During disease outbreaks, governments sometimes need to make extraordinary decisions to protect their populations, including restricting in-country or international travels, banning public or private gatherings, or closing service sites such as schools and religious centres. During the 2014 to 2016 Ebola outbreak and during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, the government of Sierra Leone closed all educational institutions, disrupting the education of thousands of children. To continue educating students remotely, the Ministry of Basic and Senior Secondary Education (MBSSE) developed the Education Radio Teaching Programme, broadcasting lessons recorded by experienced teachers across the country, allowing students to continue their education safely from home.
MBSSE later identified that due to the lack of contiguous FM radio transmitter coverage and the limited availability of receivers across the country, not all students were being reached. To tackle this challenge, MBSSE enlisted GRID3 to use geospatial data to inform strategic planning around improving coverage.
In collaboration with MBSSE, the GRID3 team at Flowminder carried out a three-phase analysis using Geographic Information System (GIS) techniques and its optimisation algorithm to determine how to achieve complete coverage.