Ghana’s Leading Telecommunications Company is CSR Trailblazer
The CSR community is often so focused on the actions of Fortune 500 countries that it is easy to forget that corporate social responsibility is alive and well in all corners of the world. Last week Ghana’s leading telecommunications company, MTN, won a bevy awards at the Ghana Club 100 awards ceremony hosted by the Ghana Investment Promotion Council (GIPC)—one of which was the best Corporate Social Responsibility Company of the Year in 2009. MTN Ghana has 8.7 million subscribers, making it the country’s largest telecommunications provider. Having a large share of the market in this nation of 23 million people, MTN pays it forward and addresses two of Ghana’s greatest needs: health and education. One of MTN Ghana’s education programs is the “Happy Minds Reading Clubs,” part of the MTN Foundation’s 21 Days of Y’ello Care volunteering initiative. MTN professionals realize that children are often bombarded with electronic images and gadgets, and work to ensure that reading is not lost in the process. MTN employees have been involved with procuring thousands of donated books, which are then distributed to underserved schools and libraries. Staff also visit the schools and volunteer their time reading to children. The MTN Foundation also works on public health initiatives. One donation was about US$45,000 worth of medical equipment to the Kotokuom Health Centre in the Atwima Mponua District of the Ashanti Region, in the west-central area of the country. The supplies included everything from a vaccine refrigerator, examination lights, sterilizing equipment, to the most basic tools like stethoscopes. That donation, one of many to improve rural health care, followed a US$600,000 donation for a maternity ward to the largest teaching hospital in Ghana, the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital. MTN Foundation’s work is an example of how countries like Ghana have a bright future, no matter what the world’s largest financial and news dailies may say about Africa. The scale of technologies like telecom equipment are an opportunity to build wealth in Ghana—and share it with the less fortunate. More on the MTN Foundation, which started its work in 2007, can be found here.