MTN 21 Days of Y’ello Care is a staff volunteer program organized by staff of MTN, not the mobile operator itself. The volunteer project goes on for 21 days and this year it will run from the 1st of June.
Every year a theme is picked for the initiative and 2015’s is ‘Investing in Education’. With this theme in mind, MTN staff have settled for 2 campaigns under it.
1st campaign: Agriculture and gardening initiative. MTN staff taking part in these 21 days of Y’ello Care believe not many youth believe in agriculture and gardening as a career and thus want to help them see that it actually is. The first garden was started at Chunga Secondary School in Matero, Lusaka, where various vegetables were planted. Another garden will be made at St Francis’ Secondary School in Kitwe. The produce from these gardens will then be sold and the proceed will go back to the schools themselves.
This agro-campaign is being run with the assistance of the University of Zambia – School of Agricultural Sciences who will test the soils and advise what fertilizer should be used in both gardens.
2nd campaign: focused on ICTs. MTN staff want to buy Braille printing machines for Munali Secondary School in Lusaka to assist the deaf and blind with reading material. The first step will be to hold a fundraising venture on the 27th of June NASDEC Sports Centre called MTN Y’ello Care Family Day, where families can have fun for a minimal entry fee. All proceeds will go to buying these printers for Munali. There are also plans to buy some computers for Chibote Secondary School in Kitwe.
Eugene Phiri, of MTN Zambia’s PR department, said there is also a secondary background project that will be responsible for digitizing flash cards in primary schools that support Government’s proposed policy to introduce vernacular languages as languages of instruction.
Flash cards are simply paper cards with a picture of an item and its name under it. MTN plans to translate the names to vernacular, add them to the English one, and then upload all these digitized cards to a virtual whiteboard that can be accessed by students all over the country on their computers. MTN staff will have translation sessions where agreed upon translations will be added to the flashcards. The translations will only be passable, not too deep vernacular. MTN will try to keep the translations from everyday terms.
The first school that will have access to these cards will be Rokana Basic School in Kitwe, with plans to extend to other towns eventually. The whiteboard will be accessed from the school’s computer lab, which MTN will buy some extra computers for.
MTN staff clearly have a plan for how they intend to carry out their corporate social responsibility this year, but we’ll be watching to make sure they actually yield the intended results.