Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, Telenor has stood by Pakistan and is living up to its purpose of connecting people to what matters most, and now committing to more. As the current situation does not warrant business, as usual, Telenor Pakistan and Telenor Microfinance Bank have gone over and beyond and pledged PKR 1.6 billion, in cash and kind, towards COVID-19 relief efforts. The in-kind contribution has commenced through the provision of subsidised and free services and offers and add-ons for telecom and banking consumers.
As the entire country has been swept with fear, concern and uncertainty, Telenor’s cash contribution is intended to provide relief and support to those that are fighting against the Coronavirus on the front lines. In collaboration with Pakistan Red Crescent, Telenor is providing Personal Protective Equipment to the real heroes – the doctors, health workers and law enforcement professionals. Moreover, Telenor will channel part of this contribution towards COVID testing in the country.
Telenor is making significant efforts towards e-learning by collaborating with Ministry of Information Technology and the Virtual University of Pakistan under the DigiSkills Program to provide affordable access to youth, and providing free access to LinkedIn Learning platform on first come first serve basis to those looking to upskill themselves in order to find employment. Additionally, the organisation will be training 2,000 females entrepreneurs, students and children on digital skills and design thinking through webinars; and will be helping scale ed-tech start-ups with a focus on STEM education under Telenor Velocity.
Continuing with its tradition of over 5 years now, this Ramzan, Telenor Pakistan’s annual #ShareYourMeal campaign, which is always centred on bridging the gap between the haves and the have-nots, will be focusing on donating food and ration to the people affected during the lockdown. Irfan Wahab Khan, CEO Telenor Pakistan and Chairman Telenor Microfinance Bank said,
“Many of our countrymen are feeling vulnerable, worried, and confused as the real effects of the current situation begin to show face. That’s exactly where we have a responsibility to stand shoulder to shoulder with our fellow citizens and create hope. Today, more than ever before, I am extremely proud of the employees of Telenor who have donated their salaries towards this noble cause. It was heartening to know that all employees felt honoured to have the opportunity to give back to the country that has given them so much.”
He further added,
“We will continue to represent all that makes us Telenor, connecting Pakistanis to what matters most to them; and we will do so with compassion, with empathy and with unwavering courage as we remain committed to helping those around us. I truly believe that the future will be brighter and our people will come out stronger.”
Telenor Microfinance Bank and Pakistan Bait-ul-Mal have expanded their partnership towards supporting widows and differently-abled persons through Easypaisa. The Bank has also collaborated with Zakat and Ushr Department of the Government of Punjab to digitally disburse Zakat funds of PKR 1.5 billion to 170,000 most vulnerable beneficiaries in a convenient and safe manner. Additionally, transaction charges have been waived for both customers using interbank fund transfers and QR Retailers dealing in a provision of essential commodities.
To facilitate Easypaisa users, Corona Health Services facility is being launched that provides comprehensive coverage in case of Coronavirus hospitalization and Corona updates have been launched in the Easypaisa App to spread awareness and provide regular updates on the pandemic. M. Mudassar Aqil, President & CEO, Telenor Microfinance Bank / Easypaisa said,
“Pakistan currently faces a dynamic situation which is evolving day by day. It is now more important than ever for the entire country to stand together in the face of this emergency. The on- going crisis has highlighted the real importance of digital payments and mobile wallets. Through our digital payments platform, we are facilitating the Government in disbursing cash relief payments and helping charitable organizations in collection of donations. We are also helping community-based initiatives to raise funds for COVID-19 relief and supporting the efforts being undertaken by the Government in this regard. It has become the responsibility of all organizations and individuals alike to become part of a greater effort and stand by our nation during these difficult times. We believe it to be our duty to contribute towards the relief efforts in whatever way we can and will continue to do so”.
In order to assist the government, health authorities and private sector to better able to reach out to the vulnerable during this pandemic, Telenor Pakistan has developed an advanced analytics system which can help segment its subscriber base on location, socioeconomic class, age group and gender. These mobility and demographic insights will help government in better understanding potential need for financial and medical assistance and reaching out to deserving beneficiaries for financial aid; better understanding demand for goods and services in different locations and targeting awareness and safety campaigns based on anonymised data; and providing credit risk profiling to facilitate individuals based on their consent, and small retailers in applying to financial institutions for micro and personal loans.
In addition to urging its 46 million customers to donate to the Prime Minister’s Corona Relief Fund through SMS short code, Telenor is coming together to raise funds for the nation by directly and voluntarily contributing through employee individual salaries which will be matched by the organisations; reallocating budgets from annual activities and earmarking substantial amount on top, to add to the donation pool.
Always ready to step up as a socially responsible organisation, Telenor has remained at the forefront of assisting Pakistanis in their time of need, responding to the call of natural, man-made and conflict emergencies by targeting specific and un-met needs of the affected.