Airtel Partners Girl Effect, iSON Group to Empower Vulnerable Girls

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Leading telecommunications services provider, Airtel Nigeria, has announced a partnership with Girl Effect, an international non-profit organization and iSON group, the largest Information Technology Group in Africa, to empower rural and vulnerable girls in matters relating to finance, entrepreneurship, health, economic empowerment and safety, among others.

With the partnership, Girl Effect and iSON Group will leverage on their highly successful Girls Connect initiative to give rural girls a voice. Girls Connect is an innovative IVR (interactive voice response) service that enables girls to listen to pre-recorded stories on their mobile phones before connecting to a specially-trained role model to answer their questions.

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, 5 times more than originally expected. Since July this year, the programme has been live state-wide across Kano and Edo, in both Hausa and Pidgin.

Commenting on the Girls Connect initiative, Emeka Oparah, Director: Corporate Communications & CSR, Airtel Nigeria, said: “Airtel is proud to be associated with Girl Effect and iSON on this exciting journey to empower and liberate girls across the country.

“At Airtel, we are intensely interested in connecting our esteemed stakeholders to the people, information, resources and opportunities that will enable them to succeed and realize their full potentials. With the Girls Connect initiative, it our hope that more girls will be inspired, empowered and encouraged to do more, achieve more and change the world.”

Hadeezah Haruna-Usie, Deputy Country Director at Girl Effect Nigeria, said: “Girls Connect is an innovative campaign that is empowering girls. In the pilot phase, we started to see girls put into practice what they learnt from the stories and conversations they had with the role models – from opening bank accounts to enrolling in apprenticeships that will lead them to start their own business. Thanks to our partners, we are now able to expand this service to reach even more girls and help eliminate the barriers that prevent girls from accessing Girls Connect.”

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Ramesh Awtaney, Founder and Chairman, iSON Group said: “Human beings live on hope. Through Girls Connect IVR service, girls in Nigeria have access to a key platform free of cost where their quest is answered and their faith reinstated to live lives powerfully.  The program shaped up by iSON Group and Girl Effect is a collaborative effort of how technology and content can be the interface to connect and share to fortify the bond of human race.”

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To access the platform, girls dial a number and listen to pre-recorded stories containing inspiring, entertaining and educational lessons about growing up. These stories – about Nigerian girls learning how to speak up, finding their own path in life, and learning to nurture meaningful relationships – cover multifaceted issues including health, education, economic empowerment and safety. Girls are then connected to a ‘role model’; a specially-trained iSON call centre operative who answers girls’ questions and talks through the stories they have heard to make them meaningful to their own lives.

Keeping the cost of using the service to a minimum is critical to making the service accessible to vulnerable girls. Today, new partners have come on board to help the programme scale and reach more girls.

For more information visit www.girlsconnect.ng or contact: hi@girlsconnect.org

About Girl Effect

Founded by the Nike Foundation in 2004, Girl Effect, a creative non-profit – experts in media, mobile, brand and international development – working where girls are marginalized and vulnerable. Girl Effect builds youth brands and mobile platforms to empower girls to change their lives: from apps that build skills to TV dramas that explore vital issues, to magazines written and distributed by girls. Through its work, a girl can start to express herself, value herself and build relationships. With the belief and support of those around her, she can then seek out the things she needs – from vaccination to education. Girl Effect evaluates itself the tangible impact we have on a girl’s self-expression, self-value, her relationships and her ability to make choices about her life.

About iSON Group

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iSON Group is the largest independent IT and ITeS services provider in Africa with the presence in 25 countries with over 10,000 employees. It serves 450million customers globally providing analytics, customer experience management, voice process solutions and CRM process solutions. iSON Group has been recognised as  2017 SERAS award for Best Company in Poverty Eradication, 2016 West African Business Process Optimization Competitive Strategy Innovation and Leadership Award by Frost and Sullivan and 2016 GPTW Award for Best Practices and CSR.

About Bharti Airtel Limited

Bharti Airtel Limited is a leading global telecommunications company with operations in 16 countries across Asia and Africa. Headquartered in New Delhi, India, the company ranks amongst the top 3 mobile service providers globally in terms of subscribers. In India, the company’s product offerings include 2G, 3G and 4G wireless services, mobile commerce, fixed line services, high-speed home broadband, DTH, enterprise services including national & international long distance services to carriers. In the rest of the geographies, it offers 2G, 3G, 4G wireless services and mobile commerce. Bharti Airtel had over 444 million customers across its operations at the end of Sep 2018. To know more please visit, www.airtel.com

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