MTN Uganda and NITA-Uganda launch new app for tracking COVID 19 patients under Home based care.

MTN Uganda in partnership with NITA-Uganda have today unveiled a new app that will be used for geo-fencing and tracking COVID 19 patients that are under home based care.

The new app named E-pass (Electronic pass) is intended to help the Ministry of Health truck and geo-fence the movement of COVID 19 patients under home based care thus reducing the number of non-critical patients that get admitted in hospitals.

At the height of the pandemic, many people would be rushed to health centers, even those that were not in critical conditions, a situation that overwhelmed health centers and also stretched the limited resources in hospitals.

This situation led the ministry of Health to develop a Home based care policy in which non critical patients would be cared for and monitored from their homes or other locations outside the hospitals.

Speaking at the launch of the app, MTN Uganda General Manager for MTN Business Ibrahim Ssenyonga said the new app will go along away to helping government and the country to better manage resources as non-critical patients can now be monitored remotely from their locations of isolation.

“This new app will alert the ministry of health designated officials, if in case a patient under surveillance goes outside of the planned location boundaries. That way, the ministry can minimize further spread, but also be able to locate some of the contacts in the areas where the patient might have veered off to,” Mr. Ssenyonga said.

Development of the app which lasted about four months cost shs460million with package including 400 smart phone handsets which will have been installed with the app and will be used for monitoring.

At the height of the pandemic in Uganda, many Ugandans would storm health centers either in critical condition or out of fear resulting from normal flu or cold and they would all demand to be admitted.

NITA-Uganda Executive Director said that they are pleased with the solution as it will serve as a game changer in the management of COVID 19 pandemic.

“We are very proud because of the local capacity we have to quickly develop an app of this kind that will change the way we manage the COVID 19 pandemic in the country. This coming at a time when the vaccine is already in the country is a big boost in government efforts to curb and minimize the spread of the pandemic,” the Executive Director said.

The Ministry of Health Permanent Secretary Diana Atwine thanked MTN Uganda and NITA Uganda for this intervention saying that it takes collective effort from every one to be able to defeat this disease.

“It is true that management of patients was quite a night mare for government and the health centers. We were having many people coming to hospitals that didn’t need to be there. And these were taking space for those that needed to be there the most. So this solution is very welcome and it is a win for us as a country in the management of this pandemic,” Atwine said.

Atwine also paid special tribute to MTN who she said have really stood through thick and thin with the ministry not only in the management of the COVID pandemic but in many other health related initiatives over the years.

MTN Uganda was at the forefront of supporting government in the fight against COVID 19, contributing over shs2billion in various interventions through the year 2020.

MTN refreshes its youth brand with the Pulse Nation campaign

MTN Uganda has unveiled a new campaign under its MTN Pulse platform to further reinforce the brand’s promise towards celebrating the power and potential of the youth. The MTN Pulse platform was launched in 2018 in recognition of the unique lifestyle needs of the youth. MTN Pulse offers the youth unique products and has joined with lifestyle partners to offer young people unique discounted deals in fashion, entertainment, and meals.

The new campaign ‘Pulse Nation’ comes with a promise to offer an even richer basket of benefits for the ever-growing youth community, both in the MTN Pulse products range and even cooler offers from partners.

Somdev Sen the Chief Marketing Officer MTN Uganda explained that “Pulse Nation is not a physical location, country or product. Pulse Nation is our new campaign that further accentuates the MTN Pulse brand. It’s about the lifestyle or attitude that is embraced by those who choose to rise and run over fear”. Somdev further highlighted that the brand has revamped the MTN Pulse platform to give youth more cooler and sizzling offers and vibes to suit their changing needs.

“Because the needs of the youth are dynamic, MTN Pulse is constantly innovating new ways through which to engage them. These guys are ambitious and so MTN wants to empower them with the products and platform that compliments their lifestyle.”

The MTN Youth Segment Manager, Hellen Kirungi promises Pulsers a dope life, with dope deals with big discounts on MTN products & services. She announced that MTN Pulse will soon be launching some exciting new product offers and will continue signing on new lifestyle partners for the youth.

