MTN Deepens its Roots in Uganda as it Restores 220 Hectares of Forest Cover

  • MTN has embarked on an ambitious project of restoring 220 hectares of forest cover as it further deepens its roots in Uganda, in preparation of the company listing 20% of its shares on the Uganda Stock Exchange, an opportunity for Ugandans to own a part of MTN.

 

  • The reforestation project that shall restore forest cover in 5 Central Forest Reserves (CFRs) in 5 districts across the country is part of a bigger MTN campaign dubbed “Uganda is Home”, which celebrates the relationship that MTN Uganda has with the people of Uganda.

 

  • The reforestation initiative as well as the overall “Uganda is Home” campaign is a recommitment of MTN to the people of Uganda that the company will continue to invest in the socio-economic well-being of the country besides its business operations.

MTN Uganda, the country’s leading techco (Technology-led company), has today launched a nationwide forest restoration project to symbolise the deepening of its roots in Uganda, a country that has been home to the company since 1998.

Themed “Uganda is Home” this initiative is in preparation of MTN Uganda listing 20% of its shares on the Uganda Stock Exchange, an opportunity for Ugandans to own a part of the company.

Launched today at Kyewaga Central Forest Reserve in Entebbe, the MTN reforestation project, that is being undertaken in partnership with the National Forestry Authority, wiil see the company restore 220 hectares of forest cover in five Central Forest Reserves (CFRs) across the country.

These include Barifa CFR in Arua, Kagombe CFR in Kibaale, Jubiya CFR in Masaka and Ogera Hills CFR in Serere district. The month-long reforestation project will see 220 hectares of forest cover restored across the country, with every 10 hectares symbolizing one year of MTN’s existence in Uganda so far.

The MTN forest restoration project is the but one of the many initiatives that the company has undertaken over the years to strengthen its relationship with a country that it calls home. It is also a recommitment by the company to play its part in the development of its home, Uganda as envisaged by MTN’s business model that suggests that businesses can only thrive when the communities within which they operate are thriving.

To this effect, MTN has over the years made several Corporate Social Investments in areas of health, education, sports, music and arts among others as a way of supporting communities to thrive in order to create a win-win situation for both the business as well as the citizens of Uganda through its corporate social responsibility arm, the MTN Foundation.

Key among MTN’s corporate social investments is the refurbishment and re-equipment of over 30 health center IIIs across the country to support the government’s strides towards the attainment of Sustainable Development Goal Number 3 which calls for health and well-being for all. Furthermore, through the MTN Kampala Marathon, the company has been raised funds that have been sunk into health and wellness projects in various communities across the country for the last 17 years.

MTN has also worked with the PEAS (Promoting Equality in African Schools) organization to construct classroom blocks in 10 secondary schools located in hard-to-reach areas in order to champion access to affordable secondary school education. This project alone created space for close to 2000 learners in the schools.

Most recently, MTN has been instrumental in complementing the government’s efforts towards combatting the spread of the deadly corona virus as well as supporting communities cope with the harsh effects of the pandemic. MTN has so far injected over 2 billion shillings in the fight against Corona Virus in Uganda. MTN donated 3 brand new pickups to the National Covid Task Force, partnered with National water and sewerage cooperation to provide clean safe water to the people in water hardened areas to promote hand-washing as a preventive measure towards the spread of the virus, partnered with the Uganda Red Cross Society to monitor SOPs in high traffic areas such as the national borders and markets among others. These initiatives were further complemented by interventions such as the scrapping of MoMo transaction fees, supporting the ministry of health with its call-center infrastructure as well as zero-rating e-learning sites to enable students to carry on with their studies as schools were closed, among others.

Like the reforestation project, all the above activities demonstrate MTN’s long-term commitment as a responsible corporate citizen in Uganda over the years.

Speaking at the forest restoration launch today at the Kyewaga Central Forest Reserve in Entebbe, where MTN restored the first 20 hectares of forest cover, Wim Vanhelleputte, the MTN Chief Executive Officer said that MTN Uganda has over the years established its roots in Uganda and that the reforestation project was purely a symbolism of the company deepening its roots in a country that has become home in preparation of MTN Uganda listing 20% of its shares on the Uganda Stock Exchange.

