The Directorate of Science, Technology, and Innovation (DSTI), in collaboration with The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Sierra Leone, recently organised a three-day digital public goods 3D printing hackathon for university students at the Eastern Technical University in Kenema, Eastern Sierra Leone. The event was aimed at promoting innovation and creativity among the students while also encouraging the development of digital public goods that can be used to tackle real-world challenges.
Digital public goods are defined as open-source software, open data, open educational resources, open standards, and open content that are designed to provide public benefits. These goods are essential for addressing global challenges such as poverty, inequality, and climate change, and are freely available for anyone to use, modify, and distribute.
The hackathon, which was attended by over 150 students, provided a platform for the participants to work collaboratively, exposed participants to foundational knowledge on 3D printing and develop innovative solutions that address some of the challenges faced in Sierra Leone. Participants were divided into teams and given access to 3D printing technology and other resources to help them bring their ideas to life.
One of the student participants, John Kamara, expressed his excitement about the event, saying, “This is an excellent opportunity for us to learn new skills and work collaboratively with other students to develop innovative solutions that can have a real impact on our society. I am excited about the possibilities that this hackathon presents, and I am looking forward to seeing what we can achieve.”
According to Babasile Daniel, UNICEF’s DPG Consultant, “The digital public goods 3D printing hackathon is an excellent initiative that will help to promote innovation and creativity among the students. It is an opportunity for them to learn new skills and work collaboratively with other students to develop innovative solutions that can have a real impact on society.”
Dr. Babasile Daniel, UNICEF’s DPG Consultant
The hackathon is expected to have a lasting impact on the participants, who have been equipped with new skills and knowledge that they can apply in their future endeavours. Additionally, the event is expected to contribute to the development of digital public goods that can be used to tackle real-world challenges in Sierra Leone and beyond.
Delivering her closing remarks, DPG Project Coordinator at DSTI, Bineta Diop expressed that the hackathon was not just a learning experience for the participants, but also an opportunity to promote innovation and entrepreneurship in Sierra Leone.
By leveraging technology to develop solutions to achieve the 17 SDG’s, young people can create new opportunities for themselves and their communities, and contribute to the economic and social development of the country.
As Ms. Diop put it, “Sierra Leone is full of talented young people who have the potential to create amazing things. By organising events like this hackathon, we can help them realise their potential and make a real difference in their communities and the world.”
In conclusion, the digital public goods 3D printing hackathon organised by the DSTI in partnership with UNICEF Sierra Leone was a resounding success.
The event provided a platform for university students in Sierra Leone to learn new skills, work collaboratively, and develop innovative solutions that can have a real impact on society. As the world continues to face global challenges, events like this will be crucial in promoting innovation and creativity among the next generation of leaders and problem-solvers.