“Under the new Pulse Nation campaign, pulsers will also get opportunities to promote their skills and talent on the various MTN Pulse platforms that the campaign will present” Hellen further commented.

Some of the unique benefits MTN Pulsers enjoy include discounts on voice and data bundles, unique deals and discounts from MTN Pulse partners like Great Burgers, Jumia, Twambale, Rolex chic among many others.

On the fun side, Pulsers get to crack the egg and get 500MBs free when they download the Pulse app for the first time. They also get 200MBs Free when they refer a friend and they successfully download the app. Pulser also have an opportunity to spin the wheel and win some free data to stay online. And with the start of covid vaccinations, Pulsers should look out again for exclusive access to events and more entertainment when the covid restrictions are eased.

MTN Pulse is also set to offer the youth a platform to express and promote their talents and ‘hustles’ on the MTN Pulse Microsite, app and other platforms. More exciting products and services will be launched in the coming weeks

Its easy for youth to become MTN Pulsers by simply downloading the Pulse App, available on both google play and iOS play stores. The MTN Pulse app is an interactive platform where everything about the Pulse Nation lives including the funkiest content and offers from MTN Uganda. Simply download the MTN Pulse app and take over the world. You can also learn more about the Pulse Nation on the MTN Pulse microsite.

 

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About MTN Uganda

Launched in 1998, MTN Uganda is the leading communications operator in Uganda, offering Mobile and Fixed telecommunications, Mobile Money Services, and Internet Service Provisioning. As at 31st December 2018, MTN Uganda recorded 11.2 million subscribers across Uganda. Visit us at www.mtn.co.ug or follow us on www.youtube.com/mtnug and  www.twitter.com/mtnug or

www.twitter.com/mtnugpro for assistance.

 

About the MTN Group

Launched in 1994, the MTN Group is a leading emerging market operator with a clear vision to lead the delivery of a bold new digital world to our 240 million customers in 21 countries in Africa and the Middle East. We are inspired by our belief that everyone deserves the benefits of a modern connected life. The MTN Group is listed on the JSE Securities Exchange in South Africa under the share code “MTN”. We are pursuing our BRIGHT strategy with a major focus on growth in data, fintech and digital businesses.

 

For more information, please contact:

Rhona Arinaitwe at rhona.arinaitwe@mtn.com or 077 2123067 or

Emmy Olaki at emmy.olaki@tbwa-uganda.com or 078 260 5997

Yolanda Cuba shares insights and plans for Uganda and other regions.

Yolanda Cuba shares insights and plans for Uganda and other regions as the newly appointed Vice President for  the Southern and Eastern Africa MTN markets.

The MTN Group has restructured senior management in a move aimed at strengthening support towards achieving the group’s business strategy

As part of the changes, Yolanda Cuba who has been the Group Chief Digital and Fintech Officer now becomes the Vice President in charge of the Southern and East African region (SEA). Uganda is part of SEA. She shared her thoughts and insights on the Telecom Company’s plans for Uganda and the region under her. Below are Excerpts:

1. The MTN group has restructured to give it better growth opportunities on the continent. What does the MTN Group see on the continent that has elicited this kind of move?

Africa still provides vast opportunities for growth with a lot of potential growth in sub-Saharan Africa given its young population, low data penetration across most markets and growing Fintech services.

Uganda is similar to other countries in the region save for South Africa. Data penetration is very low. Mobile penetration is around 70 per cent and in other countries, it is over 100 per cent. There is need to look into how we can get the penetration to over 100 per cent to ensure more people are connected.  On the data front, there is a lot of potential because it is around 30 per cent.  There is evidence that more people are using our services. However, there are not so many data enabled devices and our focus is on how we enable more people access this service. We are focusing on further roll out of 3G and 4G with at target of at least 90% geographical coverage in Uganda as per our licence obligation.

There are also still vast opportunities in diversifying into other areas as well such as

  • Fintech and digital services technologies.
  • There are opportunities in clean technology.
  • Data centres which are driving demand for digital content, mobile money, cloud services and more.

As the landscape continues to grow, these are emerging as new frontiers for which MTN, the largest Pan African Telecom Company are providing the lead on.

