MTN Uganda through its CSR arm, MTN Foundation announced a partnership with the Smart Girls Foundation to embark on the construction of a skilling facility with the capacity to train 400 girls annually in vocational programs.
The facility which will be housed at the Smart Girls Foundation offices in Kampala will specialize in vocational and business upskilling, inclusive of courses like electricity installation, house painting, tailoring, carpentry, welding, catering, among others.
Speaking during the ground-breaking ceremony, MTN Uganda General Manager for Customer Experience, Dorcas Muhwezi said the project is envisaged to give birth to 40 new women-led businesses in the country. “The objective of the project is to widen career prospects and opportunities for women by diversifying and breaking the glass ceiling into careers that were previously regarded as a preserve for men.”
The project is expected to cost UGX230 million which will facilitate the construction of an auto vehicle servicing station, a newly constructed washing bay, and the renovation of 3 classrooms and the main hall with a capacity of 30 students per room. In addition to training the young women, the vehicle servicing station and washing bay are also expected to ensure the sustainability of the project through generating income for the Smart Girls Foundation for services rendered by the trainers to the public.
The Resident District Commissioner Wakiso District, Justine Mbabazi who was the Guest of Honour, welcomed the initiative by MTN saying it complements the government’s ambitions towards promoting gender equality and empowering the girl child.
“I wish to commend MTN for consistently championing efforts geared towards supporting government’s vision and policies such as the equal opportunities policy and the UN sustainable development goals which focus on achieving gender equality and women empowerment,” said Mbabazi —urging other private sector players to emulate MTN’s initiatives to propel the country’s economic growth.
The launch of the project came at the time the world joined together to commemorate International Women’s Day on March 8th, 2022 under the theme, “Gender Equality today for a sustainable tomorrow”.
In celebration of International Women’s Day, the MTN Foundation engaged in various activities with the young girls at Smart Girls Foundation including kitchen gardening and mentorship sessions in career guidance facilitated by members of the MTN Women Group.
The partnership between MTN Foundation and Smart Girls Foundation is one of many interventions undertaken by the former to empower women and girls in Uganda. Smart Girls Foundation is a not-for-profit organization centered on skilling and empowering the girl child with the vision to transform their lives for a brighter future.
In June 2019, during the 21 days of YelloCare, the annual staff volunteerism initiative, MTN supported the Smart Girls Foundation with a donation worth UGX30 million with the aim of enhancing the girls’ learning experience. As a result, the foundation increased the number of girls trained at the facility from 30 to 64 in a wide range of programs including mechanical, electrical installations, and welding.
Notably, MTN Foundation has worked with Kyabazinga Girl Child Program to support and improve the lives of women and youth in the Busoga region with a UGX50 million donation. Similarly, in 2016 partnered with the Forum for African Women Educationalists Uganda Chapter (FAWEU) to provide full cover University Education scholarships for ten Ugandan girls.