As MTN Uganda celebrates its 6th anniversary,
one thing that has remained almost synonymous with the mobile
phone giant is its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).
MTN Uganda supports initiatives such as education, through
which they have assisted schools in different ways since 1999.
MTN also works in partnership with Habitat for Humanity,
to provide low-cost housing to the people of Uganda. The company
also supports Nakivubo Youth Club, a group of former street
children whose lives are rehabilitated through sports. MTN’s
CSR is aimed at giving back to the communities in which the
company staff live and work. MTN Assistant Public Relations
Officer Tina Byaruhanga gave Weekly Observer’s
Elizabeth Kameo an insight into the company’s
unique CSR programme:
| Ms Tina Byaruhanga
Do you believe integrating Corporate Social Responsibility
in MTN’s core operations helps MTN move ahead of the
Yes, of course. I do believe the CSR of MTN is not different
from the business; they are one and the same. It makes it
more dynamic and has more impact when you actually integrate
the two. So yes, I do believe in merging the CSR and the business
objectives; they have to tie into each other, and that is
what MTN has done, and is doing.
Do you think people are becoming more demanding of the contribution
MTN Uganda makes towards their community development initiatives?
Naturally people are demanding. Despite that, MTN is still
willing to stick to our plan and implement our strategy, whether
people will be more demanding or less demanding. MTN has drawn
out a plan of engaging the communities and being able to meet
them at their point of need, and that is what we are going
to stick to.
How is MTN moving from the traditional models of
community support such as charitable donations, grants and
employee volunteer programmes, to make CSR part of everyday
First and foremost, what we are doing is encouraging people
to embrace an education that involves computer knowledge and
exposure to ICT because we believe it is very vital in this
global age. You can’t do business anywhere; most of
the time you need at least basic computer knowledge. For example,
there is a project we are involved in right now with higher
institutions of learning, where we are giving them computers
in order for their students to be able to get Internet access
so that they can explore and expand their scope of education.
Would you say MTN’s CSR has been an important
gauge of the company’s success?
Yes. It is very vital for companies to care for the communities
in which they operate and cold and callous for a company to
operate in a community without taking into account their needs
and their plight. Companies succeed because communities help
them. Giving back to the community shows that we appreciate
the support they have given us.