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Revolutionizing Innovation: University Students Participate in Two-Day Digital Public Goods 3D Printing Hackathon in Kenema, Sierra Leone

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.


Redefining Digital Education In Sierra Leone: 1000+ Teachers Embrace The Learning Passport

(Dr.  Babasile Daniel, UNICEF’s DPG Consultant, Aiding Participants With The Mobile LP During Breakout Session In Port Loko)

The Directorate of Science, Technology, and Innovation (DSTI) in partnership with UNICEF Sierra Leone and Ministry of Basic & Senior Secondary Education (MBSSE), has initiated an 8-week training program for teachers in Kabala, Falaba, Kambia, and West Rural Area Sierra Leone, Tonkolili, Kenema, Bo and Port Loko. The program is designed to train teachers on the use of the Learning Passport, an innovative online platform that provides students with access to past exam questions and simulated mock exercises.

Left To Right (Dr. Babasile Daniel, Unicef DPG Consultant, Mr. Osman Kamara, Director of Curriculum & Research MBSSE, Mr. Joseph Fallah Yondah, Learning Passport Specialist Unicef)

Now in its 4th week, the training has been a resounding success, with teachers embracing the Learning Passport as a tool for revolutionising the education system in Sierra Leone. The participants have been enthusiastic about the program, recognizing the potential it has to improve the quality of education and enhance students’ academic performance.

(Mr. Koroma Making A Statement)

One of the participating teachers, Mr. Koroma, stated, “The Learning Passport is a game-changer. It provides our students with access to exam questions from past years, and it enables them to practise simulated mock exams, which is crucial for their success in national exams.” He went on to add that “this training is preparing us to use the Learning Passport effectively, and we can’t wait to implement it in our classrooms.”

Mr. Edward Vamboi, Innovation Specialist At UNICEFSL Facilitating Breakout Session.

The Learning Passport is an online platform that provides access to a wide range of educational resources, including videos, games, quizzes, and past exam questions. The platform is designed to be user-friendly, and it can be accessed on any device with an internet connection.

A Teacher Asking Questions On The Use Of The LP

The impact of the Learning Passport on students’ academic performance has been significant. According to UNICEF, students who use the Learning Passport are more likely to pass their exams and progress to the next grade. The platform has also been instrumental in increasing students’ engagement and motivation, as it provides a fun and interactive way of learning.

According to Mr. Bani Forster, the LP program coordinator, “The Learning Passport has the potential to transform the education system in Sierra Leone, and we are excited about the impact it will have on our students. We are pleased to see that the teachers are embracing the platform and are eager to use it in their classrooms.”

(DSTI’s LP Project Lead, Bani Forster Gives LP Overview Before Training)

As the training program enters its 5th week, there is no doubt that the Learning Passport will continue to play a vital role in improving the quality of education in Sierra Leone. The enthusiasm and dedication of the participating teachers are a testament to the impact of the platform and the commitment of educators to enhance the learning experience for their students.

In conclusion, the Learning Passport training program is a step towards transforming the education system in Sierra Leone. It provides students with access to crucial resources and enhances their academic performance. With the commitment of the participating teachers, the impact of the Learning Passport is bound to be significant, and there is no doubt that the training program will continue to empower teachers and students alike.


DSTI & UNICEF hold the first official meeting of the Sierra Leone Digital Public Goods Steering Committee.

The Directorate of Science, Technology, and Innovation (DSTI), in partnership with United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), officially held the first meeting of the Digital Public Goods Sierra Leone technical working group on Friday, 3rd February, 2023.

(DSTI’s Director & Chief Operating Officer,  Ms. Michala Mackay making the opening statement)

The gathering’s inaugural session, which included top specialists in the digital field from across the professional spectrum, was widely attended. Government Ministers, development partners, civil society activists, business executives, non-governmental organisation representatives, journalists, and many more made up the audience.

Digital public goods are public goods in the form of open-source software, data sets, AI models, or digital content. These tools contribute to achieving the United Nations’ Sustainable development goals (SDGs), and must meet a range of international standards found here.

As the proud home of Africa’s first representative on the Digital Public Goods Alliance Governance Board, Sierra Leone has established itself as a steadfast supporter of incorporating open-source technology into many development areas, including health, agriculture, and disaster response. This has also given some colleges the chance to adjust their curricula to meet the rising demand for fundamental digital skills.

(Presidential Adviser, Dr. Emmanuel Gaima, Delivering The Keynote Address On Behalf Of The Chief Minister)

UNICEF’s’s Country Representative, Dr. Suleiman Braimoh, believes that “the launch of this DPG Initiative comes as a welcomed sequel to DPG Hackathon which brought together young people from different backgrounds to collaborate and build sustainable digital solutions to problems in their communities.

The launch of this initiative promises to make open-source software and tools accessible to emerging technocrats and tech enthusiasts whilst addressing the existing challenge of skills gaps for young people within the workforce by providing more digital learning opportunities.”

(Unicef’s Country Representative, Dr. Suleiman Braimoh Making A Statement)

“The roll-out of this initiative is set to optimise and redefine existing notions about DPGs meaningfully. Furthermore, the initiative aligns with the broader objective of advancing President Julius Maada Bio’s Human Capital Development Agenda for the people of Sierra Leone” – Dr. Francis Kaikai, Minister of Planning & Economic Development.

(Dr. Francis Kaikai, Minister of Planning & Economic Development, making a statement)

Delivering his closing remarks, DSTI Consultant, Kahil Ali, emphasised the great deal of promise he sees in this initiative.

( DSTI Consultant, Kahil Ali, Delivering His Closing Remarks)

`We can only meet the demands of the 21st century workforce if we acquire the capacity and skills required locally. DPG’s have the potential to provide a wide range of benefits and even more opportunities to our young people. In addition to driving the job market through potential job creation, the money saved by using DPG’s can be used to benefit many of the citizens across Sierra Leone.’ – DSTI Consultant, Kahil Ali.

Want to know more about the DPGs or how to get involved?  Learn More Here 

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