and solar systems) and a more insecure environment.

Mercy Corps is an AA/EOE. 
Apply by:  07 November 2009 
Application instructions available at

Job: Senior Finance Manager, Civil Society, Uganda

Company Profile: 
Management Systems International (MSI) is a global international development firm based in Washington, D.C. providing specialized short- and long-term technical assistance. Today, it has over 100 projects under management worldwide and its technical expertise has been expanded to include implementation of a range of analytical and field projects in democracy and governance, economic growth, organizational capacity building, education, and natural resource management.  At the beginning of 2008, MSI joined Coffey International, Ltd., a global multi-disciplinary professional services organization with offices in 20 countries around the world. MSI became a part of Coffey International Development (Coffey ID), one of seven divisions which comprise the Coffey Group. Together, we aspire to create extraordinary outcomes for our clients, our staff and the communities in which we work. For more information on MSI, please visit our website at

Project/Proposal Summary: 
MSI seeks a seasoned Sr. Finance Manager for a three-year technical assistance project in Uganda.  The goal of the project is to provide assistance to the Civil Society Fund (CSF) of Uganda in the role of the Technical Management Agent. The purpose of the CSF is to bring together multiple donor funds and disperse grants to civil society organizations that are fully aligned with national plans and decision taking processes and enable an effective, scaled up and comprehensive response to HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria.

Position Summary:
The Sr. Finance Manager will provide the overall financial management for the project and maintain accountability to headquarters office in the United States and to USAID/Uganda.

  • Manage all financial and administrative aspects of the project, including accounting, procurement, sub-grants and sub-contracts, human resources, information technology and logistics;
  • Select, supervise and mentor a team of finance and administrative professionals;
  • Support the Chief of Party in budget planning and monitoring;
  • Maintain timely and accurate financial information;
  • Work closely with MSI partner and sub-contracting organizations, ensuring compliance and building capacity as needed;
  • Maintain responsibility for all financial reporting to MSI HQ and USAID, in coordination with the Chief of Party;
  • Support Chief of Party in internal management of the project including budget and performance monitoring and evaluation.
  • Demonstrated capacity in managing a large-scale, multi-year, USAID-funded program;
  • In depth knowledge of USAID rules and regulations, particularly as related to finance, contracts, procurement and reporting;
  • Experience managing multiple funding sources and bank accounts on the same project desired;
  • Degree in finance, accounting or related field from an accredited university preferred;
  • Familiarity with performance-based financing and budgeting is strongly preferred;
  • Experience working in East Africa, previous experience in Uganda and strong knowledge of East Africa health, education, and other social sector services financing issues are preferred;
  • Knowledge of Bantu or other language(s) spoken in Uganda is a plus;
• Willingness to travel within Uganda.
Only candidates who have been selected for an interview will be contacted. No phone calls, please.

To apply, please visit our website:
Apply by:  07 November 2009

18 GSLS Fellowships Funded by Excellence Initiative Open for Application

The GSLS has available fellowships funded by the the Excellence Initiative of the German Federal and State Governments. The application for up to 18 positions starting in Spring 2010 is now open.

Deadline: November 16, 2009 (Midnight, 23:59 Central European Time)
We offer
  • an international (working language English) and widely visible research environment
  • a taxfree personal fellowship of 1300 Euros/month for three years
  • your own research grant covering research expenses of your PhD project
  • travel money to attend conferences
  • the freedom to chose lab, project and mentors provided mutual agreement in one of the sections of the GSLS
  • continuous supervision and mentoring by a thesis committee of three principal investigators
  • a strong network of peers
  • advanced scientific and transferable skills training
We expect
  • passion for research and practical experience therein
  • a clear understanding of what you want to work on 
  • an excellent university degree obtained within the last two years, usually a M.Sc. or German Diploma; if graduation is expected by March 2010 you are welcome to apply; exceptional candidates holding an Honours B.Sc. may join after a qualification period
  • proven excellent oral and written English proficiency (will also be assessed during interview) and willingness to learn basic German (training provided)
  • eagerness to work in an interdisciplinary and international environment.
Application process
Before you apply, please inform yourself about the research performed in the scientific sections of the GSLS and in the labs of the GSLS members. We expect you to make an informed statement in your application form as to which research fields of the GSLS interest you most and which labs you could envisage to work at!
Once you have clear ideas about this, please follow this link: Application Platform
  • On that page, register for application
  • Wait for an e-mail confirming your registration
  • Log in and fill in the application form (take your time, you can interrupt the process as often as you like)
  • Important notice: Do not ask your referees to send letters right now. Only ask your referees AFTER a notification that you were selected for an interview AND wait for our instructions. In this way we avoid hundreds of letters that are written in vain.
Selected applicants from Europe (or travelling in Europe at that time) will then be invited for an interview in W├╝rzburg in January 2010 (travel subsidies available). International applicants from outside Europe will be interviewed by Video-Conferencing.

Scholarships at Pine Manor College, USA

Founded in 1911, Pine Manor is a small private college for women located on Boston's doorstep.

