On Tuesday, 24 November, UNICEF Tanzania signed an MOU with mobile network operator Tigo. This MOU extends Tigo’s support of UNICEF Tanzania’s work to improve the lives of children using mobile technologies.
The 2016-2018 partnership includes financial and in-kind contributions worth about TZS $ 354,625,172 (USD $165,000). These contributions will be used to support the Under Five Birth Registration Initiative, the National Child Helpline, the ‘Tupime Watoto’ (HIV testing of children) initiative and UNICEF Tanzania’s Innovations Lab.
Being in Tanzania to witness this occasion, I spoke with Hawi Bedasa, Knowledge Management / Innovations Specialist of UNICEF Tanzania for background on this partnership:
Q1: For how long have you partnered with Tigo?
Hawi: We have been working with Tigo for more than two years now and our partnership has mainly been technical in nature where Tigo provided us with access to their infrastructure, technical staff to work with us on our projects, and free SMS for some of our projects. The MoU that was just signed is an extension of the current partnership to support additional projects through both financial and in kind support.
Q2: How has this partnership helped advance our goals?
Hawi: Because of the partnership that we have with Tigo, we were able to gain access to their technical expertise and resources that are not available in UNICEF. To give an example, the first prototype of mobile application that we developed for birth registration took us less than three weeks to design, develop, deploy, and test it in the field. This would have taken us at least 6 months if we had to procure the services.
Q3: What has surprised/impressed you about the partnership with Tigo?
Hawi: Tigo is truly committed to giving back to the community and believes technology can play a central role in improving the lives of children in Tanzania.
You can read about the extension of the successful Tigo/UNICEF Tanzania partnership here: http://www.unicef.org/tanzania/media_17334.html.