Geneva-based UBS Optimus Foundation and the Peter Cundill Foundation
have awarded a 1,050,000 swiss francs (10,5 billion leones) grant to
the Directorate of Science, Technology, and Innovation (DSTI) to support
the Education Innovation Challenge (EIC) on its quest to improve
learning outcomes at primary schools. The EIC is under the technical
supervision of the Human Capital Development (HCD) Incubator at DSTI. President Bio launched the HCD Incubator in December 2018.
Cundill Foundation was established in Bermuda in 2012, following the
death of its founder, Peter Cundill. In low to middle-income countries
like Sierra Leone, PC Foundation supports organizations that are
increasing learning adjusted years of schooling (LAYS) through wider
access to and/or quality of basic education.
UBS Optimus Foundation is a grant-making foundation working to break
down barriers that prevent children from reaching their potential by
funding leading organizations to improve the health, education, and
protection of children.
“UBS Optimus Foundation has previously supported education work in
Sierra Leone through various partners. However, this direct investment
in government through DSTI enables us to drive evidence-based
policymaking and research in the educational sector,” said Dr. Moinina
David Sengeh, Chief Innovation Officer.
“The only way we can transform education- through data, innovation,
and policymaking-is to focus on the learning outcomes for the children.
This grant will support DSTI and partners to evaluate learners directly
and also test new innovations and programs that will support the
government’s flagship program in education.”
The government of Sierra Leone launched its Free Quality School
Education Program in August 2018; the first year focused on access. Year
two, which began in August 2019, is where the Education Innovation
Challenge (EIC) comes in.
Save the Children-Sierra Leone, Rising Academy Networks, EducAid,
National Youth Awareness Forum Sierra Leone (NYAFSL), and World Vision
International, are working in 170 schools randomly selected across all
regions for the 2019-2020 school year.
The Human Capacity Development Incubator is a hub for local
start-ups, private, public, and academic organizations to collaborate on
projects that will help citizens access government services and
information more efficiently. At the HCD, partners share data, build
models, develop hypotheses, and test pilot projects to inform government
investments in human capital.
In July 2019, the HCD Incubator received a $582,626 grant from the New Venture Fund for Global Policy and Advocacy. In November, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation awarded the HCD Incubator a $773,476 grant for DSTI’s Integrated GIS Portal.