As part of its commitment to investing in and empowering the communities in which it operates, MTN through its Foundation arm has unveiled its school-based development programmes at the Segofole Sepeke High School, in Limpopo, this week.
As one of the most under-resourced regions in Limpopo, government has identified the Sekhukhune district in which the school operates as a key area for socio economic development, and was the first to receive the MTN Foundation support.
Despite the conditions under which the school operates, it has received a 100% Matric pass rate in 2009. The MTN SA Foundation's integrated development strategy seeks to deliver maximum benefit to selected cluster communities in the six provinces – with Limpopo being one of the beneficiaries.
The MTN SA Foundation announcement is in line with its commitment to being a leader in connecting communities for self-reliance.
“MTN believes in giving back to the communities and has invested approximately R600 million in the last 10 years. In 2009 alone we invested around R56 million with about R9 million into the community of Limpopo. We further commit to plough R112 million in the next two years with R18 million invested into the community of Limpopo,” said Eunice Maluleke, Head of MTN SA Foundation.
Projects within the Education Portfolio include provision of state-of-the art technologies for media centres, in order to enhance teaching and learning. Interventions include providing schools with technology-based teaching and learning aids; enhancing the outreach of existing science centres; establishing interactive tele-teaching technology platforms and developing the capacity and institutional infrastructure for schools.
Said Eunice: “The Education portfolio is the largest in the MTN SA Foundation and accounts for almost half of our spend in each community. Projects in this focus area are closely linked to MTN SA's core business and focus on using technology to improve the standard and quality of teaching and learning.”
During 2009 all 15 schools that were identified were renovated and set up as fully fledged media centres – this included 15 computer workstations, 300 computers, 30 printers, 15 data projectors, 15 interactive white boards, 15 DSTV/Dish and 45 data cards. The teaching and learning support programme saw 50 educators from 25 schools and six curriculum advisors receiving training on the numeracy, maths, science and technology during 2009.
“Our integrated CSI strategy is informed by, and aligned to, the Millennium Development Goals and Government's key deliverables. They seek to support the Department of Education's priorities with their primary focus on maths and science, language and literacy and bridging the digital divide.
“Our interventions aim to benefit rural communities, which usually fall through the cracks because they are not easily accessible. By launching all community interventions with education programmes, we are able to forge long-term positive relationships with a wide variety of community stakeholders, whether young or old, influential or vulnerable. These relationships help us to develop a detailed understanding of the unique challenges facing our communities,” continued Eunice.
An entrepreneurial culture is inculcated in schools, as learners are provided with the necessary training through the Entrepreneurship Portfolio. The Arts and Culture Portfolio leverages the relationships built with schools through the education initiatives, in order to improve arts and culture educator training.
“Each of these communities possesses a more comprehensive understanding of community challenges than we could ever hope to comprehend. It is for this reason that the MTN SA Foundation strives to provide people in such communities with an enabling environment that links them to the opportunities and resources they need to make a difference in their own lives. Our programmes aim to see communities, individuals and families soar and become the very best they could possibly be, and so to restore their dignity,” concluded Maluleke.