The second Safaricom Foundation and MPESA Foundation dissemination forum last week focused on coming together for sustainable livelihoods. The forum’s theme was Green House. The first one was held in January in Machakos. Together, MPESA Foundation and Safaricom Foundation have created an ecosystem of more than 1000 partners. Over the last couple of months, they have also had conversations with these partners all over the country focusing on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s).
The importance of holding these forums is that they help the foundations direct their efforts on how they can work together to realise these Sustainable Development Goals. (SDG’s). Some of the SDG’s tackled by MPESA Foundation and Safaricom Foundation include:
SDG 4: Inclusive and Quality Education.
This Sustainable Development Goal focuses on providing equitable and innovative education to all. The government has made commendable moves on improving access to educational resources. However, there are still a couple of challenges facing the realization of this goal including;
The inclusion of children with disabilities. There is a lot to be done when it comes to ensuring that handicapped children are receiving the quality education they require.
The inclusion of children in pastoral communities. There are still so many children living in these areas who do not have access to education of any kind.
Lack of infrastructure and communication technology required for learning in schools.
Safaricom Foundation has partnered up with Computer For Schools to provide students from various schools and institutions with ICT Infrastructure. They have also worked to train thousands of teachers and acquired a plastic recycling machine. This is to ensure that they dispose of their e-waste appropriately for environmental purposes. The MPESA Foundation has built a school that offers unique education to gifted but economically disadvantaged children.
SDG 3: Good Health and Well Being
This SDG focuses on major health priorities, maternal and child health, and communicable and non-communicable diseases. These strides are aimed at increasing life expectancy and providing quality life to all.
One of the organizations that Safaricom Foundation has worked with is the Christian Blind Mission. The partnership is centred on providing healthcare services through surgical procedures to up to 7000 children.
There is also the M-TIBA application where subscribers are allowed to send, save and spend funds specifically for medical treatment. Funds stored here allow you get access to a licensed healthcare facility. The funds give you access to the outpatient services offered by M-TIBA service providers in your area. You can also start a fund for your family members, relatives, and even employees.
Another organization the M-PESA Foundation has partnered with for better medical services is PharmAccess Group. This is an organisation which was started in 2000 to make HIV/AIDS treatment affordable in Africa. Over the years they have focused on other medical initiatives such as the Health Insurance Fund and the M-health Initiative.
One of their projects dubbed Uzazi Salama is meant to provide mothers in Samburu with maternal health care during and after pregnancy. This has worked to provide health services to women who did not have access to it or could not afford it before. Mother and child mortality rates have significantly dropped in time. They provide the pregnant mothers with vouchers so that they can access ambulances when they go into delivery as opposed to giving birth at home.
SDG 6: Clean Water and Sanitation
This SDG focuses on providing people with access to clean water and proper methods of sanitation. This is critical to the survival of the people as well as the planet as a whole.
The Safaricom Foundation has partnered with Shining Hope For Communities (SHOFCO), an NGO established to combat poverty and gender inequality in urban slums. Together they have developed a massive water project in Kibera slums that ensures that residents have access to clean water. They provide the water using 1.5km of aerial piping that transports water to 21 water kiosks and 42 latrines. This replaces the contaminated water that residents used to walk long distances and risk their lives due to sexual harassment while collecting water.
There was also a conversation about SDG 8 which deals with promoting inclusive and sustainable economic growth. To work towards that goal, we need to promote development-oriented policies that support productive activities, decent job opportunities, entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation. There is also need to promote the growth of small and medium-sized businesses by providing these business owners with access to financial services. If we work together, we can make great accomplishments in all the global Sustainable Development Goals.