2. What is your assessment of the telecom landscape in Uganda and the region that you oversee?

Uganda has a young, fast-growing population, with mobile and data penetration below 70% and 30% respectively, which creates a massive growth opportunity in the medium to long term as the addressable market grows Year on Year. The needs of these customers will be mainly data and digital to support their lifestyle, this youthful population coupled with steady GDP growth and an under penetrated market, creates potential for sustainable revenue growth over the years.

Today we see more people using data services and yet the penetration is still low,more people are using mobile money, but there is room to transform it into the e-commerce platform to drive business in Africa. Ugandans are open to all these things, but as a telecom provider, we need to bridge whatever gaps still exist in terms of reach and pricing.

3. What is your planned investment in Uganda to realise all of this?

From a network perspective, we will continue to invest heavily over the next five years in infrastructure development which will give the customer a better experience and help the company further enhance our leadership position in this market.

Network expansion for both voice and data has started and will be scaled up over the next few years with the expectation to cover at least 90% geographical coverage of the country with the best infrastructure ensuring quality voice and data services.

We are the leaders in innovation and we shall continue innovating and bringing Ugandans even closer to the rest of the world. We shall continue working with other stakeholders to see how to bring the costs of data further down. We believe that within that time, we shall also have deployed our 5G technology which we tested and showcased recently.

We are enhancing our Mobile Financial Services to enhance the cashless economy.

4. For a Ugandan reading this interview, when will these investments translate into cheaper data etc

You will get more data today at the same cost you spent to buy a gigabyte of data last year. From an effective pricing perspective, the price is steadily going down. For us to drive the price even lower, we need more spectrum which makes it more efficient for us to deliver services to our customers. The less spectrum you have, the more physical infrastructure you need on the ground which is more costly and vice versa. The spectrum also has to be priced correctly. The right spectrum at the right price will lead to faster speeds. If we can also get more people using 3G and 4G spectrum for voice, it means it is cheaper to carry the traffic than on 2G. As technologies move on, we are seeing a more efficient deployment in our infrastructure which benefits the customers.  The customers also have to have the handsets. In Uganda, less than 30 per cent of our customers have data enabled devices. But MTN Uganda now has a deliberate strategy to bring to the market good smart phones at prices that are much lower. We have also launched a device financing scheme that allows customers to pay for handsets over a period of time. All these initiatives will definitely help drive prices down as we grow connectivity.

5. Regulation plays a critical role in the growth of the industry. Do you think that the current regulatory environment in the region supports the Groups ambitions?

In Uganda, the programs of the regulator are quite facilitative. We continue to engage and collaborate more to ensure sustainable digital progress.

But In most markets, policies are often reactive and not always well adapted to the digital age. Technology is moving faster than policy makers which can sometimes slow down progress. Many countries will miss out on the benefits of the fourth industrial revolution if they don’t quickly adopt a clear strategic plan. In some markets, there is also need to collaborate more to ensure sustainable digital progress.

6. What would you like to see happening in the regulatory environment in Uganda for example to make it easier for you to succeed in your new portfolio

As the Africa market offers unprecedented opportunity to leverage technological advances, without the burden of expensive legacy infrastructure policymakers can help drive this growth in a number of ways,

More collaboration between policy makers and industry players, Such as making lower-spectrum bands available, Promoting infrastructure sharing, providing rollout incentives, and even possibly by lowering license fees.

7. In Uganda, there is a regulatory requirement to sell part of the company on the securities market. Is this something the Group is happy with?

MTN is already listed in several markets where we operate. So it is not something new to our group. We are happy to give Ugandans an opportunity to take ownership in a company that has served them for over twenty years. Ugandans have trusted MTN from the very first day it came here and have been responsible for making MTN number one. So let them get a piece of it. As for the details of this, that’s something that’s being handled with the government and the regulators and at the appropriate time, this information will be availed to the public. But for me what would be important is that when this eventually happens, winning means that the guy on the street is able to participate. We must make it that easy for them to participate.

8. There are new, smaller but competitive players particularly in the data segment of the industry. How do big players like MTN react to this emerging competition?

