Mobile networks Africell and Orange yesterday Wednesday made a massive donation of Le2 billion through Ministry of Information at Youyi Building to enhance the coronavirus fight especially in the provinces where the virus is increasing by the day. Making the donation, the CEO of Africell Shadi Gerjawi said they are very sorry for those that have lost their lives through Covid-19 and hope and pray that those that are presently taking treatment will get well soon.
“As one of the leading mobile networks in the country, we are very concerned since the outbreak of this virus and since then we have been supporting the government in order to control and win the fight. Because we are concerned, we have been donating medical supplies like PPEs, Sanitizers, facial masks, Boots and we even donated food supplies and using our network to send out messages that our subscribers are listening to protect themselves.” He said Africell is committed to Sierra Leone and they will do all in their power to help the government to end this virus that has changed the lives of people and have affected the economy greatly.
It is hoped that benefit would be realized from this donation especially for people in the provinces as the correct messaging will reach them so they will believe and follow the instructions given by the Ministry of Health. Shadi then presented the cheque of Le1 billion to the minister for onward transmission to NACOVERC as the fight continues in the country.
The CEO of Orange Aminata Kane said that when they met with the Information Minister on how they can increase their support to the Covid-19 fight, she said it was something that they were very pleased to do as they believe that their customers must be healthy to access their products and because of that they want to help bring peace and end Covid-19 in the country.
Madam Aminata Kane said they have been making series of donations to organizations, quarantine homes and communities. But they still want to do more so that the people’s perception of the virus will change so they want to invest more on sensitization, even though they have messaging in their system when calls are made.
“We want the entire population to take this virus very seriously and that can be achieved through sensitization. It is for that reason we are donating this Le1 billion as we agreed with Africell to make sure that more sensitization will be done in the provinces that will curb the spread.
The Orange CEO said the whole world is now affected by the rapidly evolving COVID-19 pandemic. “As an operator in Sierra Leone, we are doing everything we can to support our customers and colleagues, staying true to our Human Inside philosophy and purpose. We’re also working on the front line to ensure technology continues to benefit as many people as possible. Madam Aminata Kane said their commitment is to do their absolute best in this emergency situation to support the government in the fight.
Thanking the operators, the Minister of Information Mohamed Rahman Swarray said he is very heartened that these two giants have come together to make such a massive donation that he said will go a long way to breaking the transmission across the country. “We have been calling on them to help us and they always come onboard. This is not the first time and it won’t be the last as they are committed to rid Sierra Leone of this menace so that they will be able to work in a healthy environment.”
Minister Swarray said as they have made it clear that they are committed to working in a healthy environment, they the government are happy that they have proved beyond all reasonable doubt that they are part of Sierra Leone and they will not relent in their support. He thanked them and promised that the monies will definitely be used to increase sensitization especially in the provinces and said he is sure the President will be happy to receive such good news.
The deputy Minister of Information Mamadi Gobeh Kamara introduced them and said she was happy that the two giants in the mobile industry have come together talking in one voice as they have shown that they have passion for Sierra Leone and they have made it clear that they will continue to work in the country for foreseeable future.
Thanking them for their donation was the Chief of Staff at the NACOVERC Solomon Caulker who said they are gratified to see the two mobile companies coming together to make Le2 billion to the fight. He said even though they have been offering their services and giving other support they still some together to make such huge donation, that he said will go a long way to help in winning the virus fight in the coming weeks.
Freetown, Sierra Leone, 23 April 2020
The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in Sierra Leone on Tuesday, 21 April 2020, entered into a partnership with Africell (SL) Limited, through a Memorandum of Understanding to support UNFPA’s efforts to achieve three transformative results; zero unmet need for family planning, zero maternal deaths, zero gender based violence (GBV) and all harmful practices.
The UNFPA – Africell partnership is a campaign focused primarily, on reaching women and girls to increase the demand for GBV, sexual and reproductive health information and services. The Campaign is initially targeting up to 600,000 subscribers in Freetown with voice calls and text messages on COVID-19, maternal health, family planning, and gender-based violence, at no cost to subscribers.
UNFPA has worked with government and UN partners in Sierra Leone to develop the message contents; customized them into accessible local language; and recorded voice messages so that even Africell subscribers who cannot read can be reached. UNFPA and Africell have jointly developed a strategy to target and reach both literate subscribers with SMS messages, and low literacy subscribers with the voice messages.
