UNICEF and Bharti Airtel, a leading telecommunications services provider with operations in 20 countries across Asia and Africa, have entered a partnership agreement to expand their collaboration across 17 countries in Africa. The partnership aims at improving Africa?s population access to health and education-related information whilst pushing forward various innovative projects supported by UNICEF.
The agreement allows UNICEF to tap into Airtel?s mobile services to make health, education and youth-focused content available to Airtel customers across the 17 African countries. Through improved connectivity, more Africans will have free access to mobile applications and services developed by UNICEF, such as eduTrac, mTrac and U-report.
Speaking on the partnership, Christian de Faria, Chief Executive Officer, Airtel Africa commented; ?Airtel is committed to providing innovative solutions that overcome access and quality challenges around the delivery of services. Our partnership with UNICEF provides an opportunity to deploy mHealth innovations that can support healthcare systems and provide helpful education-related information.?
The partnership covers 17 countries in Africa ? in Eastern and Southern Africa: Kenya, Malawi, Madagascar, Rwanda, Seychelles, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia; and in West and Central Africa: Burkina Faso, Chad, DRC, Congo, Gabon, Ghana, Niger, Nigeria and Sierra Leone.
?Access to information is a basic human right, and is fundamental to UNICEF?s innovation agenda,? said Sharad Sapara, Director of UNICEF?s Innovation Centre based in Nairobi. ?Without access to information children and young people are stifled and cannot make the right decisions on matters concerning them. By improving connectivity, this partnership has the potential to empower millions of African children and youth with information and opportunities to help them become agents of change in their societies.?