The Directorate of Science, Technology, and Innovation building in Freetown, Sierra Leone, is not your average state office. On a given day, people might be clustered around a 3D printer or a mapping program. Others might be heading outside for a football break, a standup meeting in the courtyard, or a data-crunching session in a hammock under the trees. In the middle of it all will be a man with kind eyes, dreadlocks, and colorful socks, giving someone his rapt attention.
DSTI is one of Sierra Leone’s newest directorates. And the figure at the center is Moinina David Sengeh, PhD ’16, a native of the country and its first chief innovation officer.
For the past year, Sengeh and his colleagues have been approaching some of the country’s most pressing issues—from water security to education access—with a boldness and creativity not often found in government, eschewing rigid roles and bureaucracy in favor of hackathons and interdisciplinary teamwork.