“When the government of Uganda granted us our second operating license in 2020, part of the agreements was that MTN would list on the Uganda Securities Exchange by 2022. To MTN , this is a very welcome step because listing on the Uganda Securities Exchange means that Ugandans will also now share a part of the company.

He further noted that Uganda has been and continues to be a good home to MTN. It is for this reason that MTN has closely worked with the government to complement its efforts in various sectors such as Health, Education, Youth Skilling and ICT, among others.

In his remarks, Tom Obong Okello, the Executive Director of the National Forestry Authority lauded MTN for supporting the government in reinstating forest coverage in the country.

“This is one of the single biggest investments into the sector by any corporate organization so far, we are certain of the tremendous positive impact on the local communities and the entire country”, said Okello.

The “Uganda is Home” campaign comes shortly after MTN Uganda hit a milestone of 15 million subscribers, further deepening its roots in the country as the leading telecom company of choice.

MTN is committed to investing further to serve its ever-growing customer base diligently and to supporting the government’s efforts towards the socio-economic development of the Uganda.

National Curriculum Development Center lauds MTN for zero rating learning websites

National Curriculum Development Center (NCDC), the government body responsible for the development of educational curricula for primary, secondary and some tertiary institutions in Uganda has lauded MTN for its initiative to encourage learning from home by zero rating learning institution websites for students.

Gilbert Gift Siima, the curriculum specialist ICT at National Curriculum Development Center (NCDC) said the initiative enabled students who were studying from home to access learning materials during the lockdown.

This, he said was especially helpful for candidate students in the primary leaving examinations (PLE) and the O’level Uganda Certificate of Education (UCE) who have recently received their results.

Following the closure of schools during the initial country lockdown, MTN in March last year allowed free access to 17 learning sites in partnership with NCDC to ensure students study from home while also enabling parents home school the children.

Some of the learning sites which can be accessed from https://www.mtn.co.ug/learnathome/  include:

http://www.classroommagazines.scholastic.com/

http://www.allinonehomeschool.com/

http://www.abcya.com/

http://www.splashlearn.com/

Some of the learning institutions include universities such as Makerere University, Uganda Christian University and Uganda Martyrs University among others.

Namubiru Agnes, a teacher and mother of two candidates from St Francis Education Center in Namawojjolo says her and her children benefitted a lot from reading materials on the zero rated websites.

“When they sent the children back home, they told us to access materials online and that is what I did. With the help of my sister who accessed the websites, I was able to homeschool my children. It helped us a lot to keep the children focused on education,” she recounts.

According to Siima, the sites have continuously recorded increased traffic signaling to the increased usage amongst the learners.

He lauded MTN for its efforts as a corporate citizen in enabling continuity of the education sector which has been hard hit by the covid-19 pandemic.

MTN Uganda General Manager Corporate services and legal, Enid Edroma said the telecom is glad to have partnered with NCDC to support the people of Uganda.

“MTN is dedicated to continuously support the people of Uganda. We understand the vitality of education especially to the youngsters in the country, and as such thought it necessary to ensure that they remain focused and studying at no cost to the parents whose incomes have also been affected by the pandemic,” Edroma noted.

This comes after the Ministry of education and sports released the PLE and UCE results last month.

MTN Foundation, Ubunifu Empower Youth As 60 Graduate From Youth Skilling Program

  • 60 youth have graduated in the first cohort of the MTN Foundation youth skilling program.
  • The program, which kicked off in December 2020 targeted 100 beneficiaries from university graduates, Small and medium enterprises and young innovators.
  • The youth skilling program is in line with MTN’s priority area focusing on youth as it seeks to inspire and empower them with the goal of creating practical ICT driven solutions to challenges in society.
Collage of graduates during the virtual graduation ceremony organised by the MTN Foundation and Ubunifu systems

60 youth have successfully graduated having attained digital and technical skills in the first cohort of the MTN Foundation youth skilling program.

The MTN Foundation youth skilling program is an initiative funded by MTN Foundation Uganda and implemented by Ubunifu systems aimed at inspiring and empowering youth with the goal of creating practical ICT driven solutions to challenges in society.

