This week marked the start of an ambitious project by MTN employees in Ivory Coast to teach at least 1000 women how to read and write, using a mobile phone.
Aptly called the “Y’ello ABC”, the 3-week project forms part of MTN’s group-wide annual 21 Days of Y’ello Care employee volunteer programme. The Y’ello Care programme runs from 1 to 21 June across MTN markets in Africa and the Middle East.
To ensure they are adequately prepared, this week, the MTNers (as MTN staff are known) received lessons and tips from literacy professionals. And to enable ‘learners’ to join the digital revolution, literacy classes were specifically developed and delivered through the use of mobile phones, with emphasis on reading letters and interpreting numbers or figures. Lessons will be conducted in local languages and French.
“MTNers will conduct lessons through short message service (SMS). In Ivory Coast, 51% of the people are illiterate and two-thirds are women. As MTN, we believe that teaching these women how to read and write will greatly enhance their ability to participate in the economy and improve their lives. The development and future of our country require building the capacity of women,” says Jocelyn Adjoby, General Manager for Corporate Services, MTN Ivory Coast.
Other initiatives being undertaken in Ivory Coast as part of the Y’ello Care programme include developing an online knowledge share platform for teachers and an MTN Mobile University. The latter is a digital knowledge caravan, which gives people an opportunity to experience the Internet.
In Congo Brazzaville, MTNers intend to install 21 libraries in 21 schools.
“In less than 5 days, we have already received over 3000 books from MTNers. Our aim is to collect and purchase at least 23 000 books for these libraries, to help cultivate a culture of reading and discovery,” Cyriaque Okoumou Ombolla, Head of Corporate Services at MTN Congo.
In North Africa, MTN employees in Sudan kicked off their programme with an ICT training activity for women with disabilities, in collaboration with the Federal Union of People with Disabilities and Ryada For Development. A number of MTN employees, including senior management, participated in delivering the training, which has so far benefitted 31 disabled women. The programme aims to benefit at least 91 disabled women in three localities in Khartoum state, and will continue after the Y’ello Care period of 21 days, to reach over 800 disabled women in Sudan. Also launched this week in Khartoum, was the rehabilitation of a Deaf and Mute School.
“MTNers in Sudan are always enthusiastic to volunteer in philanthropic activities. Despite the extremely high temperature, employees are not hesitant to go out to make a difference. I am very proud to be part of this family,” says Abdalla Elfadil, Head of Corporate Services at MTN Sudan.
In other MTN operations, employees in Cyprus have dedicated their efforts towards creating awareness about cyber-bullying. In Ghana, the MTN team chose to build e-libraries in Accra, Kumasi and Tarkwa, which would open up access to over 40 000 e-books on a wide range of subjects. MTNers will also mount a cloud service demonstration to connect two tertiary institutions to promote the exchange and transfer of knowledge.
In Zambia, this week MTN donated 10 computers to Edwin Mulongoti, Hillside and George Central primary schools in Lusaka’s Matero constituency.
In keeping with this year’s theme of ‘Investing in Education for All’, MTN Uganda staff will travel to the different regions of Uganda to set up Regional ICT Hubs. Tomorrow, MTN staff will head northwards to the Kabarole District, to the Kichwamba Technical Institute and Kabarole Public Library. During the 21 days, staff will set up ICT hubs in five regions i.e. East, West, North, Central and South West. This will complement the MTN Internet Bus, a vital component for the promotion of ICT in rural areas in an effort to bridge the gap between rural and urban areas.
Last week, MTN Uganda launched its fully kitted, state of the art MTN Internet Bus worth UShs. 600 million. The bus, which is the first of its kind in Uganda, will go a long way in driving MTN Uganda’s vision of enhancing ICT education across the country. The Bus is equipped with 16 high-end computer working stations, with access to 4G LTE, 3G and Wi-Fi connectivity.
In South Africa, the MTN SA Foundation is hosting a half marathon on Saturday, 7 June, to raise funds for Y’ello Care activities. The marathon is open to all South Africans, and will start at MTN Group corporate head office in Fairland, Johannesburg.