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Sierra Leone

The Context
Sierra Leone is a West African country with a population of around 7 million. It offers primary, secondary, and tertiary education to its students. The country’s school system struggles with resource shortages, poor teacher training, and high dropout rates. Many schools closed during the 2014–2016 Ebola pandemic, and children lost learning chances.

The country’s government introduced several policies to improve the education system, including increasing funding for education and improving teacher training. It also partnered with international organizations and donors to support education in the country. Overall, education is seen as a critical factor in the nation’s development; therefore, efforts are being made to improve access to quality education for all children. 

ST Foundation’s Presence
In 2009, the ST Foundation launched the DU Program to contribute to the nation’s infrastructure enhancement. The pioneering phase saw Freetown welcoming the first batches in four DU labs, setting the base for further developments.

Responding to an increasing demand for educational support, the Foundation expanded its reach to major urban centers, towns, and isolated villages. Fifteen years after the inception, we can count on 28 DU centers scattered throughout the country, managed with the support of different local partners, including public schools, higher education institutions, non-profits, and private entities. Its efforts are channeled locally through Bridge the Digital Divide Sierra Leone, a dedicated NGO that can be considered as the operational arm of the organization.

Sierra Leone’s journey with the Foundation stands out as a beacon of success, evidence of the involved parties’ solid dedication.

Thanks to this solid experience and the network of committed stakeholders, the country was selected to test and launch important programs and more in detail:

  • The Tablet for Kids Course was first presented in September 2018 to offer the eager-to-learn, younger generation the tools they needed to approach technology.
  • The Introduction to Computer Basics for Impaired People (ICB4VI) was introduced in October 2019 to reach at-risk beneficiaries.

Building on its experience, in 2022, the Foundation collaborated with UNICEF to further extend its impact. This partnership focused on empowering 10,000 adolescent girls nationwide by facilitating their participation in the Introduction to Computer Basics (ICB) course. The initiative targeted girls from junior and senior secondary schools and those outside the traditional school system, enhancing their digital literacy and employability prospects.

By December 2023, the Foundation had reached over 280,000 beneficiaries since the program’s inception, marking a significant achievement in its mission to bridge the digital divide and foster educational opportunities across Sierra Leone.