The program, which kicked off in December 2020 received nearly 2000 applications but only targeted 100 youth from university graduates, Small and medium enterprises and young innovators.

Speaking at the graduation ceremony held during an online webinar, The MTN General Manager Corporate services and Legal, Enid Edroma who was representing the MTN CEO congratulated the youth upon the accomplishment urging them to use the skills attained to improve their society.

“These graduands are not your ordinary people. They were picked out of 1900 applicants for the training. This was not a chance occurrence because within each one of you are certain special qualities that helped identify you as the right candidates and these include, the passion which we saw through your applications. We also noticed your resilience and positive outlook to life and its challenges,” Edroma said.

Edroma highlighted the resilience of the youth who quickly adapted to online training when the pandemic hit and interrupted the program.

The MTN youth skilling program which was entirely conducted online employed a three pronged approach tackling digital and technical skills as well as an incubation phase for aspiring entrepreneurs focused on four thematic areas including agriculture, health, education and youth empowerment.

Addressing the effect of the pandemic especially on the education sector, Edroma said covid-19 has accelerated the advancement and adoption of technology.

She however also noted that there are still gaps that need to be plugged especially in the lower education segments.

“There are areas that can still be better for instance primary and secondary education. It would be nice to see that segment also move into the digital space which will demonstrate the value of digitisation,” she said.

Edroma was reiterated by Brian Mbasa, the senior manager MTN Foundation who said the objective of the program is to empower youth to establish businesses which will have a trickle-down effect by employing other youth in society.

He explained that this is the first of many editions of the MTN youth skilling program as a new edition will kick off in January next year.

Sylvester Nyombi, the brand and communications manager, Ubunifu systems said the program enjoyed a diversity of youth having drawn people from 86 districts, with a high level of female participation and inclusion of persons with disabilities.

Nagawa Hajara, one of the female graduates in the program said she has attained various skills which have been instrumental in aiding her establish her agribusiness training center.

Hajarah-Naggawa-one-of-the-graduands-during-the-skilling-program-conducted-online.

The graduation ceremony was graced with various dignitaries from the ICT sector such as Micheal Niyitegeka, International Computer Driving Licence (ICDL) Africa country director and Kenneth Muhangi, advisor at ministry of ICT, who awarded certificates of excellence to the graduands.

The guest of honour, Honorable Sarah Mateke Nyirabashitsi, Minister of State for Youth and Children Affairs commended MTN and Ubunifu systems for the initiative of skilling youth explaining that this has contributed a lot to improving the quality of labour in the country.

She also said that despite existence of similar government programs geared towards skilling the youth for example the youth livelihood program, there is still need for extra support from the private sector.

“Demand for affordable credit to support the youth to establish viable businesses is very high compared to the available funds I therefore appeal to the private sector to keep supporting us and implementing government programs,” she urged.

Hon Mateke said the program is timely and will be acknowledged during her first 100 days in office as the country prepares to celebrate the international youth day on August 12.

MTN trainee Smith saves the environment making footballs out of recycled plastic

Douglas Smith is an ardent lover of sports. The amor dates back to when the gentleman was young, barely aged enough to go to school. Every chance he got to play, it was football; soccer as some may like to call it. Fast forward, Smith has taken his love even further to play football for several clubs.

For the years he played, Smith always used balls made out of banana fibers because he could not afford those on the market.

‘Ehihajo’, they called them. ‘Ehihajo’ was the runyankole word used to mean expensive ball.

What flustered him was that despite the fact that the balls were imported, they were not durable, and yet cost an arm and a leg to buy.

So for the past three years, Smith, who runs a not for profit organisation called ‘The Smith Soccer Foundation’ which uses the power of soccer to bring about a positive social impact in communities, embarked on research that would later see him make his own soccer balls out of recycled plastic.

“Most of the soccer balls used in Uganda are imported. There hasn’t been any football manufacturing company in Uganda. Most of the imported soccer balls are very expensive and not durable. Also I came to find out that in Uganda over 2000 metric tons of waste is generated of which around 30% is plastic. After doing intensive research and studies, I came up with the idea of manufacturing soccer balls locally from recycled plastic waste,” he reveals, never mind that he was pursuing a diploma in medical laboratory technology.

