MTN Group has invited over 219 million customers across Africa and the Middle East to join hands with the company in a 3-month campaign, starting 1 December, to raise funds for a “United Against Ebola” initiative.
In response an appeal from the African Union (AU), MTN and other leading companies in Africa committed logistical support and in kind contributions as part of the first wave of pledges at a recent Africa Business Roundtable hosted by the AU in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The companies also agreed to leverage their resources and capacity to help galvanise citizen action around a “United Against Ebola” campaign, and to provide individuals across Africa and globally with an opportunity to contribute.
As part of its pledge, MTN has committed US$10 million and is now inviting customers to participate in an SMS campaign to donate a minimum of US$1. MTN is also working with some of Africa’s most celebrated musicians to produce an inspirational song for digital download on its MTN Play store. All proceeds from sales, post publishing rights and subscription payments, will be donated to the AU campaign.
MTN has been an integral part of efforts to tackle the spread of Ebola in countries where the company operates, with special emphasis on Guinea-Conakry and Liberia.
“MTN is supporting this campaign to give further impetus to concerted efforts aimed at combating the Ebola epidemic and saving lives. As MTN, we believe the only way to start reversing the devastating effects of the outbreak is to come together to tackle the spread of the disease, and ease the suffering it continues to inflict on families and communities,” says Sifiso Dabengwa, MTN Group President and CEO.
In affected countries where MTN operates such as Guinea Conakry and Liberia, MTN is working closely with authorities to curb the spread of the disease. MTN has set up a number of interventions to assist staff, their families and communities.
Some of the measures include distributing information about the disease, its transmission and preventative measures. Working with International SOS, MTN has set up a website where staff can access up-to-date information on the disease and its management. As part of this partnership, a medical response team has been set up to offer advice and referral to medical care, if required.
In Liberia, for example, MTN has implemented a robust business continuity programme to, among other things, keep the network operational. Health measures taken include enhanced cleaning of office premises, with particular focus on bathrooms and toilets. MTN is also issuing personal protective equipment and clothing to employees who are either field or frontline staff, such as those in stores and service centres.
Other measures include the sanitisation of vehicles and establishment of a work from home solution for staff whose jobs permit. MTN has also advanced salaries to employees, so that they can stock up on supplies. MTN has also established an SMS short code to facilitate enhanced internal communication with personnel.
MTN Liberia staff also has access to two dedicated medical doctors and medical facilities. And in line with an intervention aimed at helping local communities, MTN has established a crisis call centre with authorities on the ground, as part of a collaborative response with the Liberian government to help minimise the impact of the disease.