Telecoms Set Aside Competition To Collaborate Against Ebola


African telecoms have put competition aside and joined together to help fight the deadly Ebola virus that has plagued the West Africa region, by partnering the African Union (AU) Commission to help in raising funds.

Safaricom, Airtel Kenya and Orange Kenya yesterday morning announced the new collaboration that will see the three telecoms work in tandem with other telecoms across Africa, to gather resources in order to support Ebola affected areas including Mali, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea.

The collaboration will be done through a newly introduced initiative dubbed Africa United Against Ebola, which will include an SMS dedicated platform through which citizens can send their donations in their respective countries on any network.

How To Donate Through The Campaign

The SMS platform campaign will raise funds through a short code 7979, where citizens will be required to send a text message with the words “Stop Ebola”.

Each SMS sent will cost the user KSh 20, and one can contribute as much as they want by sending the same message over and over.

The short code will be used across all networks, with telcos in 41 countries across Africa participating in the fund-raising campaign, including Airtel Africa, Safaricom, Orange, Vodacom, MTN and Millicom.

This campaign spread across Africa is expected to last three months and will close in the end of February next year.

With more people across Africa reported to have access to a mobile phone network than they do electricity, piped water, or health clinics, the new campaign seeks to use mobile technology  to help fight the disease out of the continent.

“Technology is a powerful tool towards transforming a society and especially mobile technology. We chose the use of SMS because Mobile is transparent and more reliable,” said Joseph Ogutu, Director of Innovation at Safaricom.

Ogutu added that with other fund-raising campaigns done through mobile having been successful such as the Kenyans for Kenya campaign that raised about KSh150 million to help people affected by drought, this initiative is expected to attract huge success as well.

The three-month initiative is expected to draw funds from a potential 300 million subscribers from the new collaboration of telcos.

In addition, Airtel Africa has provided the government through the ministry of Health with a free SMS platform and free internet to help the country coordinate and distribute information from affected areas to interested parties in the country.



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