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Thursday, November 30, 2023

UNICEF Announces New Partnership to Support Children & Families affected by COVID-19

UNICEF has announced a new partnership with Airtel Africa aimed at providing children
with access to remote learning and enable access to cash assistance for their families
via mobile cash transfers. Under this partnership, UNICEF and Airtel Africa will use
mobile technology to benefit an estimated 133 million school age children currently
affected by school closures in 13 countries across sub-Saharan Africa during the
COVID-19 pandemic.

The adverse effects of school closures on children’s learning are well documented.
Education experts warn that gains made in increasing access to learning in the
previous decade are at risk of being lost, or even reversed completely. And for poor
households around the world, the pandemic means a reduced or total loss of income
due to the movement restrictions in place. Remote learning, supported by digital tools,
is a core part of UNICEF’s response to ensure continuity of learning for those children
with access to technology at home. Airtel Africa will zero-rate select websites hosting
educational content, which will provide children with remote access to digital content at
no cost.

“COVID-19 is affecting access to information and education at an unprecedented
scale,” said Fayaz King, UNICEF Deputy Executive Director for Field Results and
Innovation. “Worldwide, most children are not in school, which we know can lead to a
number of increased vulnerabilities and setbacks. UNICEF is partnering with Airtel
Africa to deliver better outcomes for children and families affected by widespread

The partnership will also provide UNICEF with a means to facilitate vital cash assistance
to alleviate financial barriers for some of the most vulnerable families across the
region, including many affected by the growing socio-economic hardships resulting
from suspension of income earning activities. This will help ensure families have
additional resources to cope with the ongoing health and economic crisis due to the
COVID-19 pandemic.

“Some effective ways to cushion families from the effects of this crisis is through
providing free Internet access to selected educational websites to help children keep up

with their learning during the school closures and direct cash transfer programmes to
reduce physical presence requirements for cash in hand exchanges,” said Raghunath

Mandava, Airtel Africa Chief Executive Officer. “Alongside various other COVID-19
related initiatives and support that we are providing to Governments and the
community, we are glad to also collaborate with UNICEF to support children.”

The partnership with Airtel Africa supports UNICEF’s Global Agenda for Action for
Children. The plan outlines global actions which private and public sector partners can
take to keep millions of girls and boys – including those who have been uprooted by
conflict, children living with disabilities, and girls at risk of violence – healthy, safe and

UNICEF and Airtel Africa’s partnership aims to benefit children and families in 13
countries in sub-Saharan Africa: Chad, Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo,
Gabon, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and

Natasha Karakire
Natasha Karakirehttps://thebrinknews.com
I'm Natasha, I love reading and writing especially in the fields of empowerment, fashion, and entertainment.

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