Freetown, Sierra Leone, 23 April 2020: The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in Sierra Leone on Tuesday, 21 April 2020, entered into a partnership with Africell (SL) Limited, through a Memorandum of Understanding to support UNFPA’s efforts to achieve three transformative results; zero unmet need for family planning, zero maternal deaths, zero gender based violence (GBV) and all harmful practices.
The UNFPA – Africell partnership is a campaign focused primarily on reaching women and girls with information to increase the demand for GBV, sexual and reproductive health services. The campaign is initially targeting at least 600,000 subscribers in Freetown with voice calls and text messages on COVID-19, maternal health, family planning and gender-based violence at no cost to subscribers.
UNFPA worked with government and UN partners in Sierra Leone to develop the message contents; customized them into accessible local language; and recorded voice messages. UNFPA and Africell SL jointly developed a strategy to target literate subscribers with SMS messages, and low literacy subscribers with the voice messages. Thus ensuring everyone could understand the messages.
Dr. Kim Eva Dickson, UNFPA Country Representative, said she was delighted that the partnership has come to fruition. “UNFPA embraces innovative approaches to ensure that communities are reached with much needed sexual and reproductive health information and services. We particularly welcome this public private partnership with Africell SL during the COVID-19 pandemic. It is extremely important that women and girls are encouraged to continue to access free family planning and maternal health services, and we make all efforts to prevent gender based violence, as this pandemic rages.”
Mr. Shadi Gerjawi, CEO of Africell (SL) Limited, in his comments said “Africell is pleased to partner with UNFPA to roll out this impressive initiative which is designed to reach young people and women in Sierra Leone with vital information.” Africell, he said, places premium on the importance of a healthy nation, “therefore we believe that if the right information is constantly emphasised and communicated, it creates a paradigm shift in perception and behaviour.”
UNFPA is the United Nations sexual and reproductive health agency, working in more than 150 countries and territories that are home to the vast majority of the world’s people. Our mission is to deliver a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe and every young person’s potential is fulfilled.
Africell is an African mobile technology company. We provide fast, low-cost and reliable mobile network coverage and related value-added technology services to millions of individuals, communities and business in four vibrant African countries. Africell is the market leading operator in Sierra Leone and The Gambia and is a vibrant challenger in The Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda. Africell is a disruptor: keen to challenge inefficiencies, embrace fresh thinking and deliver innovative products and services which make a practical difference to people every day. Our corporate social responsibility and positive community impact, as well as our entrepreneurial spirit and transparent business activities, makes Africell the ideal mobile network provider for Africa’s future.
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John Baimba Sesay
Web and Media Analyst
Media Relations Manager