Dr. Kim Eva Dickson, UNFPA Country Representative, said she was delighted that the partnership has come to fruition.“UNFPA embraces innovative approaches to ensure that communities are reached with much needed sexual and reproductive health information and services. We particularly welcome this public private partnership with Africell SL during the COVID-19 pandemic. It is extremely important that women and girls are encouraged to continue to access free family planning, maternal health and gender based violence services, even as the pandemic rages.”
Mr. Shadi Gerjawi, CEO of Africell (SL) Limited, in his comments said “Africell is pleased to partner with UNFPA to roll out this impressive initiative which is designed to reach young people and women in Sierra Leone with vital information.” Africell, he said, places premium on the importance of a healthy nation, “therefore we believe that if the right information is constantly emphasised and communicated, it creates a paradigm shift in perception and behaviour.”
UNFPA is the United Nations sexual and reproductive health agency, working in more than 150 countries and territories that are home to the vast majority of the world’s people. Our mission is to deliver a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe and every young person’s potential is fulfilled.
Africell is an African mobile technology company. We provide fast, low-cost and reliable mobile network coverage and related value-added technology services to millions of individuals, communities and business in four vibrant African countries. Africell is the market leading operator in Sierra Leone and The Gambia and is a vibrant challenger in The Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda. Africell is a disruptor: keen to challenge inefficiencies, embrace fresh thinking and deliver innovative products and services which make a practical difference to people every day. Our corporate social responsibility and positive community impact, as well as our entrepreneurial spirit and transparent business activities, makes Africell the ideal mobile network provider for Africa’s future.
For more information, please contact:
John Baimba Sesay
Web and Media Analyst
Media Relations Manager
As the COVID-19 situation develops, it is clear that the sub-Saharan African region will likely face similar public health challenges to those seen elsewhere. To deal with the crisis, African governments – including those with whom we partner – are implementing comprehensive responses which are likely to alter the daily lives of millions of people, including Africell employees and customers.
For many Africell employees, especially those in Sierra Leone, this is not the first time our lives have been impacted by a public health emergency. As we saw in 2014-16, we can overcome any challenge if we work together with discipline and coordination. Based on the experiences gained during the Ebola period, and considering the latest guidelines from the World Health Organisation, we are implementing numerous company-wide measures to protect the welfare of our employees and to ensure continued service at a time when reliable
and high quality telecommunications have never been more essential.
I would like to explain some of the measures we are focusing on and to re-assure you that we are doing everything possible to prepare for all eventualities.
First and most important, health and well-being is the top priority. Across each country in which Africell operates, we have launched immediate policies which reflect international best practice, including:
- Enhanced hygiene and sanitation to ensure the cleanest possible working environment, especially in the areas of our business which must remain staffed at all times
- Enforced limitations on the number of people within confined spaces, such as offices or shops, at a single time
- A work-from-home policy applicable to many colleagues. We will continue to evaluate the operations and the use of technology to enhance our capabilities whilst a large number of us are working from home
- Mandatory temperature tests for all visitors to our premises
These policies are intended to safeguard our staff and customers – as well as their families, friends, neighbours and other community members – against exposure to the COVID-19 virus.
Second, we are exploring broader practical changes to the way we conduct our operations which, we believe, will help keep our customers and our communities safe during the crisis. Amongst other strategies, we have:
- Dramatically increased our customer communication to focus on public health awareness messages to ensure they are as informed as possible
- Supported our host governments to procure and distribute essential medical supplies
- Established new distribution channels including door-to-door sales to allow continued access to telecommunications products for our customers
- Significantly invested in the capacity of our networks to ensure continued quality in a period of rapidly increasing voice and data traffic
- Embarked on a variety of promotional activities to support customers
Our experience suggests that times like these demand a coordinated collective effort to ensure that we support our communities and partner governments to the maximum. It is vital that we maintain the discipline of our operating systems in this fast-changing environment. If anyone in the organisation has any suggestions as to how we can adapt, develop and improve our response then please contact your supervisors or any of the senior management. Your management teams are in close coordination with the relevant authorities and any suggestions or solutions are welcome.
Finally, I would like to remind you of the essential role companies like ours have to play in a time of crisis. In a period where entire communities are facing increased isolation, modern, advanced telecommunications services allow the continuation of social, educational, medical, commercial and other forms of interaction. We have a unique responsibility to continue to deliver critical services and information to our communities, both during the crisis and in the subsequent recovery. With the contribution of Africell, the communities we serve will come through this challenging period stronger and more resilient.
I want to finish by thanking you. Africell has never been better placed to deal with a crisis: we are better governed, better managed, better equipped and better funded than at any point in almost 20 years of operation. The character and resourcefulness of our people have always been the key to our success and will once again see us through this era of uncertainty.
Please look after yourselves and your families. And please stay safe.