UNICEF, Telenor partnering to reduce inequalities among children

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UNICEF and Telenor Group have announced an agreement to extend their long-running global partnership for another three years – through 2021.

Launched in 2014, the partnership delivers large-scale global projects which leverage Telenor’s digital platforms to reduce inequalities and enhance children and young people’s skills for the digital future.

As part of the global partnership with UNICEF, Telenor Group, with its operations across eight markets in Scandinavia and Asia, has contributed with financial, technical and in-kind support, complementing UNICEF’s deep expertise, widespread on-ground contributions and knowledge of the countries covered by the partnership.

The three-year extended agreement will continue previously funded UNICEF projects, including digital birth registration and digital skills building programmes. It will also explore and identify new initiatives that leverage Telenor’s networks and digital platforms. The announcement was made today at Telenor Group’s headquarters in Fornebu, Norway.

“Thanks to our partnership with Telenor Group, we manage to improve the lives of many children. Telenor Group offers an important contribution to society, both financially and with their expertise. Mobile technology has proven to be very important in order to help vulnerable groups with for example health information and birth registration via SMS. We are also proud that this is UNICEFs first global deal initiated by a Norwegian company,” says Camilla Viken, executive director, UNICEF Norway.

“We’re proud to be a UNICEF partner and of the powerful impact this partnership has had in our markets. From registering more than half a million births in Pakistan to reaching youth across Norway and Asia on child online safety initiatives, we’ve seen great value added to the countries where we operate,” says Anne Kvam, EVP Corporate Affairs, Telenor Group. “We look forward to continue working with our partners at UNICEF on these programmes to reduce inequalities and empower the young people in our communities.”

The partnership extension includes both financial support and access to a range of digital and mobile technology solutions which will advance the rights of children and young people. Annually, Telenor Group will contribute NOK 4.5 million (USD 500,000) to a pool of funds made available through this partnership. All Telenor markets are covered by the partnership.

As one of Telenor Group’s oldest global sustainability partners, UNICEF works with governments, civil society organisations and other partners worldwide to advance children’s rights to survival, protection, development and participation, and is guided by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Standout partnership keeps kids safer online – and in real life

Among the cornerstones of the UNICEF-Telenor Group partnership is the ongoing Digital Birth Registration project in Pakistan, which now boasts 580,000 birth registrations and a second programme pilot in Myanmar. The programme ensures that the births of otherwise undocumented children are registered with public authorities, greatly increasing their access to education, healthcare and emergency services and reducing the risk of human trafficking, child labour and other abuses.

In addition, several child online safety and digital education initiatives are running in Bangladesh, Malaysia, Thailand and Norway. These initiatives continue the partners’ focus on reducing inequalities by building skills for a digital future, such as digital literacy, education for out-of-school children, youth educational skills training, closing the digital divide, and educating children and youth on online safety. To date, Telenor has reached more than 2.2 million children with online safety education and training, a significant portion of them as part of the UNICEF collaboration.

Long-term partnerships seal long-term commitment to SDG#10

Telenor has committed to United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 10 – Reduced Inequalities. This commitment is reflected in the company’s business strategy and purpose, and it is put into action in its local and global partnerships, including UNICEF and its local chapters.

Telenor Group believes that a more equal world is good both for the people it serves – and for its business – and will aim to realize #SDG10 by helping raise standards in all of its operating markets and by offering services that make real impacts on people’s lives.