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Vodacom Foundation

The Vodacom Foundation is the Corporate Social Investment (CSI) arm of Vodacom South Africa.

The Foundation utilises a portion of Vodacom South Africa’s profit to empower society, using its core capabilities in technological innovations.

Launched in 1999, the Vodacom Foundation (the Foundation), has been contributing to societal development by promoting education, health as well as safety and security initiatives. To drive sustainable development in South Africa, the Foundation has partnered with reputable organisations to grant over R1 billion towards various programmes that have transformed ordinary people’s lives.

Vodacom believes that digital technologies can address some of the country’s most pressing humanitarian challenges and our responsibility is to utilise our technological resources and prowess to mobilise social change to improve people’s lives today, build a better tomorrow and enable sustained positive social outcomes.

Evolution of Vodacom Foundation

The Foundation has evolved from being a charitable entity to being a developmental and strategic entity that drives socio-economic transformation. The Foundation is also taking lead providing ICT support in Corporate Social Investment (CSI) provisioning to communities, schools, government, and organisations.

We utilize our innovative mobile technology to enable social change largely focusing on Education and Gender Empowerment.

Guided by the National Development Plan and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Foundation is positioning Vodacom as a purpose led organisation that supports government socio-economic transformation programs.

Our positive evolution is evident in the consecutive three-year rating as the top CSI Company voted by other corporates.

Vodacom Programme Strategic Objectives

The Foundation leverages from the organisation’s existing technological innovations to provide digital solutions that address societal challenges.

The activities fall within the Purpose-led “Inclusion for all” pillar, ensuring we continue “Connecting for Good”.

In addition, the COVID-19 global pandemic has proven the need for programmes to be aligned to ICT and this has enabled the Foundation to realise the meaningful transformation.

Our focus areas define the Foundation’s strategic intent to bridge digital divide in communities.

The Foundation's Education Ecosystem

In 2019, the Foundation commissioned a comprehensive end-to-end model of support and corporate social investment, which covers every stage of educational development of learners from early childhood to matric as well as throughout tertiary education, skills development for youth, entrepreneurship and employment. The defining features of this model focus on leveraging technological innovations, partnerships with government and civil society, as well as community support and they align with the Foundation's strategic intent of bridging digital divides within communities.

The ecosystem embraces a comprehensive approach to education to focus on the entire education ecosystem from Early Childhood Development Centres, Schools of Excellence and Teacher Centres ensuring end-to-end support to beneficiaries of these structures.

Vodacom Mobile Programme

Vodacom e-school

Vodacom e-school provides free access to quality relevant digital educational content, which is Curriculum and Policy Statement (CAPS) aligned. During COVID-19, it became evident that online learning was playing a key role in ensuring ongoing learning outside the classroom, with the e-School portal reaching over 1.1 million registered on the platform.

3000 Schools

Vodacom has equipped 3000 schools across South Africa with ICT support. The following equipment is provided to the schools at an average cost of R350  000.

  • 30 Laptops with trolley
  • Interactive whiteboard
  • Data projector and printer

The Bursary Programme

The bursary programme provides bursaries to top-achieving learners from disadvantages communities to study mainly in the ICT, sciences, technology, management sciences and engineering sectors.

The purpose of the programme is to improve capacity in these key scarce areas where the graduated bursars stand a chance to feed into the talent pipeline of various businesses through direct hire opportunities, internships or graduate programmes.

Since inception in 1999, Vodacom has awarded 1200 bursaries to deserving students.

Gender Empowerment

Gender Based-violence programme

The scourge of gender-based violence (GBV) is pervasive in South Africa. According to Stats SA the number of women experiencing violence is five times higher than the global statistics. Vodacom’s approach to GBV focusses on prevention, response and victim empowerment.

Prevention and Response

In March 2014, Vodacom and the Department of Social Development (DSD) collaborated to launch the Gender-Based Violence Command Centre, with Vodacom contributing R4 million for the creation of the call centre that is managed by trained government-employed social workers.

In December 2016, a Skype capability was launched at the call centre to give access to the victims of gender-based violence from the deaf community.

The call centre serves as both a mechanism for prevention in the case where victims and perpetrators are seeking counselling. It also serves as a response mechanism where the police can be dispatched if the life of the caller is in danger, as our technology enables the social worker to geo-locate the caller and alert the police. Fighting GBV requires a coordinated approach and partnership between government, civil society and business.

In 2020, during the COVID-19 national lockdown, there was an alarming increase in intimate domestic violence. Even though the Command Centre receives a variety of calls ranging from depression to social grants and food parcels, the GBV related calls increased phenomenally in comparison to the calls received before the lockdown. To deal with the increase in reported incidents, the DSD increased the number of social workers from 48 to 58.

As part of the prevention strategy, the Foundation launched the #Bethelight campaign focusing on behavior change and including men in the responses and interventions.

More than 1 000 employees have attended our GBV Learning sessions – informal sessions that, with the assistance of gender experts, assists employees to understand drivers of GBV and how we can change the behaviour.

Victim Empowerment

The victim empowerment programme trains survivors of violence in relevant ICT skills. In partnership with the DSD, Vodacom has trained 1 300 survivors of violence in shelters across the country.

ICT in Agriculture

Agriculture is a knowledge-intensive field, with new technologies emerging every day, from drones and sensor technology to climate-smart agriculture, which all improve productivity. Women need to be empowered through technology if they want to start competing in this commercial space and that is exactly what the Foundation’s ICT in Agriculture programme is addressing.

Implemented in partnership with UN Women and South African Women in Farming (SAWIF), the programme introduces women farmers to technology enabling them to communicate with one another, access information about the farming value chain, financial solutions and potential buyers.

The programme has two phases – appropriate digital literacy training for the female farmers and introduction of the Connected Farmer App. Since launching in 2018 with a Vodacom investment of R6.3 million, the programme has had more than 1 300 female farmers trained on digital literacy. Using the Connected Farmer app, 11 fieldworkers were trained, enabling them to register and accurately profile the women farms.

Youth Development Programme

Launched in 2017, the programme recruits young unemployed graduates to volunteer for a year. The volunteers are recruited from the Vodacom Youth Academy programme and placed at Vodacom supported Non Profit Organisations (NPOs), Schools of Excellence, and Teacher Centres. The purpose of the placements is to transfer ICT skills to NPOs, educators and learners, to increase the digital literacy among these stakeholders and the school population.

Virtual Volunteering

More than 2 300 employees are registered on the Connect for Good platform, which manages all volunteering elements for various large corporates including Vodacom. In July 2020 after a volunteering Fireside chat with the Group CEO, there were 387 new registrations, the highest number across all the corporates using the platform.

There are 21 verified NPOs registered on the platform giving employees the opportunity to choose how they could lend a hand either through giving of their time and skills and or financially.

In April 2020, we launched a virtual volunteering programme which has since seen 159 employees assisting NPOs and ECDs with various skills ranging from digital to business and financial. Fourty employees are tutoring 40 Grade 11 and 12 learners in Maths, Science and other subjects with the Foundation providing data for the learners.

Payroll Giving

Launched in 2010, the initiative is a donations mechanism for employees to give any amount of their choice deducted from their salary monthly and paid directly to their chosen charity. The Foundation matches contributions with 50c for every R1. Since 2016, employees have contributed more than R400 000 every year.

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