Thursday, October 13, 2022 4:52 pm
By. Daniels Ekugo
Leading Telecommunications services provider, Airtel Nigeria, has reaffirmed its commitment to empowering and uplifting underprivileged people across communities where it operates as it announces the commencement of the seventh edition of its flagship CSR and sustainability initiative, ‘Airtel Touching Lives’.
During the press conference held in Lagos, yesterday (October 4th), Chief Executive Officer & Managing Director, Airtel Nigeria, Surendran Chemmenkotil, noted that Airtel Touching Lives Initiative is an opportunity for the telco to further connect with the several communities where they serve as well as focus on Airtel Africa sustainability agenda.
“Last year, Airtel Africa announced an ambitious sustainability agenda with a strong focus on providing access to digital learning for underprivileged children, working closely with the government to uplift the standard of primary education through the adoption of schools and providing access via financial inclusion to the underbanked and unbanked”, he said.
According to him, to implement this agenda, Airtel Nigeria through Season 7 of the Airtel Touching Lives programme, will mostly seek causes and opportunities that speak broadly and primarily to digital and financial inclusion as well as the adoption of schools.
Recounting the previous season, Surendran noted, “In the last season of the programme, one of the biggest projects we embarked on was the adoption of Government Day Nursery and Primary school in Gombe State under our Adopt-a-School programme, bringing our adopted schools in Nigeria to a total of 7”.
“With the adoption of the school in Gombe, we renovated 37 classrooms, renovated two teachers’ offices, renovated, and modernized the toilet facilities in the school, reactivated the borehole facilities with clean pipe borne water and provided furniture for the teachers’ offices as well as educational supplies for the students.”
Other past projects highlighted by the CEO include the renovation of the Ward A block in Lagos State Teaching Hospital (LUTH); The refurbishment of the Library for Blind people and rehabilitation of an IDP Camp clinic facility in season 5 and provision of an ultra-modern public water system for a large community in Ajah in season 4, among others.
“I am excited, and I look forward to the nominations and the projects that will be implemented, and I also wish to assure you all that as always, Season 7 will not be different from past editions as we will continue to focus on the vision and philosophy of Airtel Touching Lives,” he said.
Airtel is officially inviting the public to nominate individuals or communities by dialling 367 or by sending an SMS to Shortcode, 367. Entries can also be sent via email to [email protected]
Airtel Touching Lives takes the format of a reality television show, allowing the public to nominate causes, communities, and underprivileged persons/people with special needs. Airtel thereafter evaluates and selects the causes to support, and the activities are filmed and broadcasted on terrestrial and satellite television stations with the aim of inspiring other corporate organizations as well as well-meaning individuals to join in supporting the weak across society.
Also, Airtel, UNICEF to connect 100,000 children to digital education in Nigeria
Airtel Africa, a leading provider of telecommunications and mobile money services with a presence in 14 countries in Africa, is set to roll out a digital learning initiative in Nigeria, in partnership with UNICEF that will connect 100,000 children to the Learning Passport, an online resource, over the next five years. With over 50 million subscribers, Nigeria is Airtel Africa’s biggest market.
Airtel Africa’s Group CEO, Segun Ogunsanya said that 100 schools will be connected annually in the country as part of the five-year, US$57 million partnership with UNICEF signed in October 2021.The partnership aims to provide access to education to at least one million disadvantaged children, mostly in rural and hard-to-reach communities across 13 of its 14 country operations in Africa.
Announcing the rollout during the Nigeria International Economic Partnership Forum hosted by Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari on the sideliness of the United Nations General Assemble in New York, Dr Ogunsanya explained that Airtel Africa’s support for the initiative was informed by a sense of responsibility for, and commitment to, the future of the continent.
“This partnership is designed to provide zero-rated access for both students and teachers to educational websites and other resources. This, on the one hand, will bridge the digital divide between the rich and poor and, on the other hand, enable African children catch up with the rest of the world, after the disruptions caused by Covid-19. We firmly believe that children are the future and education is the best guarantee for ensuring that this future is in safe and knowledgeable hands,” he said.
According to Dr Ogunsanya, in addition to the UNICEF partnership, Airtel Africa is also working on modalities for adopting primary schools in Nigeria and other African countries. This will entail rehabilitating their infrastructure, and providing furniture, school uniforms, books and other teaching and learning materials and also train the teachers besides connecting the schools to its 4G network.