Airtel Partners Groups to Empower Vulnerable Girls


Ugo Aliogo

Airtel Nigeria has announced a partnership with Girl Effect, an International Non-Profit Organisation and iSON group, one of the largest Information Technology Groups in Africa, to empower rural girls in matters relating to finance, entrepreneurship, health, economic empowerment and safety, and others.

With the partnership, Girl Effect and iSON Group would leverage on their Girls connect initiative to give rural girls a voice. Girls Connect is an innovative (interactive voice response) IVR 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 State last year and 44,000 calls were made to the service during the eight weeks campaign, 5 times more than the originally expected. Since January, this year, the programme has been live state-wide across Kano and Edo, in both Hausa and Pidgin.

Speaking on the Girls Connect initiative, the Director, Corporate Communications and CSR, Airtel Nigeria, Emeka Oparah, said the company was proud to be associated with groups on the journey towards empowering and liberating 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 succeed and realise their full potential.
“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,” he noted.

The Deputy Country Director at Girl Effect Nigeria, Hadeezah Haruna-Usie, explained that girls connect is an innovative campaign that is empowering girls.

She also noted that in the pilot phase, they 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 apprenticeship that would lead them to setup businesses.

“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,” she added.

The Chairman, iSON Group, Ramesh Awtaney, said people live on hope, stating that through girls connect IVR service; girls in the country have access to a key platform free of cost where their quest is answered and their faith reinstated to live lives powerfully.

She added: “The programme shaped up by iSON Group and Girl Effect is a collaborative effort of how technology and content can interface to connect and share to fortify the bond of human race.”