Interview: MTN Uganda’s Wim Vanhelleputte on why CSR is a win-win for companies and communities

MTN Uganda is one of the leading corporate companies that have made Corporate social responsibility (CSR) an all-year-round target. Frequently, the telco contributes to communities through its MTN Foundation arm with key focus on hospitals and schools.

Given the fact that only a pinch of corporate brands deploy CSR campaigns, the need for their involvement would benefit them and their customer base. For instance, In 2020, only MTN has donated through its CSR wing, and no other telco has borrowed the streak.

Henceforth, at the forefront of running CSR campaigns, MTN Uganda’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Wim Vanhelleputte, through an Interview shared his beliefs and take on why CSR is a win-win for both companies and communities alike.

Please tell us about MTN’s rationale for taking part in CSR

At MTN our vision is to provide a modern connected digital life to every customer. However, we understand that as a business, MTN can only flourish when the communities and ecosystems in which it operates are healthy.

In all we do, we strive to leverage our core capabilities to enable the socio-economic development of the communities within which we operate. I think of CSR as a win-win. It is a big win for the company and even a bigger win for the community.

How does MTN execute its CSR? 

CSR is fully embedded in our overall strategy. Every year we donate a certain percentage of our profits through the MTN Foundation. The money is dedicated to improving the lives of people in the communities in the most pressing areas of education, health, and national priority areas such as youth empowerment among others.

 We endeavor to maintain an emphasis on addressing National priority areas aligned with the National Development Plan of each of our markets.

This is why we have strong working partnerships with the health and education sectors, and it is also the reason why we are always quick to come in when there are natural disasters like it was with COVID19, floods in different parts of the country.

It is also a known fact that all the money from the MTN Kampala Marathon goes towards charity. Please tell us more about it.

The idea of the MTN marathon has really been about mobilising the population and other corporate bodies to rally together behind specific causes that require urgent attention in our communities. It has helped us draw attention to very important issues in the community such as maternal health, basic needs like water in some parts of the country.

We take pride in our association with partners like Stanbic Bank, New Vision, Huawei and Rwenzori among others who donate selflessly towards the Marathon and to all the participants who take part in the Marathon to make a difference in people’s lives.

We believe that our vision to build sustainable societies can be achieved through partnerships and collaboration, helping in the realisation of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Why is MTN passionate about giving back to the communities?

As explained in the beginning, MTN Uganda can only flourish when the communities and ecosystems in which it operates are healthy. In all we do, we strive to leverage our core capabilities to enable the socio-economic development of the communities within which we operate.

The MTN Marathon is just one tool through which we make our contribution. We also have a foundation whose focus is to carry out our CSI agenda and through it we have been able to do a lot in the community.

Since it is part of MTN’s vision, we expect to see more MTN Initiatives in the community. Briefly tell us about the future of MTN CSR

mtn foundation csr campaigns
MTN CSR Campaigns act as the brand’s Marketing gap to advertise current offers through availing services to visited communities

Definitely just like we have a business plan, we have a solid plan for our CSR. As the communities we work with advance, their needs also evolve. Our CSI program currently focuses on National Priority Areas (Education, Health, women empowerment, disaster relief) and Employee volunteerism and more recently we are adding youth empowerment to the agenda.  

This will focus on empowering them with the relevant skills required in the current times so as to systematically address job creation, enhance competitiveness and drive inclusive growth.

Why particularly the youth?

Youth account for over 60% of the population across our markets.  If we can address the issue of job creation in youths and enable them to be contributors to the growth of their country, this will drive inclusive growth as well as positively impact communities’ standards of living. This strategic move is to really unlock the potential of youths in building the economy.

What are your final remarks to the public regarding giving back to the community?

First of all let me thank everybody out there, whether individual or organisation that is involved in giving back and supporting communities. Development in any form is not a preserve of the government.

It is a collective effort that everybody should get involved in their own little way. As MTN we strongly believe that we are good together, that way we can achieve a lot more.

Editor’s note: Part of this story is from an official Interview release shared with the Tech Point Magazine team

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