Johannesburg – Today marks the start of the 2012 edition of MTN's 21 Days of Y'ello Care programme, the telco's annual staff volunteerism initiative. As part of the programme, MTN employees across Africa and the Middle East come together in a 21 day-long campaign to roll up their sleeves in an effort to uplift communities, and give their neighbourhoods a “Y’ello” touch!
In keeping with this year’s theme of “Investing in education for all”, for the next 21 days, MTN staff across its markets will join hands to participate in educational projects in their communities.
This year’s campaign follows a hugely successful programme last year, themed ‘Making a Positive Difference to the Environment’. The initiative, which was in line with the United Nation’s declaration of 2011 as the International Year of Forests, saw thousands of MTN volunteers take part in various tree-planting initiatives. In the end, over 150 000 trees were planted across MTN’s footprint in 21 days.
“Owing to our extensive reach in the developing world, we are privileged to have the opportunity to touch so many communities through this campaign. Education is an area that is particularly close to our hearts, as we believe there is a direct link between improved literacy levels and the socio-economic status of our communities.
“To this end, we are keenly looking forward to the next 21 days as our colleagues (MTNers) across the footprint rally together to invest their time and resources towards improving the standard and quality of education in our communities”, says Rich Mkhondo, Executive for Corporate Affairs, MTN Group.
The next 21 days will be a hive of “yellow activity”, as MTN employees descend on educational institutions, including schools, libraries and universities.
In Ghana, MTN staff will organise special educational sessions with different groups of students to educate them on various topics including career planning, environmental issues, financial responsibility and road safety amongst others. There will also be a special Quiz on national television on various topics which are of national interest.
In the Republic of Congo, MTNers will organise an educational fair for students to learn more about various professions. Working with other industry professionals, staff will also spend some time imparting practical experience on students in the cities of Brazzaville and Pointe Noire.
MTN employees in Zambia are using the 21 Days of Y'ello Care campaign, amongst other activities, to complete the construction of a school left abandoned due to shortage of funds, and build a classroom at another school. Staff will also take the opportunity to help scholars advance their reading skills and mark pedestrian crossings at schools close to highways.
In Cameroon, the campaign will take MTN employees to libraries, where they intend to refurbish public libraries and collect a mammoth 1 million books nation-wide, to donate to schools, universities and city councils.
Capitalising on modern technology, MTN Cameroon staff also intend to create the first online digital library in the country focussing on African literature, educational books and special education programs i.e. for people with disabilities.
In Benin, MTNers will work to enhance capacity for information technology and telecommunication students through practice training sessions. The sessions will give students without financial capacity the opportunity to experience the realities of corporate life, and move them a step closer to the labour market. Benin MTNers will also rehabilitate the ecological school that brings together underprivileged school dropouts and orphans to educate them about the environment.
In Cote d'Ivoire, MTN staff will build classrooms, paint tables and benches, refurbish a school library and collect books. In Rwanda, employees are planning an adopt-a-child campaign. As part of the campaign, each staff member will raise funds to pay for nine basic years of education to vulnerable kids, covering items such as school uniform and stationery. MTN employees in the various provinces of Rwanda will also embark on a capacity building campaign to educate, amongst other, teachers, on the use of the Internet for email and social networking.
In North Africa, employees in Sudan are planning information sessions on career development and other themes relevant to the youth. Their campaign will also include a literacy initiative aimed at low-income segments of women, to raise awareness about the importance of education. In East Africa, MTN Uganda employees will roll out their ICT in education project as part of the 21 Days of Y’ello Care programme. The initiative will see zero rated education websites designed and hosted in 21 schools across Uganda, in partnership with various NGOs. Staff will also make personal financial contributions towards the purchase of scholastic materials.
MTN employees in South Africa, MTN Group and MTN South Africa, launched their 21 Days of Y’ello Care programmes at schools in Alexandra township and Randfontein, respectively.
Staff will donate a library, fully equipped with books, as well as bicycles and other study items. They will also do some gardening at the school. MTN SA staff will later go back to the Ithuteng School to install paving and donate computers.