Telecommunication firm; MTN Uganda has actively engaged in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities across the country. We talk to Ms. ENID EDROMA, MTN Uganda Corporate Services General Manager as she sheds light on the telco’s priority CSR areas and its concentration on those particular CSR areas.
Briefly tell us about MTN Uganda’s Corporate Social Responsibility
Over the years, our goal has been to improve quality of life through caring partnerships in communities where MTN operates across the country. As a business, we understand that we depend on communities to thrive and as such, it is the responsibility of the company to in turn support these communities where necessary by complementing national efforts in the areas where there is great need for service delivery.
How does MTN execute its Corporate Social Responsibility?
MTN’s CSR is executed in a multi-pronged approach. First and foremost, in 2007 we inaugurated the MTN Foundation Uganda through which we implement all our CSR as a company. The Foundation is a not-for-profit entity that is governed by an independent board of trustees who oversee its activities. Every year, MTN donates a given percentage of its profits to the communities through the MTN Foundation.
Secondly, we have a voluntary staff initiative called the 21 Days of Y’ellocare where our staff donates from their earnings to support the communities as well as engaging in voluntary work in the communities. Finally, we also engage in meaningful partnerships to fundraise for causes just like we do with the MTN Kampala Marathon.
What is MTN’s objective as far as CSR is concerned?
I wouldn’t really call it an objective. I would like to think of it as a vision. As MTN, our overall vision is to deliver a bold digital world to all our customers. So in whatever we do, we have to ensure that we are getting our communities closer to the realization of this vision. Whether it is reaching out to expectant mothers, providing safe clean water, constructing classroom blocks, our CSR has to be a building block to the bold digital world that we aspire to deliver to all our customers.
Does MTN have particular fields of interest that guide its Corporate Social Investment?
Yes we do have particular fields of interest. Currently as MTN Uganda, our CSR focuses on four key thematic areas namely; Health, Education, iCT and Youth empowerment. But bear in mind that these fields change as communities evolve. What was of interest ten years ago might not be of interest today.For instance when the MTN Foundation started, it was supporting education, health, music, arts and culture, low-cost housing, and science and technology among others. Today, we have narrowed down our focus to the four areas as earlier mentioned in order to make a greater impact.
What informs the decision to select a given area as a key focus area for MTN CSR?
Our CSR focus areas are informed by the National Development plan as well as the Sustainable Development Goals. As a corporate citizen, we like to think of ourselves as a partner to the government. Therefore, we focus our CSR on areas that are of great concern to the government. For instance, right now we have the youngest population in the world and the government is seeking to empower our young people so that as a country we can reap the demographic dividend. That is why as partners, we are complementing government efforts in the area of youth empowerment. The same goes for the other areas.
What about the crisis-triggered CSR?
As a company that believes in delivering a bold digital life to all Ugandans, we believe that responding to communities in distress is one way of getting them closer to our vision as such, we endeavour to complement government’s efforts in cases where there are national crises such as the Bududamudslides, the Kasese and Bundibugyo floods and the Covid19 pandemic among others. In fact this year we officially launched Yellow Hope, an Initiative under our CSR pillars aimed to support employees, consumers, society, and government during times of societal crisis and need bringing relief, hope, and optimism where needs are greatest.
What are your last words about MTN CSR?
CSR is a big pillar in our business plan because we are cognisant that businesses can thrive better when communities are doing well. As such, we are committed to complementing government’s efforts in these key sectors as we strive to attain the Sustainable Development goals as a country.