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  • The fifth series of Airtel Touching Lives, the telecom giant’s agship
    corporate social responsibility programme, premiered at the
    weekend with an indication that the current season would tackle
    more far-reaching projects across Nigeria.
    In his keynote at the launch event, which was held at the Eko
    Convention Centre in Lagos, the Chief Executive O’cer of Airtel, Mr
    Segun Ogunsanya said, “With the current Season, we are focused
    on big projects that will impact thousands of Nigerians in large
    communities.”
    The preview of the rst episode of the new season, which played to
    high prole guests, including Vice President Yomi Osinbajo; Lagos
    Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu; the Minister of Telecommunications
    and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim (Pantami); and the Ooni of
    Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, Ojaja II; Airtel Touching Lives
    showed how the telecom colossus confronted the most cumbersome
    issues at the Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camp in Borno.
    Before Airtel’s intervention, the facilities at the camp were stretched
    beyond limit for the inhabitants, whose population crossed the
    30,000 mark in 2018. Camp managers revealed that in January of
    2018 alone, new arrivals exceeded 3,000 as the Boko Haram
    terrorist group displaced more people from villages around Borno.
    These swelling numbers caused the camp to struggle with the
    provision of food, lavatories, shelter, classrooms and teaching aid,
    medicines, antenatal and postnatal kits, trauma therapy, and
    others.
    This rst episode shows the journey the Airtel teams embarked on
    to evaluate the campsite and its residents. The result of their
    evaluation is a commitment by the network to provide, among other
    supplies, toilet facilities, drugs, electricity generators, fans, school
    desks and books, and school bags for the 3,732 children on the
    camp.
    Ogunsanya noted that Airtel Touching Lives must continue because
    it represents a core value of the organisation. “Airtel Touching
    Lives,” he stated, “is premised on the philosophy that if the strong
    continues to support the weak, society will excel and triumph at a
    quicker pace”, adding that “business is not only about returns on
    investments; business is about purpose and meaning.”
    Airtel Touching Lives takes the format of a reality television show,
    allowing the public to nominate causes, communities and
  • underprivileged person or people with special needs. Airtel
    thereafter evaluates and selects the causes to support and the
    rehabilitation project are lmed and broadcast on terrestrial and
    satellite television stations. By lming the projects, Airtel aims to
    inspire other corporate organisations as well as well-meaning
    individuals to join in supporting the less advantaged across society.
    Since the rst season of Airtel Touching Lives began airing on
    television and the Internet in 2015, the multinational telecom
    operator has catalogued comprehensive interventional projects for
    individuals, families, and institutions in the six geo-political zones of
    Nigeria.
    Some of the highlights of the series include the provision of
    overseas cancer treatments for an eight-year-old girl, the
    rehabilitation and award of scholarship to an orphan boy rescued
    from the streets of Lagos, the acquisition of prosthetic limbs for a
    Nigerian survivor of the Liberian civil war, provision of a borehole
    system for a remote community, and the refurbishment of a library
    for blind people.
    The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali
    Ibrahim (Pantami), said he was moved by the grand gesture and
    commitment of Airtel to maintain such a vast budget on an altruistic
    project, despite not being compelled by law. He described Airtel as a
    model corporate citizen and, having been inspired by the
    corporation, he promised to invest his salary for the day to buy
    Airtel top-up for others.
    In his remarks, the Governor of Lagos State, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu
    said the grand programmes of Airtel fall within the reasons
    politicians are voted into o’ce.
    “Airtel is a partner in progress,” Sanwo-Olu said. “Thanks to Airtel
    for going out of their normal realm to truly touch lives.”
    For a mega city like Lagos, a historic budget of N1.1trillion (about $3
    billion), which was what the Lagos government passed for 2020,
    indicates a governmental commitment to progress but, compared to
    the budgets of similar sized states around the world, more would be
    required to do more. So, “it is heart-warming that Airtel is helping,”
    Sanwo-Olu noted.
    Vice President Osinbajo observed that a large country such as
    Nigeria, with diverse needs and challenges, would require partners
    like Airtel to make an impact in the life of every citizen.
    “I am particularly pleased with Airtel for not just leading a
    conversation around philanthropy and giving but by also
  • demonstrating through the Touching Lives platform, which is in its
    fth season, that it is committed to solving some of the problems
    plaguing us as a country,” he said.

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