Sierra Leone is one of the poorest countries in the world. Most people live on the low-income opportunities offered by agriculture, international humanitarian aid, or even criminal activities. As a former country devastated by war, Sierra Leone belongs to the Least Developed Countries (LDC) and the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC).
Being already in a very at-risk condition, the country experienced an additional economic contraction due to Covid 19. GDP per capita fell to 4% in 2020, reversing some of the recent gains in poverty reduction.
ST Foundation’s Presence
The ST Foundation’s goal was to address the country’s lack of basic infrastructure, and therefore the organization began developing its courses in 2009, launching the DU Program. All activities were concentrated in Freetown, where the first four schools were equipped.
The Foundation was then able to answer the growing demands for support, bringing education to big cities, small towns, and remote villages, facilitating e-literacy by giving access to computers to as many people as possible.
Today, after 14 years, the Foundation manages 28 operational labs in 12 different areas, working with public schools, universities, NGOs, and private organizations. The activities are organized through a local NGO: Bridge the Digital Divide Sierra Leone, which has become the Foundation’s operational arm in the country.
Sierra Leone is the best success story due to the activities’ performance, which has been made possible by the extraordinary commitment of all the involved stakeholders. Based on these considerations, the Foundation decided to:
- Bring the Tablet for Kids course to the country in September 2018. This decision aimed to offer the eager to learn, younger generation the right tools they needed to approach technology.
- Test a new course for Visually Impaired People (ICVI) in October 2019. Through this initiative, the Foundation sought to increase its impact by reaching and addressing the needs of at-risk beneficiaries.
Despite the Covid 19 pandemic outbreak and the 5-month suspension of the activities, the courses are now running almost at a normal pace.
2022 has begun on a very positive note. We are proud to announce that our local partner BDD Sierra Leone became a UNICEF partner. It started working on a challenging project that has the target of reaching 10,000 adolescent Sierra Leonean girls nationwide that will be supported to join and complete the ST Foundation Introduction to Computer Basic (ICB) course. Applicants from Junior and Senior Secondary Schools and out-of-school community members will be invited to apply to the course. It will serve as a stepping stone toward a new cohort of digitally literate adolescent girls in Sierra Leone, thereby increasing their future employability.
As of March 2022, over 203,000 beneficiaries have been reached since the Program’s inception.