The Safaricom Foundation recently released their 3-year strategy which will set to run from April 2018- March 2021. The unveiling of the strategy also marked The Foundation’s 15 year anniversary. The strategy is based on one goal which is to make a significant contribution towards Kenya’s sustainable development in our areas. The mission is to make impactful investments and partnerships over the next couple of years that align with the Sustainable Development Goals. The strategy will focus on Good Health and Well Being (SDG3), Quality Education (SDG4) And Decent Work and Economic Growth (SDG8).
Here the strategy will focus on maternal health care and tackle Non-communicable diseases (NCD’s). Under maternal healthcare, dealing with the high rate of maternal mortality will be on top of the list. In 2014, the maternal mortality ratio was 362 out of 100,000 live births. There are some counties which are more affected than the others such as Wajir, Mandera, Turkana, Marsabit and Isiolo. The foundation will work on investing in existing and proven innovations in maternal bottlenecks for the availability, accessibility, affordability and acceptability of quality maternal healthcare, especially in the most affected counties.
Non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, cancer and hypertension continue to be a burden to us all. These diseases account for 27% of deaths and 50% of hospital admissions in the country. The foundation will focus on addressing the prevention and treatment gaps in dealing with these NCD’s. This includes; creating awareness, encouraging people to go for screening and testing and provision of knowledge on how best to deal with the disease.
The goal is to ensure that there is the provision of equitable and quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for Kenyans. Some of the pressing issues the strategy will deal with include; dealing with skills mismatch, mastery of basic literacy and numeracy skills and access to primary education in arid and semiarid lands (ASAL’s). Steve Okeyo, Director for Regional Sales and Steve Chege, Director Corporate Affairs at Safaricom PLC will oversee the implementation of the strategy in this focus area.
The issue with skills mismatch is that students have spent almost 20 years in school yet they are not fully equipped to deal with the working world. There is an inadequacy of technical skills and knowledge to enable him/her to contribute to economic development. The strategy will focus on supporting technical and vocational education with a deliberate focus on improving participation of women.
To deal with the challenges associated with inadequate numeracy and literacy in primary schools, the foundation will make investments to support the projects which are already running. This includes; Tusome, Tayari, PRIEDE projects. The investment will ensure that the students get better learning outcomes. There will be more investment to focus on the access of education in arid and semi-arid areas.
Decent Work and Economic Growth
Unemployment is considered to be Kenya’s leading economic policy challenge. The biggest issue is the high rate of unemployment among the young people. 55% of youth are unemployed and 62% of women are unemployed. The economy is failing to create the jobs needed to employ the more than half a million youth entering the workforce annually. The trustees who were tasked with overseeing this focus area are Sylvia Mulinge, Director of Consumer Business and Josephine Kamathe, Principal Strategist and Planning Analyst Safaricom PLC.
According to an analysis done by World Bank, most of these youth can lift themselves out of poverty through entrepreneurship. However, most face the following constraints;
Access to financing
Managerial and entrepreneurship skills
Relevant exposure and networks for starting a business lack of apprenticeships
Limited information to take advantage of available youth focused on government funds such as Youth Enterprise Development UWEZO Women Enterprise Funds and AGPO
The foundation will focus on youth empowerment that focuses on the highlighted issues. This is in a bid to promote entrepreneurship.