UNICEF Sierra Leone handed over 113 laptops and 23 projectors to the Ministry of Communications, Technology, and Innovation for young people in 39 schools across the country as part of the Giga project.
Giga is a UNICEF-International Telecommunications Union (ITU) initiative to connect every school to the Internet and every young person to information, opportunity, and choice.
“This strategic move is expected to empower students to emerge as leaders and driving forces of development across the nation in line with national priorities that reflect a collective commitment to advancing education, technology, and youth empowerment,” said Ms Salima Bah, Minister of Communications, Technology and Innovation as she received the items. “These will foster innovation, facilitate employment opportunities, and constructing a robust digital economy for youths in the country.”
Currently, less than 1 per cent of schools in Sierra Leone are connected to the Internet and only three out of ten people have access to the Internet.
“We need to bridge the digital divide by increasing access to technology and empowering young people with the skills they need to navigate and benefit from opportunities in this digital era,” said Rudolf Schwenk, UNICEF Representative in Sierra Leone. “With limited access to technology and the internet, thousands of children and young people lack the digital skills they need for their future.”
A 2021 global report by the Economist Intelligence Unit found that a 10% increase in school connectivity can increase effective years of schooling by 0.6 per cent and increase GDP per capita by 1.1 per cent.
The initiative will contribute to the transformative potential of empowering young people with technology to bridge the digital divide by setting up tech-enabled learning hubs, connecting schools to the internet, and supplying essential equipment so that young people could be equipped with modern digital skills.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of UNICEF Sierra Leone.