We believe that the true value of a business lies in how it creates economic, environmental and social value. We incorporate our core competencies to engage with communities where we live and work. Through this engagement we seek to deepen personal links, enhance the quality of life and create opportunities for a better future for all people in Qatar.
Our social investments focus on three key areas:
We are proud of the many social investment initiatives which have benefited a wide segment of society since Vodafone Qatar started operations in 2009. Highlights for 2019 include:
AmanTECH, Vodafone Qatar’s award winning online safety programme provides children, parents and teachers with the tools they need to safely navigate the digital world. As we move to a 100% connected society, the need for training in online safety has never been greater. We are committed to educating young people and others on the online risks to ensure that the internet and social media can continue to play a positive role in society.
This year, in partnership with the Qatari Ministry of Transport and Communications and the Ministry of Education and Higher Education, we conducted online safety workshops at 10 primary schools. This brings the total number of schools who have run online safety workshops in partnership with Vodafone since 2017 to 40 that have benefited close to 50,000 students. At the end of each workshop, pupils complete an electronic survey on their use of technology, games, videos and social media. These exit surveys have produced valuable insights on children’s online behaviour which informs AmanTECH’s focus into the future such as children spending up to 8 hours online.
Our work through AmanTECH has already connected us with thousands of children, parents and members of the educational community. There is still more work to be done to raise awareness about online safety with this audience. Our research shows a number of gaps. Communication between parents and children is often limited to parents trying to get children off screens rather than parents working to understanding what types of media their children are consuming. A wider conversation is needed about screen use, online content and some of the risks involved for children. Greater awareness of the risks presented by online environments and social media would make children more likely to talk to parents when issues arise. At present, for example, only 39% of surveyed children say they would tell an adult about seeing upsetting content online. We believe that our education programs can improve awareness and action on online safety in Qatar.
With this research in mind, we looked to further engage the public and speak to our digitally connected youth in a way that appeals to them. To begin with, we digitised the curriculum presented in schools. The digital curriculum was then turned into an Augmented Reality (AR) game creating an AmanTECH Online Safety Challenge (AOSC) to help children learn how to protect their personal information on the internet, identify fake messages and manage cyberbullying. We took the AOSC AR game to seven different public parks across the country in February and March as part of the "Fun Days with Qatar e-Nature" series of family entertainment activities, further expanding the reach of our education programme.
Next, during the summer holidays when children spend a significant amount of time online, we invited all employees in the Qatar Science and Technology Park to learn how to setup parental safety settings and manage their child’s online activity. The sessions included instructions on managing parental controls on YouTube, YouTube Kids, Snap Chat Map and other platforms.
In October and November, we took AmanTECH to the Digital Youth Festival, Tumuha Tec, on the side-lines of QITCOM 2019, the largest information and communications showcase in Qatar. The event was a fantastic opportunity to interact with the community and the thousands of school children who attended the event.
We ended the year by launching the AmanTECH Online Safety Challenge application on the new Vodafone AmanTECH app. The digital app provides an easy way to educate children about online safety from anywhere in any mobile device. The app can be downloaded for free on tablets or smartphones from the Apple Store and Google Play. The launch was supported by an online campaign encouraging parents to learn more about online safety and the resources provided by AmanTECH to help them teach their children.
The Better Connections Programme began in 2017 in collaboration with the Ministry of Transport and Communications and has become an essential part of the support system for around 2 million migrant workers in the country. Through this programme, we provide internet connectivity services and hardware devices in 1,500 labs across Qatar, supporting the migrant worker community’s digital needs & education on a daily basis.
The "Vodafone for All" project is a product of the company’s belief in their responsibility to provide connectivity to all residents and to overcome accessibility challenges.
“Vodafone for all” provides people with disabilities and retired citizens with a 50% discount on Vodafone plans and a 10% discount on selected handsets. This year, we worked with Sasol’s Accessible Qatar initiative to conduct detailed accessibility audits on all our retail outlets. Accessibility experts confirmed a high-level of accessibility at our stores and made a number of recommendations for how this can be further enhanced. We are in the process of responding to these recommendations.
We are also proud that all of our flagship stores are staffed with retail advisors able to communicate using sign language. The Qatar Society for Rehabilitation of Special Needs delivered sign language training over a 10-day period that taught the foundations of sign language in addition to customer service skills and telecoms-related signs to Vodafone employees.
“Red Easy Donations” is a monthly recurring charitable donation service for Postpaid customers. Customers are able to select a monthly donation amount between QR 100 and QR 300 to go to one or both of the participating charity organizations, Qatar Charity and Qatar Red Crescent. The selected charity receives one hundred percent of the donated amount. No additional fees are applied to either the customer or the charity organisation. In 2019, the Red Easy Donation program helped to raise over QR 300,000.
Vodafone’s Shukran campaign - “thank you” in Arabic - spreads positivity throughout the holy month of Ramadan. Shukran encourages the community to appreciate everything and everyone in their lives. As part of this project, this year we partnered with Talabat to automatically donate an Iftar meal on behalf of customers who placed an order on Talabat during the month of Ramadan. This resulted in the donation of 14,000 Iftar meals that benefited Qatar Charity’s “Feed the Fasting” programme. In addition for the second year in a row, we worked with - the Hifz Al Naema Social Centre to distribute Ramadan food baskets to more than 200 families in need.
In partnership with Qatar Charity, we renovated a house for a low-income family as part of Qatar Charity’s ‘Tarmeem project’. The Tarmeem project works to restore homes for families in need across Qatar. The home renovation took just 7 days to complete with help from Vodafone Qatar employees and an assigned contracting company. We also installed GigaHome Wi-Fi in the home occupied by 7 family members giving them a free subscription to our home internet solution.
Students from Al Noor Center, an Institution for the visually impaired needed digital tools to help conduct their research. We provided them with smartphones containing new features that ease the use of smartphones for the visually impaired.
To support Qatari youth, we sponsored the Qatar CSR Report & Exhibition organised by Qatar University. The conference helps raise awareness about the importance of giving back and the responsibility we all share towards community.
We made a special contribution to Sidra Hospital’s child care unit – In order to enhance the children’s stay and rehabilitation at the hospital, Vodafone donated new electric cars. While in the care of the hospital, the child patients will drive themselves from their rooms to the surgery room. This gift has already enhanced many children’s hospital experience.
We ended the year by showing our support for the second year in a row to the 20th International Al Bawasil Diabetes Camp. The camp annually hosts around 100 children with diabetes from Qatar and MENA region. We provided all the telecommunication requirements for the camp.
This year we made a commitment to kick-start environmental protection initiatives within our own company. We started by creating a more sustainable office, introducing recycling bins in our HQ and retail stores alongside an internal communications campaign to raise awareness about what steps employees can take to be more environmentally friendly. To encourage these healthy habits, we distributed reusable glass bottles to all our employees to cut down the number of plastic water bottles being consumed.
Across all Vodafone business units there is a conscious effort to reduce plastic use. This year we launched an environmental friendly SIM card made from 100% recyclable material. We also reduced the number of paper recharge cards that we were selling in the market from 35 different cards to only 8 cards. This has significantly simplified the customer experience and reduced the amount of paper that was needed to produce these cards.