At MTN, we are happy to have smaller firms coming up. Competition is healthy. As a policy, we work with a lot of smaller players. A lot of smaller Fintech firms for example have enabled value addition on our products and services. We have actually allowed some of them to integrate into MTN API platforms.

There will also be deliberate support from MTN to Fintech and data partners that work in areas of national development plan priorities such as healthcare, agriculture, job creation, and education. So we are happy to have them playing alongside us. 

Ends.

Resilient MTN reports strong 2020 results, unveils Ambition 2025 strategy

MTN Group today reported a very strong set of operational and financial results for 2020, demonstrating business resilience under COVID-19 pressures and a challenging macroeconomic environment. Africa’s leading mobile operator also announced its re-positioned strategy – Ambition 2025 – to accelerate growth and reveal the value of its infrastructure assets and platforms.

The Group added 29 million subscribers in the year, to reach a total of 280 million across 21 markets. It reported a 52% increase in adjusted headline earnings per share, a four-percentage point increase in return on equity to 17% and more than doubled the operating cash flow to R28,3 billion.

“We continued to perform favorably against our medium-term targets,” said President and Chief Executive Officer Ralph Mupita. “In constant currency terms, service revenue grew 11,9% to R170 billion and EBITDA increased by 13,4%, maintaining our strong operating leverage. The Group’s EBITDA margin improved by 0,9pp to 42,7%, benefiting from the execution of our expense efficiency programme.”

Uganda:

In Uganda, MTN posted very strong and resilient performance in Q4 of 2020 despite the COVID-19 disruptions. The subscriber base increased by 12.3% to 14.2 million subscribers, up from 12.6 million the previous year.

Active data users were up by 34.8% to 4.6 million, which drove an increase in traffic also brought about by higher levels of online demand resulting from the effects of COVID-19. This was supported by learn-from-home and work-from-home offerings provided for our customers.

In pursuit of our financial inclusion objectives and growth strategy, Mobile Money (MoMo) users grew by 14.4% YOY to 8.5 million, spurred by the move towards cashless financial transactions to avert the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. While COVID-19 accelerated the adoption of mobile financial services, growth in fintech revenue was moderated by reductions in transaction fees to support our customers, lockdown restrictions on agents and a slowdown in economic activity. However, we believe that this builds a solid base for future growth in our fintech business.

Absolute EBITDA in constant currency terms increased by 14.9% YoY in 2020, with a 2,4pp increase in EBITDA margin to 49.5%. This was driven by a well-executed sustainable cost efficiency program.

At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country, MTN Uganda undertook a number of initiatives aimed at easing the negative impact of the pandemic on its customers and the economy as a whole. MTN Uganda lowered MoMo transaction rates to enhance individual disposable income for its customers and launched subsidized data bundles to ease the transition to working from home. MTN also zero-rated university and school websites to facilitate home learning. In total MTN Uganda spent in excess of UGX2 billion on various COVID 19 interventions.

“MTN Uganda is committed to enhancing the wellbeing of our customers especially in the midst of global challenges. We will continue to invest in better connectivity, a seamless customer experience and better pricing structure to enable us to continue delivering a bold, new digital world for our customers, Wim Vanhelleputte, MTN Uganda Chief Executive Officer said.

Vanhelleputte further explained that with the planned listing of MTN Uganda on the Uganda Securities Exchange, the telecom company looks forward to enabling Ugandan’s to own a part of the success story of MTN, and that this will further accelerate performance going forward.

MTN Uganda will continue to invest heavily over the next five years in infrastructure development and advanced technologies which will give the customer a better experience and help the company further enhance its leadership position in this market.

Prioritizing the lives of customers

The MTN Group continued to prioritize the health and safety of its people and mourned the loss of 10 MTN employees to COVID-19, after reporting a total of 1,404 infections in the period to the end of February 2021.

“We are pleased to have made a US$25 million donation in support of the African Union’s programme to secure much-needed COVID-19 vaccines,” said the Group President. “This partnership deepens MTN’s role in the ongoing work to save lives in the markets in which we operate. Importantly, it aligns with our ambition to create shared value and ensure the continent’s future progress and prosperity.”

