Sierra Leone is a West African country with a population of around 7 million people. The country offers basic, secondary, and tertiary education to its students.
Sierra Leone’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 provide support for 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 improve the country’s infrastructure. Freetown hosted the first four schools and all courses.
The Foundation then met the rising demand for support by bringing education to big cities, small towns, and remote villages and promoting e-literacy by providing computers to as many people as possible.
After 14 years, the Foundation operates 28 labs in 12 locations with public schools, universities, NGOs, and private groups. The Foundation works in the country through Bridge the Digital Divide Sierra Leone, a local NGO.
Sierra Leone’s performance is the best success tale due to the extraordinary commitment of all stakeholders. Accordingly, 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 tools they needed to approach technology.
- Test a new course for Visually Impaired People (IC4VI) in October 2019. Through this initiative, the Foundation sought to increase its impact by reaching and addressing the needs of at-risk beneficiaries.
In 2022 the activity was organized almost at a normal pace and was a very positive year for DU activities. We are, in fact, proud to highlight that our local partner BDD Sierra Leone became a UNICEF partner. It started working on a challenging project that targeted 10,000 adolescent Sierra Leonean girls nationwide who were 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 were invited to apply to the course. This Program helped Sierra Leonean adolescent girls become digitally literate and more employable.
As of June 2023, over 257,000 beneficiaries have been reached since the Program’s inception.