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Sierra Leone

The Context
Sierra Leone, located in West Africa, has a population of approximately 8.98 million. The nation provides diverse educational opportunities ranging from primary to tertiary levels. Despite this, the schooling system faces several issues, including resource scarcity, inadequate teacher training, and high dropout rates. The 2014-2016 Ebola outbreak exacerbated these problems, leading to extended school closures and substantial learning disruptions.

Responding to the educational crisis, the government has taken decisive action. It has implemented policies to enhance the system, such as increased educational funding and training. Importantly, the nation has forged partnerships with global organizations and donors, demonstrating a shared commitment to supporting learning initiatives. With a firm understanding of education’s pivotal role in development, concerted efforts are underway to ensure all children have equal access to quality learning.

ST Foundation’s Presence
Since 2009, the ST Foundation has been actively involved in Sierra Leone, launching the Digital Unify (DU) Program to enhance the nation’s educational infrastructure. The program began in Freetown by establishing the first four DU labs, laying the groundwork for subsequent expansions.

As demand for educational support grew, we expanded our operations to major cities, towns, and remote villages. Fifteen years later, the Foundation operates in 46 DU centers across the country in collaboration with a variety of local partners, including public schools, higher education institutions, nonprofits, and private organizations. These efforts are coordinated through Bridge the Digital Divide Sierra Leone, a dedicated local NGO serving as the operational arm of the Foundation.

Sierra Leone’s engagement with the Foundation highlights a successful collaboration, showcasing the dedication of all involved parties. Building on this success, we launched several key programs, including the “Tablet for Kids Course” in September 2018 to equip the youth with technological tools and the “Introduction to Computer Basics for Impaired People” in October 2019, which targeted at-risk individuals. In 2022, in partnership with UNICEF, the Foundation aimed to empower 10,000 adolescent girls nationwide, enhancing their digital literacy and employment prospects through the Introduction to Computer Basics course.

By March 2024, we had reached over 290,000 beneficiaries since its inception, significantly advancing our mission to bridge the digital divide and enhance educational opportunities throughout the country.