Friday, April 2, 2010

MTN Nigeria Foundation: Partnerships Designed for Impact

The MTN Nigeria Foundation (MTNF) was launched in May 2005 with the idea of partnering with public, private and civil society organizations to pass sustainable projects in three major areas: education, health and economic empowerment. The essence was to make a significant impact in these areas in as many communities as possible across Nigeria’s six geo-political zones. This goal was patterned with the Millennium Development Goals on which the Federal Government of Nigeria had based its own development priorities.
According to Amina Oyagbola who mentioned that in less than three years, MTNF has launched more than 100 projects which are executed in collaboration with 26 partners in 107 sites across 28 of the 36 states in Nigeria. The projects are delivering tangible value to a growing number of beneficiaries where the company operates. At the last count, MTNF’s projects were estimated to have touched and helped uplift the lives of over 1,000,000 people. Following are examples of some of our leading projects across the three focal areas:
The SchoolsConnect project is implemented in collaboration with SchoolNet, a local NGO focused on ICT in education. This award-winning project has delivered digital laboratories that serve over 85,000 students and 3,800 teachers in more than 49 secondary schools in poor inner-city and rural communities across Nigeria. SchoolsConnect combines our core technical competence with social responsibility.

School Before

School After
Working with NetLibrary Nigeria, an NGO led by a young female IT graduate, MTNF has linked two top Nigerian universities – with one more on the way – to the world’s largest collection of digital resources from over 5,500 libraries and 300 publishers. A typical online research library is equipped with 125 networked computers, servers, printers, photocopiers, alternative power supply, internet connectivity and a two-year subscription to electronic resources via NetLibrary’s network. Based on the experience of the local environment and the need for sustainability, detailed written rules are pre-agreed and enforced with the institutions regarding the maintenance of the equipment and upkeep of the library premises.
MTNF is also partnering with UNICEF Child Friendly School Initiative (CSFI) to enhance the quality of basic education. In the first phase, the project has rehabilitated three schools in three states (Bauchi, Lagos and Delta) – providing water and sanitation, as well as text-books and writing and teaching materials to ensure a decent and conducive learning environment for young primary school children.
In partnership with the international NGO Habitat for Humanity, MTNF has started a project to build a low-cost housing estate for low-income families in a state in North-West Nigeria. The land was granted free-of-charge by the state government and the beneficiaries are selected using clear and objective criteria through a transparent mechanism. The beneficiaries, who participate in the building process, will own both the house and the plot on which it stands. The cost of each unit is treated as a loan which the owner pays back over 15 years. The repayments are used to build more houses.
It should be emphasized that proposals involving partnership with Government undergo the same rigorous pre-selection and implementation processes as other projects, and are implemented under the same ethos of strict accountability and efficiency. We believe there is a role for responsible companies in supporting Government in order to entrench good governance in devising and implementing social programs.

Touch screens take HIV/AIDS
education to the people
The MTNF-PAAC (Partnership Against Aids in the Community) is a private sector led initiative which adopts a multi-dimension approach in addressing the HIV/AIDS pandemic. The project is targeted to raise awareness and educate approximately 30 million people through mass media and individual contact. It also aims to provide counseling and testing to over 6,000 people, provide mother-to-child prevention to 600 women and provide capacity building for health care providers. In addition, two out of a projected six Voluntary Counseling Centers have been commissioned and 12 HIV/AIDS self-instruction screens have been installed in strategic locations across the country. The self-instruction screens provide information in English and major Nigerian languages. I believe that they are the first of their kind in Africa.

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