Bridging The Digital Gap For Pupils in Rural Ghana
Discovery Bay International School (DBIS)
A digital gap and a village as inspiration – this is how Kingsley Dzidzor Afetorgbor's business idea can be described. When he happened to visit Ziope a few years ago, he noticed a strong digital education gap between urban and rural areas. The village in the Agotime Ziope District in the Volta Region is about a three-hour drive from Accra, Ghana's capital, and offered few opportunities to learn more about information and communication technology (ICT) sector. Kingsley's unforeseen stopover led to the success story of Discovery Bay International School (DBIS), particularly the computer and library section. Together with his wife, Kingsley founded the school and established the ICT and Library Lab, which over the years has become an institution beyond Ziope. And that is certainly no coincidence!
Closing the digital divide between urban and rural areas in Ghana
"I am ambitious and determined. I love challenges and constantly set new goals for myself so that I have something to strive for. I don't like to settle for one thing and am always looking for a way to improve and achieve great things," is how Kingsley Dzidzor Afetorgbor explains the philosophy and approach to his project. Despite this determined attitude, implementation was not easy.
This is because DBIS is a private school in the Volta region of Ghana not far from the border to Togo. It is officially registered as a private school and has a catchment area that extends beyond the village boundaries. First to sixth graders have computer courses in ICT, learn how to handle software and hardware and can get to know the world of programming languages and coding. Despite the privately financed structure, there was a lack of good and basic equipment at the beginning. At the same time, Kingsley had to strike a balance between aspiration and reality. After all, school fees are a financial burden for many families in the region. They could not be too high, otherwise parents would not have been able to enrol their children in his school at all. Kingsley had to prioritize, because the more costs he incurred in constructing the Lab building, the less money he had left to buy computers.
"For me, it is important to build bridges and to close gaps: In this case, the gap between urban and rural education provision and the gap between those who are digitally savvy at an early age and those who need to be introduced to the digital world first!"
Kingsley Dzidzor Afetorgbor, Founder DIBS
Hope, faith in God and a plan: to offer computer courses for the youngest
Kingsley was not deterred by this. His guiding principles: Hope, trust in God and a plan. "Hope is a big motivation for me!" says Kingsley. "For me, it's important to build bridges, to close gaps. In this case, the disparity between urban and rural education, between those who are digitally savvy at an early age and those who need to be introduced to this world first!". He knocked down open doors with his idea with his diaspora supporter Godwin Gladson Delase Ampony. The latter has been living and working as a pastor in Bielefeld, Germany, since 2018. There he works in the diaconia and is a member of the "International Community of Diaconic Management". Their vision is to be a learning community that serves the disadvantaged with love and professionalism. Or to paraphrase Kingsley: "What there is in the city, there should be in the village!"
The ICT and Library Lab as a technology hub for rural areas.
With the financial support of WIDU and his donor Godwin Gladson Delase Ampony, Kingsley was able to purchase fifteen computers, textbooks for the library and building materials, as well as pay for the construction of the school. Despite delays in the construction of the ICT and Library Lab due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the building was completed.
In the meantime, the Lab has become known and popular beyond the village borders, so that children also come here from other parts of the Agotime Ziope District. Three jobs have been created for the Lab. At the award ceremony for the Tech WIDU Award 2023, laudator Kathrin Daum from WIDU not only emphasised this aspect, but also Kingsley's imagination: "The winner of the Tech WIDU Award 2023 is a visionary leader committed to bridging the digital divide and creating opportunities for children in rural communities."