Bringing digital literacy to Ghana

master's degree student eric assan looking at camera with arms crossed
  • Davis Project for Peace Grant Winner 2023
  • Founder, Literacy Africa
  • Mastercard Foundation Scholar 2022-2023
  • MA Education (Policy, Politics and Leadership), School of Education, University of California, Berkeley
master's degree student eric assan with large group of children
master's degree student eric assan with three others in peace program

The rapid advancement of technology around the world has brought about many benefits but has also highlighted the importance of digital literacy and mentorship in ensuring that individuals, particularly children, are equipped with the skills they need to succeed in a digitally evolving world.

In Ghana, many children, especially those in rural and low-income areas, lack access to digital literacy education, which potentially hinders their ability to succeed in a technology-driven world.

According to recent World Bank reports in 2022 on population growth in sub-Saharan Africa, it is estimated that 25% of the world’s population will be African by 2030. With the evolving nature of work and the demographic dividend advantage reported by the World Bank, there is a need for Africa's education system to prioritize skill development through the provision of digital literacy skills. This will effectively equip its labor force for the development of Africa and the rest of the world.

Literacy Africa seeks to address this issue through the Digital Literacy and Mentorship Project (DLMP), which aims to bridge the technological divide for African rural students.

Literacy Africa is a non-profit organization that seeks to empower young people in rural Africa to attain 21st century skills through educational programs, including STEM education, skills training, and mentoring opportunities to improve the quality of life and promote quality education.

The Digital Literacy and Mentorship Project (DLMP) was implemented on August 11, 2023, at Enyan Maim DA Methodist Primary JHS School in the Central Region of Ghana and was aimed at addressing the digital divide and inspiring “Innovators of Tomorrow”. The project culminated in the official launch of Literacy Africa, the handover of a renovated ICT lab, the donation of ICT equipment, digital skills training, and a mentoring session for the students.

Literacy Africa will continue to provide digital literacy education and implement STEM programs, skills training, and K–12 institutions in Africa in order to sustain its impact. With the help of grants and the generosity of donors, Literacy Africa hopes to establish a Digital Skills Hub that comprises a traditional library, computers, and a study to serve as a comprehensive learning center for all students.

As a firm believer in the BSE core values of transformation, equity, and collective change, I am always inspired to look for avenues and opportunities to give back to my community.
In my early days at Berkeley, I was astounded by the intersection of data science, digital advancement in every aspect of campus life, and the inherent curiosity and exploratory spirit among students. This inspired me to begin to conceptualize and think about the best ways I could tap into the Berkeley spirit of innovation and creativity. That birthed the idea of a digital literacy project that would catalyze the transformation and collective change needed to drive Africa's development.

This social impact was made possible thanks to the generosity of the Davis Peace Project. I am grateful to the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program for making my dream of attending UC Berkeley a reality.

I would also like to thank the International House at UC Berkeley, Gigi Wang, the Industry Fellow and BMOE Bootcamp Chair at the Sutardja Center, as well as my advisors at the Berkeley School of Education, Professor Bruce Carl Fuller and Professor Derek Van Rheneen, who encouraged and supported me throughout the process. Special thanks to my colleagues Jennifer Sarkwaah and Yaa Fremah Sarkodie of the Goldman School of Public Policy.

Working on this project has been a great opportunity for me to learn and grow. I was able to interact with students, community members, and leaders, work with people from different backgrounds, lead a team of committed volunteers, and gain valuable project management, communication, and organizational skills. Due to my involvement in this, I have learned the value of having a positive social impact, empowering rural communities, recognizing the enormous potential that Africans possess, and giving back to the local community.

“Education does not change the world; education changes people; people change the world.”
Paulo Freire.