Whilst managing the challenges presented by COVID-19, MTN Group remains cognizant of the opportunities presented by the pandemic, particularly the accelerated need for digitalization evidenced in the greater adoption and usage of MTN services. During the year, 19 million data users and almost 12 million MoMo users joined the MTN family, to reach totals of over 114 million and 46 million respectively. The Group’s networks remained well invested, with capex of R28,6 billion in 2020 and headroom to accommodate growth of more than 110% in data traffic in the year.

Ambition 2025

MTN Group also announced a revised strategy. “Further to our previous announcement regarding our intention to focus on our pan-Africa strategy, we completed a comprehensive strategy review in Q4 2020 and are excited to introduce ‘Ambition 2025’,” Ralph said. “As part of this strategic repositioning, we are looking to structurally separate our infrastructure assets and platforms, such as fintech, to reveal value and attract third-party capital and partnerships into these businesses, over the medium-term.”

“Going forward, we believe that Ambition 2025 will position the business to capture the exciting opportunities across our markets and our medium-term guidance has been enhanced to reflect this accelerating growth outlook. To support this, we plan to invest approximately R29.1 billion in our network, fintech and digital services platforms in 2021.”

About MTN Uganda

Launched in 1998, MTN Uganda is the leading communications operator in Uganda, offering Mobile and Fixed telecommunications, Mobile Money Services and Internet Service Provisioning. As at 31st December 2020, MTN Uganda recorded 14.2 million subscribers across Uganda. Visit us at www.mtn.co.ug or follow us on www.youtube.com/mtnug and www.twitter.com/mtnug or www.twitter.com/mtnugpro for assistance.

About the MTN Group

Launched in 1994, the MTN Group is a leading emerging market operator with a clear vision to lead the delivery of a bold new digital world to our 240 million customers in 21 countries in Africa and the Middle East. We are inspired by our belief that everyone deserves the benefits of a modern connected life. The MTN Group is listed on the Johannesburg Securities Exchange in South Africa under the share code “MTN”.

For more information, please contact:

The mediadesk.ug@mtn.com , 077 212 1372 or

Emmy Olakiemmy.olaki@tbwa-uganda.com, 078 260 5997

MTN Group’s Yolanda Cuba guides Women on Career Growth in International Women’s Day Webinar

  • MTN Uganda in conjunction with Project Girls for Girls hosted a joint webinar to commemorate the International Women’s day
  • Yolanda Cuba, the MTN Group Vice President for South and East African Region was the host of the Webinar.
  • Cuba is one of the key business leaders in Africa and was named one of the 20 top power women in Africa by Forbes Magazine

MTN Uganda in conjunction with the Project Girls for Girls joined the rest of the world to celebrate the International Women’s Day that falls on the 8th of March every year.

While MTN appreciates women and diversity, project Girls for Girls aims at exposure to female leadership, mentorship, and access to education and training to boost the aspirations of young women and cultivate the capacity to lead.

In line with the International Women’s Day theme, Choose to Challenge, MTN Uganda and Project Girls for Girls hosted a webinar earlier today, under the Topic – Women in Leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 World, featuring Ms. Yolanda Cuba the MTN Group Regional Vice President Southern and East Africa as a guest speaker.

The topic of discussion was deliberately focused on Women in Leadership based on the fact that Executive leaders play a significant part in advancing gender equality.

From helping forge an inclusive world where diversity is valued, to creating workplaces where women’s careers can thrive, leaders are responsible for driving positive change.

Based on the day’s topic of discussion Yolanda Cuba, who joined MTN Group shortly before the Covid-19 pandemic shared tips on how women can make the most of the pandemic to their advantage rather than lowering their ambitions.

“It (Covid-19) forced me to upscale my ambition. Many people during a pandemic downscale their ambition. I thought I could do more even in the face of the pandemic,” said Cuba, who unsurprisingly rose to her new position as Vice President for the South and East African MTN Markets on January 1st this year, amidst the Covid-19 Pandemic.

This, however was not a seamless journey for Cuba who had to virtually cultivate all her connections with her colleagues at MTN due to the pandemic that pushed people to remote working. However, with a clear vision and trust in her team to deliver, Cuba has navigated through the pandemic in a new work place and gone ahead to excel at her job.

