During 2011, the company continued to support a wide range of charitable activities in all countries of operation within the focus areas of the ‘Tigo together’ framework: education, well-being and environment. In total US $6,210,000 (inclusive of US $1,000,000 grant from USAid for the Millenium Schools Program in Guatemala) was spent across our markets in different charitable activities. The ‘Tigo together’ themes have been broadly interpreted in each country of operation to best respond to the most pressing local issues. Often, the activities include an employee volunteering component that strengthens our ties with our communities and contributes to positive team building inside the company.
To engage our customers in our charity activities, in some countries we hold “Tigo Solidarity Hour”, where during one hour on a specific day, the company will direct revenues from bought credit towards a specific charitable cause. In 2011 such campaigns collected funds to provide IT education to under-privileged groups in El Salvador, to build houses for the poor in Honduras and to buy books for schools in Tanzania.
Many of the educational activities under ‘Tigo together’ focused on supporting underprivileged children and youths to complete their primary education and on improving the educational environment for children. The most extensive program related to education we are running is in Guatemala within the framework of UN Millenium Schools and in collaboration with USAid. Through this program in 2011, we participated in building 127 new classrooms and improved basic kitchen and toilet facilities in 90 schools, reaching nearly 20,000 children. Several activities in Tanzania, The Democratic Republic of Congo, Senegal, Ghana and Honduras improved the educational environment for children: renovating and providing furniture to classrooms and donating school supplies.
Technology also plays an important part in the education activities we support. In Paraguay we created mobile applications for the Ministry of Education to measure the effectiveness of their summer school programs. Similarly in Paraguay, we provided “telecentros”, mobile containers with computers and Internet access, to 100 schools across the country. Similarly we sponsored the purchasing of IT equipment for schools across several markets, for example in Rwanda, where we work with ‘One Laptop per Child’ to equip local schools with computers and Internet connections.
In the area of health and well-being, our ‘Tigo together’ activities in 2011 have harnessed the benefits of mobile communications. Our networks were used to disseminate AIDS awareness information in a campaign together with USAid and to build awareness of children’s rights together with UNICEF in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
In Latin America, our operations in Colombia built a system in Braille to improve our accessibility to blind customers. In Paraguay, in conjunction with new camera technology developed for early detection of eye disease, our technology was used to communicate test results to laboratories immediately.
In Guatemala, we worked with UNICEF, UNDP and the Ministry of Health to develop a mobile system to monitor malnutrition in children in the country. We will help to build a database of 55,000 children with a simple SMS system, which allows the Ministry of Health to receive real time information from four departments in order to respond with immediate assistance to urgent cases.
In the area of environment, the focus in 2011 has been in employee volunteering activities relating to reducing our environmental footprint in our offices, promoting recycling and waste reduction. Electronic billing has been introduced in Paraguay and Bolivia and mobile phone recycling was promoted in Guatemala, El Salvador and Colombia.
In Bolivia, focus was put on conservation and biodiversity through two initiatives aimed at building public awareness of the importance of preserving the country’s nature reserves and forests. The ‘Tigo Forest’ campaign brought employment to 60 families through planting of 7,000 trees to restore native forests and protect habitat for species in danger of extinction.
Employees also participated in tree planting in Rwanda and cleaned streets in Dar Es Salaam and Kinshasa. Millicom also provided emergency aid to families affected by natural disasters in Tanzania and Paraguay.
Going forward, ‘Tigo Together’ activities will be directed to favor a limited number of longer term activities that have close links to the company’s business strategy. One of the aims is for the company’s charitable activities to enable more people in our countries of operation, many of whom figure among the poorest of the world, to profit from the benefits that mobile communications and mobile financial services can bring. Supporting local entrepreneurship and innovation is key to creating this new value. As a first step in this direction, Millicom in Ghana has initiated collaboration with Playing for Change foundation to seek and provide funding and support to social entrepreneurs who improve the lives of children and youths. This collaboration will be expanded in 2012 with joint projects in other countries in Africa.