Women’s empowerment, youth entrepreneurship, and caring for those in need are the focal areas of Ooredoo’s corporate social responsibility programmes
Ooredoo is a community-focused company, guided by a vision of using its services to enrich people’s digital lives and stimulate human growth. The company believes in the power of telecommunications as an enabler, to bring about social and economic progress. “Human growth is what inspires and drives us forward, reminding us of what we have set out to achieve and live up to,” says Raed Dawood, director of government relations and corporate affairs at Ooredoo. “It has many facets, social economic and spiritual and we focus on women’s empowerment, youth entrepreneurship, and caring for those in need within our communities.”
Through its corporate social responsibility (CSR) programmes, Ooredoo aims to provide support and development countrywide. “We are also fortunate to work in collaboration with a variety of charitable associations and government organisations to achieve our shared goals,” adds Raed. “While some of our activities and projects have a short or medium term benefit, our focus is always on viability and sustainability.”
The cornerstone of Ooredoo’s CSR programme is its annual Goodwill Journey. From the first journey over a decade ago, this initiative has enjoyed many landmark achievements, enriching the lives of 140,000 individuals and families. Every year since 2004, a group of Ooredoo volunteers travel across the country, setting up and equipping carefully researched and selected projects, in collaboration with local charitable associations and organisations. The Goodwill Journey is partly one of compassion and giving, providing much needed donations to those in need. This year the convoy travelled to Salalah to provide essential assistance to those affected by cyclone Mekunu. A last minute change to the plans, the relief efforts really brought home the meaning of sharing the special spirit of Ramadan.
Building on the success of previous journeys and implementing lessons learnt, the Goodwill Journey lays the foundations for sustainable initiatives, long-term educational projects and training programmes focused on boosting educational and entrepreneurship opportunities.
One example of this is the highly successful Ooredoo Women’s Incubator Programme. Starting in 2015, the company set up a series of women incubators to train women with income generating vocational skills to help them gain economic independence through employment or by setting up their own business. By the end of 2018, 13 incubators had been set up across Oman from which over 3,200 women graduated in areas such as information technology, beauty, cooking and sewing. Today, follow-ups show that over 200 SoHos from these graduates have gone on to start their own businesses (an impressive 20 per cent of the total number trained), joining Oman’s burgeoning small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) sector.
Springboard, Spring Forward programmes
In addition, the successful Springboard programme, run in collaboration with the British Council, provides women with key business skills and self-development tools, which build knowledge and confidence. The programme enables women to achieve more in all aspects of their professional and personal lives. Through this programme, Ooredoo is creating a lasting impact on future generations as well as enabling women to actively build the economic future of Oman.
Ooredoo also recently announced the launch of Spring Forward, open to both men and women in both the private and public sectors. Enabling budding business owners to prosper from the internet by focussing on digital entrepreneurship, Ooredoo’s commitment is to contribute to the growth and development of Oman’s economy by nurturing the country’s talent and supporting digital business.
“The company understands that there are over 23,000 already registered SMEs in Oman, which create nearly half the jobs in the country, contributing to national income and revenues. With this in mind it has focused its efforts on unlocking the full potential of SMEs through digital entrepreneurship,” explains Raed. Dynamic innovation needs strong technological support, reliable connectivity, and trusted partners for sustainable growth, now and into the future. Ooredoo’s experience as a digital enabler allows it to better serve the evolving needs of future leaders as well as established businesses and individuals.
“At Ooredoo, CSR is not just a strapline we attach to a community programme or an initiative. It is a bold and loud statement of who we are and what we stand for as a company. It is how we create shared value for the communities we serve and how we make a difference today and tomorrow,” concludes Raed.