MTN employees mark 10 years of volunteerism in their communities
Johannesburg – MTN employees in Afghanistan will spend the next 21 days establishing a computer lab and painting various schools in Kabul, while their colleagues in Syria will renovate a library and playground of a public school in Damascus. In Sudan, ‘MTNers’ will establish the country’s first national audio library to provide free, high quality audiobooks for visually impaired students.
These activities mark the start of the 10th edition of MTN’s flagship annual employee volunteerism programme - 21 Days of Y’ello Care. As part of the campaign, employees across MTN’s operations dedicate their resources and time (between 1 and 21 June), towards supporting education initiatives in their local communities.
“We are very excited and proud to mark this important 10-year milestone. As an organisation, we owe a great deal of gratitude to our employees, who have ensured that this campaign continues to be a success. Owing to their dedication and selflessness, they come out in numbers every year, armed with loads of passion, a ‘can do’ attitude and unwavering commitment to uplift their communities” says Chris Maroleng, Executive, Corporate Affairs, MTN Group.
10 years of changing lives
The programme has made a significant impact in communities where we operate, since its launch in 2007. Collectively, almost 95 000 employees have participated in Y’ello Care over the years.
At least eight classrooms have been built, with a further 150 refurbished. In addition, 22 libraries have been established or upgraded, 15 online libraries have been set up, more than 2400 learners have received funding toward their education and at least 700 school chairs and benches have been constructed by MTN employees. In the past two years, more than 600 000 people are estimated to have benefitted from the Y’ello Care programme.
“These numbers tell a compelling story of the true impact of this programme and give us further impetus to continue driving access to education, particularly through the digitisation of teaching and learning in our markets. We understand that access to education is key to helping young people to work towards becoming economically active citizens and to develop vibrant and stable societies”, adds Maroleng.
Y’ello Care 2016 initiatives
From the installation of fibre at local schools, to robotics and programming camps, and even cyber security awareness, Y’ello Care 2016 will include a vast array of projects under the banner of “investing in education for all”.
In Cyprus, the focus will be on safer internet use, in particular, educating people with special needs. MTN volunteers will be visiting schools for the deaf and blind in Cyprus and will assist in educating students on issues regarding safety on the internet. In addition, an 85km charity cycling ride and a football game will be held to raise funds for the purchase of equipment for the deaf and blind schools of Cyprus.
In Sudan, MTN will partner with the Little Free Libraries organisation to build, install and collect book donations for 50 libraries across the country. ‘MTNers’ will also establish Sudan’s first national audio library to provide free, high quality audiobooks for visually impaired students. In addition, staff will donate and install interactive white boards in two UNESCO network schools.
MTN employees in Syria will renovate the library and playground of a public school in Damascus. The school has around 800 students, and activities will include the establishment of a library and computer lab.
The MTN Syria IT team will also hold telecommunications workshops for college students.
In Afghanistan, MTN employees will establish a computer lab at the ASRA orphanage, as well as engage in stationary drives and painting activities at various schools including Qala e Kashif High School, Gul Khana High School, Safiullah Afzali High School and Saeed ul Shuhada High School.
MTN Uganda’s Internet Bus Project will once again be making its way across the country with the aim of training 3 000 people. In addition, staff will set up regional ICT hubs across Uganda. They will donate computers to these hubs as well as refurbish and set up LAN connections in the facilities.
Employees of MTN Business in Kenya will give new meaning to being in the trenches, as the team literally digs trenches to lay down fibre networks in order to provide data connectivity to two schools – the Upper Hill Secondary School and Nairobi School.
In Rwanda, employees will embark on a project to install solar systems in rural schools. They will also construct classrooms and embark on ICT training for teachers.
In Zambia, ICT training will also take centre stage. The team will provide primary school, secondary school and special needs teachers with tools and training to enhance their ICT teaching skills. In this regard, trained facilitators will host a 1-day workshop for 110 teachers in Lusaka and Kitwe. Employees will also refurbish containers into libraries for students in these areas.
MTN Zambia will also host a marathon on 18 June, in order to raise funds for computers which will be donated to identified schools.
Employees of MTN Business in Botswana will build an after-school study centre at Gakuto Primary School in Gakuto Village. Dubbed the “Visionary Centre”, and equipped with a SMART Board, the venue is aimed at providing a space for children to complete homework, have tuition sessions and be exposed to ICT. The team will also conduct a “Build a Teacher Programme” whereby teachers from the Gakuto Primary School and the Molepolole College of Education will undergo intensive training to equip them to teach in a digital era, including how to use the SMART board.
In Swaziland, students will be introduced to the world of coding, programming and robotics. They will be taught the basics of coding, algorithm, logic and the input-output process. They will be further taught how to write basic lines of code, run an EV3 program and send commands to a Leggo Mindstorm robot to execute tasks as per written code.
A web-based application will also be implemented in a number of schools. The app will, among other things, allow teachers to update student information and exam scores on their mobile devices. In addition, the Swaziland team will embark on a project titled “Autistic and Wonderfully made”, which will see the computer resource centres of three schools equipped with an award-winning reading and writing software program for learners with special needs.
In South Africa, a 21km marathon will be held to raise funds for ICT in education and to establish a computer lab at Christel House in the Western Cape. In addition, the team will hand over computer labs, Compujectors, interactive whiteboards, shoes and bicycles to a number of identified schools.
MTN staff in Guinea Bissau will engage in cleaning and painting activities at medical colleges in the village of Bafata. They will also donate computers to the school to assist with medical research.
In Ivory Coast, staff will construct six classrooms and conduct ICT training for secondary school teachers. They will also hold sessions on digital literacy for women vendors in Abidjan and teach them how to read, write and do calculations using smartphones.
The Atouhonou Primary School will be the main beneficiary of MTN Benin’s Y’ello Care programme. Here ‘MTNers’ will physically participate in the building of three classrooms. Their work will include masonry, carpentry, painting and the actual construction of the classrooms.
In addition, the team will install an electrification system with solar panels to enable learners to study at the school at night.
In Ghana, MTN staff will refurbish the Mampong School for the Deaf and donate equipment including Voice-to-Text software to aid teaching and learning, microphones, computers and whiteboards with projectors. Staff will engage in painting, cleaning and cabling at the school.
Through a partnership with GES and DSTV, the team will also donate a TV and decoder with an educational bouquet on subjects ranging from maths and science to geography to schools in various regions of the country. In addition, they will create an educational portal for teachers, donate and install computers at various ICT centres, and host adult literacy classes.
In Nigeria, staff will set up a Learning Resource Centre in commemoration of 10th anniversary of Y’ello Care. The centre, located at the Ideal Primary School, will serve all 20 local government primary schools in Lagos State. A Train-the-Teacher initiative will also be conducted in Lagos and Owerri, providing an introduction to basic computer skills and general soft skills.
In addition, the team will donate educational and digital learning materials to identified school libraries which cater to under-served communities.
Winners of the 2015 edition of Y’ello Care, MTN Cameroon, will focus on enhancing the capabilities of institutions which cater to the deaf and hearing impaired by raising funds to refurbish these facilities. The team will also install a multimedia centre and collect books for a nursery and primary school catering to needy families in Bonamoussadi.
In addition, they will provide support to literacy programmes for adult females by donating dictionaries and stationery.
Y’ello Care Competition
All MTN operations, which participate in Y’ello Care, stand in line to win monetary prizes, which are to be re-invested into CSI or community upliftment programmes in their market.