At a time when innovation intertwines seamlessly with progress, Sierra Leone stands poised at the threshold of an exciting new chapter.
As President Julius Maada Bio embarks on his second term, the nation’s Directorate of Science, Technology, and Innovation (DSTI), is working on a captivating array of projects that promise to reshape the country’s future. These initiatives, implemented in partnership with UNICEF, resonate with the nation’s quest for growth and development.
“Science and technology are not mere tools; they are the driving force behind transformation,” emphasises James Houghton, Head of UNICEF Sierra Leone’s Innovation Unit.
Sierra Leone’s collaboration with UNICEF reflects a shared vision of empowerment, bridging the gap between potential and opportunity. With this partnership, Generation Unlimited(GenU) emerges as a beacon of hope. This initiative rallies young minds, propelling them towards innovative solutions that transcend conventional boundaries. In 2022, a team of three college students represented Sierra Leone at the GenU global challenge and won seed funding to implement their E-Learning initiative.
Another avenue for progress lies in the government’s commitment to Digital Public Goods. This initiative casts a wide net of accessibility, ensuring that knowledge and information transcend digital barriers.
The Learning Passport and Digital Learning Hub, two cornerstones of this endeavour, symbolise President Bio’s dedication to an inclusive education system. The Learning Passport, a digital repository of educational content, becomes a passport to unbounded knowledge. Students across the country can access past exam questions and simulated mock exams for free to better prepare them for national examinations. This initiative has cumulatively saved parents more than 1 million dollars previously spent on purchasing past papers.
As Salima Bah, the newly appointed Minister of Communications, Technology, and Innovation, aptly puts it, “We’re opening doors that were once locked to many.”
Project Giga stands as a testament to the government’s determination to build the infrastructure needed to access digital learning opportunities. Giga will connect 11,00 schools to the internet to empower students with a world of information but also nurture the digital skills development of digital champions ready to shape the future.
Dr. David Moinina Sengeh, Chief Innovation Officer and Chief Minister, echoes this sentiment, highlighting how Project Giga lays the foundation for a more connected and empowered society.
Amidst the confluence of innovation and promise, Sierra Leone’s journey is illuminated by the stories of transformation woven into these initiatives. Stories of young minds kindled by the Learning Passport, anecdotes of remote communities connected through Project Giga, and narratives of collaboration that have transcended borders.
These endeavours are more than just projects; they are narratives of hope, promise, and progress. The collaboration with UNICEF, championed by individuals like James Houghton, Salima Bah, and Dr. Sengeh, resonates as a testament to the transformative power of science and technology.
The narrative of Sierra Leone’s science and technology gains under President Julius Maada Bio’s second term combines ingenuity with national resilience.
It is a narrative that infuses hope, promise, and transformation into the very fabric of the nation’s future, weaving a compelling story that resonates with people at every level of society.