According to the UN, more than 3.7 million people in Somalia – around a third of the population – are on the brink of starvation.
In response, South African mobile operator Vodacom today launched a donor relief campaign that enables its customers to donate via SMS.
The campaign, called Relief for Somalia, is part of Vodacom’s aim to use mobile phones for good and is aimed at raising funds for hunger-stricken Somali’s who are in desperate need of water and food relief.
Vodacom customers can donate up to R200 in multiples of R5, via the SMS line 38207.
Vodacom also pledged to match the amount raised by customers and has waived any charges associated with the use of SMS to ensure that 100% of donations are handed over to the South African Red Cross Society (SARCS), who are coordinating our relief efforts in support of Somalia.
The UN’s umbrella humanitarian agency OCHA (Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs) said the “crisis in southern Somalia is expected to continue to worsen through 2011, with all areas of the south slipping into famine.”
“We are deeply disturbed by the situation in Somalia and we think that our customers are too. South Africans are eager to contribute towards this cause and it made sense to create a platform that will make it easy for them to pledge their support. The Relief for Somalia SMS line is open from today,” says Mthobi Tyamzashe, Executive Director for CSI at Vodacom.
Giving back to the community is a big part of Vodacom’s brand philosophy to use mobile phones to do good and this initiative enables the network, its customers and staff to jointly express support for the victims in Somalia.
“We are very pleased that Vodacom and its customers are joining our efforts to bring relief to those in Somalia. Our aim is to support the feeding programs for malnourished children and ensuring drinking water for hundreds of thousands of people are a priority for Red Cross,” said Mandisa Kalako Williams, Secretary General of SARCS.
The funds raised will be used to purchase food, hygiene packs and water purification tablets for the relief operation.