5 June 2013
by Andrew B. Greene Jr, Founder and CEO of B-Gifted Foundation
The Digital Hope Project of the B-Gifted Foundation of Sierra Leone was selected and recognized as one of the best Digital Ideas and Digital Talent at ITU Telecom World 2011. The 'Digital Hope' initiative received an investment from the ITU. As a winning idea, the project is helping to solve some of the world’s most pressing problems. Helping war victims has become one of the serious challenges in Sierra Leone with approximately 20,000 people having had their hands and legs chopped off and amputated. Although there is currently peace across the entire country, most of the war victims still cannot live as normal human beings and are marginalized from the mainstream of using Information and Communication Technology
Since that time, the Digital Hope Project from the B-Gifted Foundation has created a multimedia training centre for amputee victims of the civil war. The participants receive vocational computer training to enable them to enter the modern job market and earn an income. The centre also opens on a commercial basis, using the profits to subsidize trainers’ salaries and cover electricity costs.
The Digital hope project is currently related to sustainable economic activities through online products. The project is also related to entrepreneurism, capitalizing on untapped local pockets of opportunity. These sets of learners are urged to collaborate on projects that enhances capacity and growth. A portion of the profits are used to defray program costs and trainer salaries. Trainers teach essential IT, academic, entrepreneurial and personal skills through a scaffold of sequential educational activities. They also serve as mentors and help to identify projects having wider economic potential.
Through the Digital Hope project's innovation it is helping disadvantaged war victims improve their community living standards, excite the youth with results orientated exposure to new ideas and concepts, provide long term job opportunities in rural communities and much more. In addition, although the principal beneficiaries are war victims, (amputees), it has aided the communities with a Multimedia access centre in rural communities who utilize the facilities in a cost-effective basis.
Another result of this project is that even non-amputees living in these communities, who were once polarized from the victims in the camp, come in the week quite often not only to access the facilities but to mingle, socialize, attracted too by the enormous possibility of access to new forms of ICT. Yet the challenges are still there: computers and ICT accessories are powered by generator that needs constant gas/fossil fuel to keep it running. This method is not only less economically sustainable but also not environmentally friendly. There is a need for solar energy use as alternative energy to help generate electricity power supply for the project.
You can read more about the Digital Hope Project here.