Total cost of tuition, room and board, and fees is $33,018. This year $5,000 - $10,000 scholarships are available based on academic potential, community service and leadership accomplishments. Young women can apply online for January or August 2010 (waived fee) and use the essay as a chance to write about themselves, their accomplishments and their future goals.

Here are some highlights:
  • A beautiful campus - PMC's 60-acre campus is minutes away from the world class city of Boston and easily accessible by public transport.
  • Affordable - One of the most affordable private colleges in the country ($20,189 tuition/year) . Ask about our generous scholarships!
  • Supportive Community and Interactive Classes - 10:1 Student to faculty ratio with an innovative curriculum.
  • Multi-Cultural - Ranked #1 in ethnic diversity by US News & World Report's America's Best Colleges 2010.
  • Inclusive Leadership - School mission to foster leadership that is inclusive of all people and is directed toward a common good.
  • On-campus English Language Institute - ongoing intensive English classes available. Co-educational.
  • Early January and Early August Enrollment - Rolling admission: Please send online application (waived fee), transcript, TOEFL, recommendations.
Visit the Campus! Th, Oct.19th - EFP Day for bilingual students; Sat, Nov.14th - Fall Open House

Please contact:
Janna Spinazola
Director of Recruitment:
Bilingual (EFP), International, and Transfer Students
Pine Manor College
400 Heath Street, Chestnut Hill, MA 02467, USA
tel +1-617-731-7068 fax +1-617-731-7102

Email: [email protected]

Apply Online

Funny Video: Raymond and The Sexy Cheese

This is HardColdReality's video on "Raymond's way of getting cheese"! For any suggestions and more Raymond visit Micheal Loeck's website:

"...and I wish I could do more" - Mark Grantham

Mark Grantham has sold chocolate in Newmarket for 18 years to fund-raise for World Vision children in Africa and India. Now he's traveling to Tanzania to visit some of his kids. How will he get on? This is a full episode divided into 3 parts. Please watch the videos below.

NOTE: For those of you that are reading this post on Facebook you will not see the videos as they don't get carried over in RSS fees, please visit the blog at

The Importance and Pleasure of Reading by Mwalimu J.K. Nyerere

This post was written by a friend Adam Jackson Foya who also blogs at

As we are remembering 10 years of Mwalimu's death and celebrate his life, let's reflect on The Importance and Pleasure of Reading.

The Importance and Pleasure of Reading by Mwalimu J.K. Nyerere

[Opening Printing Works and Books Warehouse, Arusha, 29th November 1965]

Excerpt from Nyerere on Education, Volume II, Edited by Elieshi Lema, Issa Omari and Rakeshi Rajani, published by Haki Elimu and E & D Limited.
…Now let me confess to a special pleasure that is a book store and book printing works which we are today opening in Tanzania. Book production is economically important to us. We spend a lot of money on education and greater number of necessary books which can be printed and published within the country, the less will be in the short-term cost in investment in people. We shall save foreign currency if our schools can be supplied with books which are printed here. When we pay for these books we shall also be paying wages to our own people and thus promoting further development within our territory rather than abroad. These are important factors and it was not without design that the Government, in Mr. Curtis’ words, dropped ‘certain broad hints’ to the printing company to encourage them to expand their operations in this country.

At the same time I have to admit to a personal pleasure at the thought of a good book production taking place in our country. Stored in books is accumulated knowledge of man and the earth he lives in, as well as the literature of different civilizations. In time I hope that our own African traditional stories and cultures will also be fully available in this form, and I was pleased to hear Mr.Moshi say that new books are being encouraged on these subjects. But in the meantime the books which are available can teach us, can inspire us, or can refresh our minds with pleasure of good story well told. Books can break down the isolation of our lives and provide us with a friend wherever we may be.

I think we have to try hard in Tanzania to cultivate literate citizens. It is a fact which we must recognize, that in dealing with modern world, children in Europe have two advantages over our children. One is the familiarity with mechanical things; the other, and perhaps even more important one, is familiarity with books. Too often in our society a person who sits down to read is accused of being lazy or being unsociable. This attitude we must change. When we get to the position where a man and his wife sit together in the evening each reading or reading to teach other, and when children are encouraged to learn out of school by reading books which are easily available, then we shall have made a big break-through in our development….
There are many ways which we can celebrate and honour life of Mwalimu Nyerere. I am doing so by reflecting and promote literacy. For today, let reflect on Pleasure of Reading (RP). Almost everyone understands the importance of reading in life, in the excerpt above Mwalimu says: “Stored in books is accumulated knowledge of man and the earth he lives in, as well as the literature of different civilizations”.

Through reading, one can acquire knowledge which can and should be used for personal and society development. Knowing the importance of education and reading, Mwalimu made them one of central pillar in his development policies. But Mwalimu is expressing a bit of different point of view which is the Pleasure of Reading. Normal we miss this point of view when we advocate for literacy and reading. “Reading for pleasure refers to reading that we to do of our own free will anticipating the satisfaction that we will get from the act of reading. It also refers to reading that having begun at someone else’s request we continue because we are interested in it. It typically involves materials that reflect our own choice, at a time and place that suits us”. (Clark & Rumbold ,UK National Literacy Trust 2006).

