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At Computer Aid International, we are on a mission to provide low cost solutions using information and communications technologies (ICTs) to tackle poverty and overcome disadvantage by working closely with local communities. To do this, we need the help of technology industry players like Amadeus.
This formed the basis of our agreement in 2015 and now this partnership has come to fruition in the form of a pilot designed to tackle the digital divide in Sierra Leone. Along with UK based foundations, computer classrooms, or e-Classes, have been implemented in rural primary and secondary schools across the city of Moyamba.
With the support of Njala University, the project will reach 10 schools to provide improved lessons in technology for over 4,000 students, preparing them for further education and a competitive job market later in life. Students will be able to connect to the university’s satellite internet connection, giving them access to a wealth of resources and teaching materials online. It also offers the chance for students to take part in joint online programmes that run nationally, regionally and sometimes internationally, empowering the students with cross-cultural awareness.
Amadeus has provided 100 computers, which Computer Aid has refurbished and delivered to the project. In addition to the logistics, Computer Aid is directing the partner engagement and project management, with the funding from UK charities, including The British and Foreign Schools Foundation, Winton Charitable Foundation, The Pat Newman Foundation, The Michael Cornish Charitable Trust, SC and ME Morland's Charitable Trust, and the Sevenhills Wholefoods Foundation.
The project focuses on digital inclusion and addresses the disparity between people’s access to technologies, i.e. the digital divide. This project ensures that all students regardless of learning ability, location, and social or financial background are able to access the e-Classes provided. A key part of addressing this divide lays in the selection of schools, therefore all of the schools selected take students from low income families, support equal access for girls and boys, and also cover rural locations.
It’s through projects such as these with the support from technology donors like Amadeus and the project’s joint funders that the skills shortages faced by countries like Sierra Leone can be addressed and challenged. The long term impact of this project is potentially huge, as it creates a skilled workforce which will play a big part in enhancing Sierra Leone’s ability to compete in the global economy.