Cuba urged women to be competent, consistent and courageous if they are to have an equal future to their male counterparts.

“It takes only 10% more effort than everybody else for you to be outstanding.” Says Cuba who was named one of the top 20 power women in Africa by Forbes Magazine.

Besides encouraging them to align their life’s purpose to their career ambition, Cuba also encouraged women to surround themselves with motivated and competent women who will in turn support their vision.

She also urged employers to give women opportunities to take up senior roles as well as women leaders looking out for the young competent females in their workplaces. She also appealed to human resource managers to make a deliberate effort to close the payment parity gap between men and women in order to make the equal future a reality.

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About Project Girls for Girls:

Exposure to female leadership, mentorship, and access to education and training can help boost the aspirations of young women and cultivate the capacity to lead. Our mission is to empower girls to lead and our target is 10,000 mentors, 1,000,000 mentees by the end of 2030.

About MTN Uganda

Launched in 1998, MTN Uganda is the leading communications operator in Uganda, offering Mobile and Fixed telecommunications, Mobile Money Services and Internet Service Provisioning. As at 31st December 2018, MTN Uganda recorded 11.2 million subscribers across Uganda. Visit us at www.mtn.co.ug or follow us on www.youtube.com/mtnug and www.twitter.com/mtnug or www.twitter.com/mtnugpro for assistance.

About the MTN Group

Launched in 1994, the MTN Group is a leading emerging market operator with a clear vision to lead the delivery of a bold new digital world to our 240 million customers in 21 countries in Africa and the Middle East. We are inspired by our belief that everyone deserves the benefits of a modern connected life. The MTN Group is listed on the JSE Securities Exchange in South Africa under the share code “MTN”. We are pursuing our BRIGHT strategy with a major focus on growth in data, fintech and digital businesses.

 

For more information, please contact:

The mediadesk.ug@mtn.com or 077 212 1372 or

Emmy Olaki at emmy.olaki@tbwa-uganda.com or 078 260 5997

IMG, MTN partner to provide telemedicine services

International Medical Group (IMG) the parent company of International Hospital Kampala (IHK) and International Medical Center (IMC) together with MTN Uganda have today signed a Memorandum of Understanding to provide a digital approach to medical access across the country.

Speaking at the launch held at the International Diagnostics Center (IDC), the IMG Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Sukhmeet Sandhu said,

“As International Medical Group, our mission is to improve standards of healthcare in Uganda through innovation, applied research, education and community-based services. As a result of the fast rise of the digital era, impact of COVID 19 and strategic partnerships like the one we have launched today with MTN, we are now able to realize this dream and we invite more corporate companies and the Government to partner with us to improve the health and related services of the population.”

Joel Oroni, General Manager, IMC noted that COVID 19 has led to a digital evolution in the service delivery, saying that;

“Covid 19 taught us a number of things including, the need to go paperless and cashless. As a result, IMC recently rolled out a prepayment model using the Health Cards and IHK is now using an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system to create a seamless customer experience. We are also investing more in mobile and digital platforms to reach our customers and spread awareness about our available services. Telehealth is convenient, safe and fast. I call upon you all to take advantage of this and all our available innovations to save you time and money”

Addressing the press at the same event, MTN Uganda Chief Marketing Officer Mr. Sen Somdev re-echoed the need for partnerships and Government support in the health sector saying,

“Partnerships in this day and era are the only way we can expedite growth and development as individuals, businesses and a country. Through partnerships such as the telemedicine partnership we have established with IMG, convenient, affordable and standard medical services will be available to all people from all walks of life, everywhere. We call upon government to support such innovations for the benefit of all citizens. A healthy population will definitely contribute to stimulation of economic growth.”

How the IMG-MTN Telemedicine service works

According to Andrew Mugalu, the Head of I.T at IMG and the Telemedicine Project Lead, patients will be scheduled on payment of a consultation fee of shs15,000 through the MTN Mobile Money gateway. The patient will choose the mode of consultation- either audio or video depending on the client’s phone capability and connectivity. All video consultations will be on appointment after the Doctor has established the need to have a visual consultation with the patient.

