By ABCafrica reporter
MTN Uganda has announced a cash pledge of one billion Uganda Shillings; to the Office of the Prime Minister. This was during the Refugee Solidarity Summit at Speke Resort Munyonyo recently. While announcing the pledge, MTN Uganda Chief Executive Officer Wim Vanhelleputte remarked, “This money will be used towards the immunization of children in the refugee camps. The pledge will be implemented through the MTN Foundation in collaboration with the Office of the Prime Minister, UNHCR and other specialized agencies and organizations”.
He added that this was in addition to the work that MTN has carried out in the Pagirinyi Resettlement camp in Adjumani District- Northern Uganda referring to recent activities held under the 21 Days of Y’ello Care initiative.
The event hosted by Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni and the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres saw over 30 heads of state plus international donors and high profile guests in attendance as they jointly sought to raise 2 billion dollars to meet the humanitarian needs of the refugees and to support hosting communities for the next four years.
The UN estimates that in just one year, largely due to an influx of people fleeing violence and instability in South Sudan, the refugee population in Uganda has more than doubled – from 500,000 to more than 1.25 million – making the country host to the world’s fastest growing refugee emergency. Uganda plays host to refugees from the region and other conflict areas.
In addition, the 21 Days of Y’ello Care is a staff volunteerism campaign that encourages MTN staff across all MTN operations to support impactful social development initiatives within the communities in which they live and work.
“2017 marked 11 years of Y’ello Care creating a positive difference and opportunities, causing real change, bringing hope, fostering social and economic development in the communities; where we operate and live in. 11 years of changing lives. The theme for 2017 was ‘Investing in Education for All”, added Vanhelleputte .
He further said; at MTN, the key CSR priority area for community investment is Education. This supports the belief that there is a direct link between improved literacy and the socio-economic status of any community. “MTN Uganda is committed to support such initiatives that further enhance human capacity building as a catalyst for economic development”, he pointed out.
Y’ello Care this year saw MTN staff travel to nine schools throughout the country. They travelled to Entebbe, Masaka, Masindi, Iganga and Pagirinya Refugee Settlement Camp in Adjumani and in Kampala. They visited the suburbs of Bukoto and Lubiri with the finale event held at Kireka Primary School.
Some of the activities carried out at the schools were; cleaning of the school communities to create a sanitary environment, renovation and painting of existent structures, donation of scholastic items ranging from text books and teacher study guides to geometry sets and exercise books to boost literacy. It is key to note that 21 Days of Y’ello Care is largely funded by MTN staff and depends on staff volunteerism to carry out the activities.
Through this campaign, MTN has also continued to demonstrate its commitment to the delivery of a Bold, New Digital World, by providing ICT training, audio-visual educational content and donating computers fully connected to MTN’s signature fast, unlimited 3G and 4G internet to the communities that we visited. MTN will continue to extend wide internet access to the majority of Ugandans through availability and affordability.
In the words of Nelson Mandela, “Without education, your children can never really meet the challenges they will face. So it’s very important to give children education and explain that they should play a role for their country.”
By ABCafrica reporter