Sportrise is born

At the dawn of 2020, Sportrise was born. Sportrise is a social enterprise company in Ibanda locally manufacturing durable and affordable soccer balls from recycled plastic waste.

Smith’s raw material is Polyethylene Terephthalate (PETE) which is the commonest type of plastic in Uganda as it is derived from disposable plastic water and soda bottles.

It takes around 100 plastic bottles to make one ball.

“We have up to 10 plastic collection centres in Ibanda. We employ some young people that do the collections. We are currently innovating a digital way of encouraging young people to earn as they collect and drop plastic at our collection centres,” he narrates.

At Sportrise, Smith employs 27 people directly and indirectly including those that collect the plastic for recycling.

In one year, the 27 year old has earned about UGX12million from selling soccer balls and sportswear.

“We have made UGX12 million in sales from both Sportrise balls and Sportrise wear since May 2020 and have so far raised UGX120 million in seed funding. Whereas currently our sport wear is made of fabric, we are presently undertaking research on the feasibility of manufacturing sportswear (sportrise wear– including jerseys and footwear) from recycled plastic waste,” he says.

Currently an ordinary Sportrise ball goes for UGX40,000 and UGX50,000 for those that are customized.

Whereas Sportrise clientele are predominantly sports shops, local clubs, corporate companies, schools, individuals & politicians, the young lad from Mirambi Cell, Ibanda District has now embarked on partnering with football clubs to grow his sales.

“Last year we signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Ibanda Municipal SC 3rd division team as their official kit sponsor on a 2 year deal while they also play using our Sportrise balls. We plan to partner with many more clubs,” he explains.

Challenges

But being a first time business founder venturing in virgin territory of local football manufacturing, Smith has been faced with some challenges.

“Uganda has no football manufacturing plant where the team can benchmark to learn more about the ball making process. This calls for flying out of the country which is costly for a startup. Heavy reliance on imported products also limits acceptability of my local product,” he says.

Smith is skilled by MTN

Sportrise was the overall winner of the MTN ‘For Good Campaign’ having emerged victorious out of 100 participants that took part in 2020.

Owing to his victory, Smith was given a free pass to the MTN Foundation Youth Skilling Program (MYSP) which seeks to inspire and empower youth to become job creators through imparting financial and digital skills business knowledge. The MYSP, a partnership between MTN and Ubinufu systems hosts 100 participants trained in legal and taxation, computer essentials and technical skills among others.

Smith says; “The MTN Youth Skilling Program has really helped me a lot especially about financial management, record keeping, leadership etc. Being a first time founder, it was difficult running a startup company and leading my team but with the MTN Youth Skilling Program I now have over 80% of the skills. I think in the future I will strive not to make mistakes.”

As winner of the For Good Campaign, Smith was awarded 60GB for 6 months which he used to undertake more research and running his website. In addition, Smith says, the MTN ‘For Good campaign’ endorsement has enabled Sportrise to win several competitions and raise some money as well.

Nelson Munyanda, senior manager MTN Foundation says Sportrise is an example of a green company which falls in line with MTN’s environmental and social governance policy.

“It seeks to conserve the world through waste management which is a challenge for many in Uganda. At MYSP, the goal is to empower the youth to create ICT driven solutions to challenges in their community and I think Sportrise speaks to that,” he notes.

Like any other startup, Sportrise still faces some challenges which it will need to overcome before it can carry on with its ambition of scaling and competing on the global market.

MTN WakaNet MAX Delivers Affordable and Reliable All-Purpose 4G Internet to Homes

  • MTN WakaNet MAX is a home Internet solution that offers affordable and reliable 4G data connectivity to multiple family members (up to 32 gadgets), with a single WakaNet MAX router.
  • With MTN WakaNet MAX, customers get to work, study, get quality entertainment and keep their homes secure with CCTV security cameras, all supported by MTN’s superfast and affordable 4G internet.
  • The MTN WakaNet MAX starter kit comes at an initial cost of UGX 245,000 which includes the one-off cost of the router and 35GB data bundle with no expiry.
  • The data on MTN WakaNet MAX does not expire, meaning that customers can use it for as long as it is available and until it runs out. Top-up bundles go for as low as low as UGX 55,000 for 20GB.
  • Other WakaNet MAX bundle options include;
Price (UGX) Volume
55,000 20GB
85,000 40GB
170,000 85GB
335,000 195GB