Research proves that RP contributes to among other things: improving skills on writing, grammar and text comprehension, vocabulary. It also improves our thinking and communication abilities. One factor for success of reading for pleasure from childhood is availability of Print-Rich Environment, this means people can get a book or anything which they like reading. Readers should have wider range of choice as people have different taste when it comes to reading.

My call for honoring Mwalimu’s life, let’s create Print Rich Environment and make reading a family and community activity.

Mwalimu, what was buried 10 years ago was your body but your ideas and philosophy lives forever.

We remember and miss you!!

Adam Jackson Foya
P.O.Box 42329 Dar Es Salaam,Tanzania
"As much as you critical, be constructive"

Chief Executive Officer, African Trade Insurance Agency - Nairobi, Kenya.

The Africa Trade Insurance Agency (ATI) is a multilateral institution established by African States with the backing of the World Bank and mandated to provide insurance support for trade and investment activities involving the concerned African States. The Agency initially consisted of seven member countries (Burundi, Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia), one regional grouping (COMESA), two Development Financial Institutions (PT Bank, Zep RE) one from the Private Sector (Atradius). It has since been expanded to include six new members: DRC, Madagascar, Eritrea, Sudan, Djibouti and Ghana, plus two other Organisations (SACE - Italian ECA and Africa Re). ATI, as a Pan African Agency established by treaty, is open to all African Union member states. Its mission is to turn African Risk into opportunity by providing Insurance and Financial products, in partnership with the private and public sector.

The Board of Directors of ATI is in the process of recruiting a Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for the Agency. The CEO is to be recruited internationally through the placement of a vacancy announcement for this position in the Economist, Financial Times International Edition, The East African, in respect of Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda and Tanzania, « Le Potentiel » Newspaper for DRC, and in the Nation Newspaper for Malawi, Daily Mail for Zambia and « Le Renouveau » Newspaper for Burundi.

The position of the Chief Executive Officer fell vacant on 31 July 2009 and a decision has been taken by the Board of Directors to fill this position.


Scope of work

The overall purpose of the assignment is to provide high quality and professional recruitment services to the agency for the period the recruitment process will be underway, to recruit a Chief Executive Officer of ATI using the internationally acceptable processes and procedures.
The consultant will be required to undertake the following:

        i.      Conduct an initial review of all applications in order to determine their compliance with the requirements of the vacancy announcement including requirements as to qualification for the position;
      ii.      On the basis of (a) above, prepare for the approval of the Board’s Selection Committee, a Shortlist of candidates selected for Phone/Video interviews;
    iii.      Facilitate the Board’s Selection Committee to conduct Phone/Video interviews of the short- listed Candidates;
    iv.      On the basis of the outcome of (c) above, assist the Board’s Selection Committee to prepare a Shortlist of Candidates selected for Oral Interviews by the Board in Nairobi;
      v.      Prepare and produce appropriate interview methodology (including Psychometric Tests/Myers Briggs) and materials for this level of appointment covering the full circle from Phone/Video/ face to face Interviews and Final Selection;
    vi.      Assist the Board of Directors with the negotiations with at least two (2) (Maximum 4) final candidates;
  vii.      Prepare and submit to the Board’s Selection Committee brief reports upon the completion of each task. The reports should explain the basis of each recommendation made; and
viii.      Provide such other services incidental and conducive to the foregoing.


The consultant should be familiar with all matters relating to international recruitment for senior executive positions. The consultant should be An international level consultant with Human Resource Recruitment and organizational development experience, especially in the areas specified in the tasks above The firm must have done similar assignments for international firms in the last three years. The consulting firm must have the managerial and technical capability to execute the assignment through the provision of Key professional staff with experience in international recruitment, Job evaluation, contract negotiation and preparation of job descriptions.  Interested firms must therefore submit details that show their eligibility for the assignment. Firms must submit detailed company profiles showing the past works done showing the similar assignments done in the last three years and must be a well established consulting firm, in order to qualify for the short list.

African Trade Insurance Agency will evaluate expressions of interest and the most qualified firm will be invited to submit a detailed combined technical and financial proposal for negotiations and contracting. A consultant will be selected in accordance with the procedures set out in the World Bank’s Guidelines: Selection and Employment of Consultants by World Bank Borrowers (current edition).
Sealed Expression of Interest clearly marked “Expression Of Interest For Consultancy To provide Technical Assistance to the ATI Board of Directors in the recruitment of the Chief Executive officer of ATI” should be submitted to the address below on or before 17:00 hours local time on 20th October, 2009

The Administrative/Procurement Officer,
The African Trade Insurance Agency
5th Floor, Kenya Re-Towers, Ragati Road
PO Box 10620-00 100,
Nairobi, Kenya.

Email: [email protected]

Apply by: 20 October 2009
(EOIs may also be deposited in the Tender Box on the 5th Floor of Kenya Re-Towers, African Trade Insurance Agency Headquarters)