Where necessary, a sample will be physically collected by qualified IMC or IHK medical personnel from the patient’s home or preferred location with strict adherence to the COVID 19 safety protocols after which test results will be shared either via email, audio call or video call by the Doctor depending on the Patient’s preferred option. Medicines would then be delivered to the patient within 20kms of an IMC facility by a medical assistant.

Consultation services offered through IMG-MTN Telemedicine

Mugalu further highlighted that Patients will only be able to access consultancy services covering Tele-General Doctor’s consultation, Dermatology Consultations, Psychiatric Consultation, Laboratory sample Collection and Drugs delivery.

IMC is currently present in 18 locations across the country, IHK is open 24 hours while MTN Uganda’s network is available in all parts of the country.

 

About IMG

International Medical Group is a group of health service companies with a regional reputation for customer focus, innovation and quality patient care. The Group is comprised of International Medical Center (IMC), International Hospital Kampala (IHK) and International Air Ambulance (IAA).

Douglas Smith whose Invention Melted Ugandans’ Hearts is among the Maiden Beneficiaries of the MTN Foundation Youth Empowerment Program.

In the early part of the year 2020, MTN Uganda launched a campaign called MTN for good with the intention of awakening youth to the fact that they can achieve their dreams if they pursue them. The youths were required to submit a one minute video in which they talk about their enterprise and where they would like to take it.

Douglas Smith, the youthful CEO of Sportrise polled the highest public votes beating over 100 other participants to emerge winner in the inaugural MTN For Good campaign.

As a way of drawing Smith closer to the realization of his dream, MTN Uganda has enrolled Smith to the MTN Foundation Youth Empowerment Program. Smith alongside his four colleagues will be the inaugural participants of the six month long training which will enable them manage their businesses better as well as enable them to use the power of Information Technology to provide solutions to their communities’ most pressing needs through their businesses.

Sportrise is a local company that uses plastic waste to make affordable and durable soccer balls to support the engagement in sports as a way of influencing social change among children and youth. Details about his heart-melting initiative can be found at: https://sportrise.co.ug/

A sports man at heart, Smith runs a non-governmental organization that he founded with a sole purpose of championing social change for disadvantaged children through sports such as soccer that provide platform for  children to spend time engaging in health habits

Following the scarcity of soccer equipment, Smith embarked on a research which, as expected, revealed that most of the soccer balls used in Uganda are imported and are as such expensive, making them a scarce yet most important equipment for soccer.

According to Smith, given that most soccer pitches are rough bare ground without turf, the usually imported soccer balls easily wear out due to the rough conditions of the pitch yet they are also very costly. This challenge inspired Smith to introduce a new commercial venture in which he uses plastic waste to make balls by melting it to make affordable yet long lasting balls that can withstand the nature of Uganda’s soccer pitches.

“In addition to being expensive, these balls were easily wearing out because of our rough play grounds. So we needed to make balls specifically meant for our rough play grounds,” Smith says. “So that is how I decided to embark on this research of how to make these balls locally so that they are not only affordable but also durable and matched to our conditions.”

Currently, Smith’s balls are sought after by both football clubs and institutions such as schools among other people.

“There is more demand than the balls we can supply,” Smith says, noting that despite the low level of production due to the financial challenges that are hampering his expansion, customers continue to place orders for the balls.

As a winner of the For Good campaign, Smith will receive support from MTN including MTN Mobile money to seed into his business venture, 60GB data per month for six months and Kigale fixed lines among others. MTN will also offer him entrepreneurship and mentorship program that will help him manage his organisation better.

Speaking at the launch of the campaign in February, MTN Uganda Chief marketing Officer Sen Somdev said, “We all have dreams. It’s a great thing to be a dreamer because the ones who dream are the ones who own the future. Like MTN, many of the leading businesses, companies and enterprises started from an idea that sprung from a dream. Youths have many dreams and MTN wants to help them bring their dreams to life under the ‘For Good’ campaign.”

For all the youth out there, Smith says that; “We are all dreamers but those dreams don’t materialize without effort. When you begin, you are half way done. I believe we can change this country if we all dream big because, the future belongs to those who dream.”