On International Day of the Girl Child, learn more about UNICEF’s education program in Sierra Leone and hear from Edith, a young entrepreneur finding her potential in the program.

Article Company announcement default 11.10.2023

Rovio has supported UNICEF’s education program in Sierra Leone since 2022. During the past two years, the country has already taken big steps in improving education to better answer the needs of future work life. Over 20,000 children and youth have learned the basics of computing in four UNICEF-established learning centers around the country, getting an opportunity to utilize information technology and learn digitally.

Emmi Chaguaro, program specialist at UNICEF Finland comments, “Children from poor families and children who live in remote areas face the biggest risk of being excluded from digital opportunities. The learning centers that were established with UNICEF’s support help children in different phases of learning and ensure that they get the full benefit from the opportunities of information technology.

As part of UNICEF’s education program, the digital learning material was also developed so that part of the material can be used offline and on a cell phone.

“Rewarding and exciting” - 20-year old Edith from Sierra Leone learns entrepreneurship and digital skills with the help of UNICEF’s education program.

20-year old Edith Kadija Sheriff focuses at the moment on completing her accounting degree while learning entrepreneurship and digital skills with the help of UNICEF. Edith got into UNICEF’s E-UPSHIFT program, a fully digital innovation and entrepreneurship program for youth.

The purpose of the E-UPSHIFT program is to give opportunities and skills especially to the most vulnerable young people,” says Hanna-Leena Markus from UNICEF Finland.

With the help of the digital learning program, Edith has gained knowledge and understanding on business-related topics, helping her to build her future business idea.

This is the first time I’m learning with the help of a computer, and the experience has been eye-opening, rewarding and exciting,” says Edith.

Edith finds the method well-suited, as she can work on both her accounting degree and the E-UPSHIFT curriculum simultaneously during her free time in a computer classroom. Edith’s goal is to develop her business idea of selling hair care and hair extension products.

I originally started selling hair extensions to pay for my accounting degree. I noticed that there is a lot of potential in selling hair care products, and with the knowledge I have now gained, I have the tools to expand my business,” adds Edith.

UNICEF has supported access to quality education in Sierra Leone, one of the goals being making education better suited to the needs and challenges of future work life. In 2022, UNICEF supported multiple significant initiatives in Sierra Leone that strengthen the education system and offer a clear plan and strategy for further development in the coming years. Big steps have already been taken for example in renewing the country’s education system and continuing education for teachers.

Working on gender equality has long been one of the focus areas of Rovio’s sustainability efforts. Rovio’s collaboration with UNICEF that started in 2019 is at the core of that work. Since 2022, Rovio’s company donation has been directed to UNICEF’s country-wide education program in Sierra Leone. Sierra Leone is one of the poorest countries in the world with 80% of children living in poverty. The challenges are prevalent especially when it comes to education for girls – only 51% of girls can read, while 65% of boys are literate.

Through our collaboration with UNICEF, we can support the grassroots level work in a concrete way, and enable help for children and youth in the long term. It is always great to read stories like Edith’s, where we can see what tangible results these kinds of educational programs can bring,” says Heini Kaihu, Rovio’s Chief Sustainability Officer.

Today, and every day, we celebrate girls around the world. Inspiring stories such as Edith’s give determination and courage to continue our work on making the world a more equal place for everyone.