MTN Uganda, in line with its vision of delivering a bold new digital world to its customers is set to transform Uganda’s homes into smart homes with MTN WakaNet MAX, a home Internet solution that offers affordable and reliable 4G data connectivity to multiple family members, with a single WakaNet MAX router. With a single WakaNet MAX kit, a family can have up to 32 internet enabled devices connected to superfast 4G internet.

Derived from the Luganda word “Waka” which literally means “home”, WakaNet MAX is a home internet solution for today’s modern homes that have many smart devices such as smart phones, laptops, security cameras, smart TVs, smart refrigerators, tablets and gaming consoles among others.

This offer comes at a time when many people are working and studying from home as a safety precaution because of covid 19. MTN WakaNet MAX is affordable and convenient for households that need the internet for work, school, entertainment, and security needs among others.

Somdev Sen, the MTN Uganda Chief Marketing Officer said that MTN is intent on realizing its vision of delivering a bold new digital world to its customers, more so in times like these when connectivity to the home is so crucial.

“One of the ways we are delivering a bold new digital world to our customers is by ensuring that every home has access to affordable and reliable superfast internet. As we all know the internet has become an essential part of our lives especially in these times where we are required to do a lot more at home. MTN WakaNet MAX ensure ensures that our customers are able to work, study, transact business, get entertainment as well as secure their homes with CCTV, all powered by reliable Internet from MTN,” said Somdev.

Apart from data bundles that have no expiry date, another exciting feature of MTN WakaNet MAX is its router, which has an inbuilt battery that ensures internet availability even when the home loses power.

Customers can purchase the MTN WakaNet MAX kit at selected service centers across the country at only UGX 245,000. The kit includes 35GB that has no expiry date and the plug and play MTN WakaNet MAX router. To recharge, customers can simply go to the MyMTN App or dial *177# to recharge for as low as UGX 55,000 for 20GB. Other data bundle top-up packages include 40GB for UGX 85,000, 85GB for UGX 170,000 and 195GB for UGX 335,000, all with no expiry date.

MTN Uganda Hands over UGX 15 million to its 15 millionth subscriber as the Telecom Celebrates its 15 million Customer Base

  • As part of the celebrations of the 15 million customers milestone, MTN has given away UGX15 million to the 15 millionth customer on the network.
  • 24-year-old Jamirah Nalukwago from Kyanuuna Village in Busunju, Wakiso district was the lucky 15 millionth Customer.
  • Nalukwago will pocket UGX 5 million for herself and share UGX 10 million with ten other MTN customers of her choice, each taking away UGX 1 million.

 

MTN Uganda has handed over UGX 15 million to its 15 millionth customer, Jamirah Nalukwago, a resident of Kyanuuna village in Busunju county in Wakiso district.

The cash prize to the 15 millionth customer is MTN Uganda’s way of celebrating the big milestone while at the same time thanking customers for embracing the ever-growing network. Now with 15 million customers, MTN has further reinforced its number one position as Uganda’s biggest and most preferred network.

Wim Vanhelleputte, the MTN Chief Executive Officer handed over the UGX 15 million dummy cheque to Nalukwago in a press conference held today at the MTN Headquarters along Jinja Road in Kampala.

While handing over the symbolic UGX 15 million dummy cheque to Nalukwago, Wim Vanhelleputte thanked her for choosing MTN.

“You made the right choice by joining the biggest and the best network. Senkyu (thank you) for being the unique customer who joined the network a few days ago, as the 15 millionth customer. We are very happy that you made the right choice and we are happy to celebrate with you the unique history of our company,” said Vanhelleputte to Nalukwago.

The overwhelmed Nalukwago who could hardly believe her luck, being one of the newest customers on the MTN network, said that she chose MTN because of its clear network and good services.

“I am too too happy! I decided to buy an MTN line because of the MTN Senkyu loyalty program and its clear network. MTN is the best Network in the world,” said Nalukwago while receiving her cheque. She was accompanied by her husband, Ibrahim Kakaire and their two children.

