Nigeria’s innovative telecommunication company, 9mobile, has reiterated its commitment to the development and empowerment of the girl-child by partnering with Girl Effect, a not-for-profit, and iSON Group, an IT company, to facilitate delivery of a unique service that enables girls to listen to pre-recorded inspiring stories on their mobile phones and then connect to a specially trained role model who provides answers to their questions.
Tagged Girls Connect, this initiative is a pioneering partnership created by Girl Effect – a Non-governmental organisation (NGO) that uses media and mobile technology to empower girls, and IT company, iSON Group. Together they developed the innovative service that enables girls to draw inspiration using an interactive voice response platform on their mobile phones, and also learn more from qualified women that talk through the stories they have heard to make them more meaningful to the girls’ lives.
With 9mobile’s support for the initiative, girls and young female adults will be able to access on-the-go and free of charge, information that can enhance their economic wellbeing, state of health and wellness as they interact with the specially-trained role models on their mobile phones.
Speaking at the launch of the initiative in Kano on Tuesday, July 24, the Chief Human Resource Officer, 9mobile, Abigail Isokpan, said the partnership was borne out of the telecom company’s passion for development of its customers, host communities, and indeed Nigeria.
“We are constantly on the lookout for opportunities to create value; and one of the ways we are achieving this is by aligning our business agenda with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). We have been consistent in seeking ways to drive sustainability of our business through platforms and programmes that ensure progress of our critical stakeholders, in recognition of the fact that their success is our success. Girls Connect is one of such platforms”, she stated.
Describing the initiative as ground-breaking, she said Girls Connect is designed to improve the lives of girl-children in Nigeria in line with the key objectives of the SDGs, which include elimination of poverty, promotion of good health and wellbeing, economic growth, and bridging inequalities especially for the girl-child.
Isokpan added that, “All these goals tie-in to the ideals and objectives of Girls Connect, therefore we are pleased to be partnering on this initiative. At 9mobile, we are mindful of our responsibility as a corporate citizen, and as such we are appreciative of opportunities such as this, that enable us to build on our work in making the Nigerian society healthier, safer, and more productive.”
She also revealed that the Girls Connect initiative further enables 9mobile to utilise its core competence as a telecommunications company and to affirm its position as a leader in leveraging technology to promote social good.
Girl Effect and iSON Group ran a successful pilot of Girls Connect across five locations in Kano last year. 44,000 calls were made to the service during the eight-week campaign, five times more than originally expected. With the support of partners including 9mobile, Arewa24, and respective State Governments and Ministries of Women Affairs, the initiative is now live in Kano state and will be launched in Edo State later this month. The service is accessible in Hausa language and Pidgin.
9mobile over the past nine years has been at the forefront of promoting and supporting initiatives that make positive impact on its stakeholders across Nigeria. It instituted the first taught Master’s Programme in Telecommunications Engineering in West Africa at the Ahmadu Bello University; and has awarded scholarships to undergraduates in more than 30 universities across Nigeria under its Merit Awards programme.
Through its Adopt-a-School initiative, it has built and renovated educational structures as well as provided ICT equipment to primary and secondary schools, and conducted teacher’s training programmes in three states. It has also distributed tens of thousands of insecticide-treated nets to communities most affected by the malaria scourge; and continues to tackle HIV/AIDS by enabling subscribers make toll-free calls to receive information on its prevention and control.