by MTHULISI SIBANDA
JOHANNESBURG –MTN South Africa has redesigned its annual staff volunteerism programme to help mitigate the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) on impoverished communities.
Formerly known as ‘21 Days of Y’ello Care’, the initiative normally runs between June 1 and 21.
Under the new banner of ‘Y’ello Care’, the programme has been extended to take place during the full months of June and July.
The theme for 2020 is, “Restoring dignity to our communities in these trying times.”
It will also leverage MTN’s resources to impart much-needed skills, and information communications and technologies (ICT) expertise, to help keep small and medium enterprises (SMEs) afloat.
“Over the next two months, the MTN SA Foundation will mobilise employees across the country to focus their volunteerism efforts on three main areas, namely health, food and water security,” Kusile Mtunzi-Hairwadzi, General Manager of the MTN SA Foundation, said.
Prior to the outbreak of the pandemic, the South African National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (SANHANES) revealed that 26 percent of the population was actually facing hunger, with a further 28 percent at risk.
COVID-19 has worsened food insecurity and hunger in South Africa.
Despite milestones achieved in broadening access to clean running water, the Department of Water Affairs conceded that 3,7 percent of households still fetch water from rivers, streams, dams, wells and springs.
The availability of personal protective equipment (PPE) is also cited as one of the most effective precautions that South Africans should take to prevent transmission of the virus.
Meanwhile, the MTN SA Foundation will rely on courier or logistics companies to deliver the required goods or services, while ensuring that prescribed social distancing and hygiene measures are adhered to.
“The triple challenges of poverty, inequality and unemployment have been intensified by the pandemic, and the impact continues to be far-reaching,” Mtunzi-Hairwadzi said.
The second part of the 2020 Y’ello Care programme will focus on providing virtual support to SMEs that are being crippled by the restrictions on trade resulting from the lockdown.
Figures released by Statistics SA in March, SMEsemployed more than 9 million people.
The South African Reserve Bank estimates 1 600 additional SME insolvencies this year.
– CAJ News