Safaricom, East Africa’s leading telecommunication company has prioritised education, health and economic empowerment to help address inequality in Kenya.
In its annual 10th annual sustainability report, Safaricom said the Kenyan economy has been growing rapidly since 2005, but more needs to be done to promote a more inclusive society.
Through its commitment to ‘Standing Together’, Safaricom business plays an important role in the lives of the members of our society, it added “Our aim is to promote a stable, inclusive society with equal opportunities for all.”
The work focuses on ensuring inclusive and equitable access to healthcare by promoting maternal and child health (SDG3).
In addition, it operates several wide-ranging initiatives across the education value chain (SDG4) and economic opportunities for all (SDG 8) through its Foundations and partnerships (SDG17).
The telco has expanded access to education through innovative solutions, its network and through partnerships.
For instance, through its partnership with Eneza Education to make the Shupavu291 learning platform available for free to learners, it currently has over 600 000 active subscribers and has so far been used by over 6 million learners since 2016.
On the other hand, The M-PESA Foundation Academy continue to provide world-class Kenyan education to 200 talented but economically disadvantaged students from across the country.
“Over 230 000 learners have benefitted from projects funded by Safaricom Foundation under the Accelerated Learning Programme, as well as the construction and equipping of facilities with books and assistive devices,” says the report themed “Standing Together; Going Beyond”.
In helping the country make progress to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for health by 2030, Safaricom has been leveraging its mobile technologies and foundations to transform lives by improving access to quality and affordable health care services and by promoting wellbeing for all.
“It is a race against time if we are to achieve the UN SDGs agenda by 2030,” Peter Ndegwa, CEO, Safaricom adding that while progress has been made, we are not advancing at the speed or scale required.
Through the M-Tiba product, it now has over 5 million users and 3 980 approved health facilities countrywide.
In 2015, Safaricom and startup CarePay launched M-Tiba, which offers phone-based billing, payments, and insurance claims and helps users save for expenses. Over KSh 1 billion have been paid out to date.
Similarly, through maternal and child health programmes, the Safaricom and M-PESA Foundations have impacted over 367 341 lives across Kenya.
“We will continue to play our role in providing solutions to society’s most pressing challenges. For example, driving healthcare and education inclusion as well as enabling smallholder farmers to become more commercially sustainable,” says Ndegwa.
Employment and economic activity
In ensuring Safaricom delivers its best in the ongoing response to the Covid-19 pandemic and beyond into the recovery phase, during the year, it enabled people to work and learn from home, zero-rating M-PESA transactions under one thousand shillings and its involvement in the government’s COVID-19 helpline.
“We sustained 1 003 669 jobs through our wider economic impact in FY21, including 247 869 M-PESA agents and over 435 dealers,” the report notes.
In addition, the Safaricom Foundation Wezesha programme supported over 936 youth with digital jobs skills training and agribusiness through the Wezesha Agri programme.
Through its Digifarm, an integrated agriculture platform service that helps agribusiness and smallholder farmers access credit has seen over 228 416 farmers accessing learning content and over KSh 473 million’ worth of inputs redeemed.
Safaricom has been documenting its sustainability journey since 2012 and in 2016 it integrated 9 of the17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) into its business strategy.
Going into the future, Mr Ndegwa committed to lead Safaricom in helping the country build back better through inclusive business models and partnerships to scale up innovations in three key areas:
One, providing products and services that will help SMEs to rebuild and thrive.
Two promoting further socio-economic inclusion by expanding and digitising select areas including education, agriculture and healthcare through innovative solutions, and partnerships.
Finally, leading the organisation’s climate change action plan of becoming a net-zero company by 2050.