In line with MTN’s #GoodTogether belief that fosters the spirit of togetherness and sharing, Nalukwago gets to pocket UGX 5 million as the winner and share the remaining UGX 10 million with her loved ones. Nalukwago chose to share her winning with her husband, mother, father and siblings among others, who will all receive their money from MTN through MTN MoMo.

Wim Vanhelleputte hands over the 15 Million dummy cheque to Jamira Nalukwago

“I will use part of my winnings to construct a house and to start a business,” said Nalukwago who has until now, been a stay-at-home mom.

According to Wim, reaching the 15 million customer milestone is a great achievement for MTN Uganda and it goes to show that more people are embracing the benefits of a modern connected life that MTN delivers.

Nalukwago poses for a photo with the MTN CEO moments after receiving her cheque

“We made 10 million customers in 2017. And now in 3 and a half years, we now have another 5 million customers bringing our subscriber base to 15 million customers,” said Vanhelleputte who attributed the significant growth partly to the growing population of Uganda but also importantly, MTN’s commitment to better service delivery.

Jamila-Nalukwago-won-15-Million-as-the-lucky-15-Millionth-customer-of-MTN-Uganda

Vanhelleputte further noted that the achievement of 15 million customers is simply the beginning of yet another race to the next milestone as MTN is intent on giving everyone in Uganda the benefits of a modern connected life. The CEO lauded the management and staff of MTN Uganda as well as the MTN subscribers, the Government, and regulator as well as technology partners for their support to MTN in achieving this 15 million customer milestone.

MTN Uganda Congratulates Kabaka Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II upon his 28th Coronation anniversary.

• MTN Uganda’s CEO and Staff send congratulatory messages to the Kabaka and wish him a long peaceful reign.

• MTN Uganda continues to enjoy a cordial relationship with the Kingdom and the people of Buganda as well as the other Kingdoms in the country.

MTN Uganda extends its best wishes to the Kabaka of Buganda, His Majesty Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II and all the people of Buganda as the Kingdom celebrates the 28th coronation anniversary of their reigning King. Kabaka Mutebi II who ascended to the throne on 31st July 1993 is the is the 36th King of Buganda Kingdom, the largest Kingdom in Uganda.
This year’s coronation anniversary is happening today in Buddu County, Lwengo District at the Kabaka’s palace in Nkoni village. In observance of the Covid 19 standard operating procedures, this year’s coronation will have a few people in attendance as was the case last year.

As a company that enjoys a cordial relationship with the Kingdom of Buganda, MTN has always held colorful celebrations at its offices and service centers to offer tribute to the King of Buganda on his coronation anniversaries. This year has however been different due to the on-going Covid 19 pandemic.
Nevertheless, MTN staff spearheaded by the Chief Executive officer, Wim Vanhelleputte, took time to congratulate His Majesty Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II upon his 28th coronation. In his message, Vanhelleputte congratulated the Kabaka and wished him a long and peaceful reign.

“On behalf of MTN, I would like to congratulate the Kabaka of Buganda, His Majesty Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II upon his 28th coronation anniversary. I and everyone at MTN extend our best wishes to you and all the people of Buganda. Ayi Mukama Kuuma Kabaka Waffe, Wangaala ayi Ssabasajja”, said Vanhelleputte.

Vanhelleputte further noted that MTN reveres kingdoms because they are a strong community establishment that fosters shared beliefs and unity of purpose, a fact that proliferates MTN’s #GoodTogether concept that recognizes how much can be achieved through such relations among different entities.

Apart from Vanhelleputte, a selection of MTN staff also paid tribute to the Kabaka on behalf of the company. They include, Joseph Bogera, the General Manager Sales & Distribution, Margaret Nantongo, the Quality Assurance supervisor, Aisha Nakiryowa, a quality assessor, Sumayah Naluyima, an administrator and Omulangira Lukanga Moses, the call center team leader.
MTN Uganda wishes the Kingdom of Buganda happy deliberations upon the 28th coronation anniversary of His Majesty Kabaka Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II and remains committed to working with the Kingdom and the people of Buganda for the years to come.