By Amadou Jadama
GSM giants Africell yesterday formally launched its Impact Foundation at the National Museum where the foundation’s work starts with a total overhauling of the building, housing the country’s treasure of history in arts, culture and other heritage.
The occasion was graced by First Lady Fatoumatta Bah-Barrow and attracted senior government ministers including Hamat Bah, the Minister of Tourism and Foreign Minister Mamadou Tangara among others. The Group CEO of Africell Ziad Dalloul also attended with colleagues from the London headquarters alongside country CEO Hussein Diab Ghanem and Hassoum Ceesay, director of the museum.
Introducing the Africell Impact Foundation, Ambassador Peter Pham from the Group head office said the initiative is a special moment and something they have been contemplating for a long time. He added that the foundation opens an exciting new chapter for Africell’s work in The Gambia.
“Social impact is in Africell’s DNA because we see no contradiction between commercial success and empowering local communities. The telecoms sector has unique potential to bring people together for good and for us, success is judged by the positive impact we have on the communities we serve, including in Gambia,” he said
He said under the oversight of the Africell Impact Foundation, Africell will continue to invest in social initiatives and projects across the Gambia. “We will use our expertise as a digital technology company to make an impact in four priority areas: education and entrepreneurship; arts, culture and heritage; health, sports and wellbeing; and emergency relief and environment action,” he said. He added that Africell will continue to support education and enterprise by digitising critical tools and resources as they have done with Geek Express, for example; a programme giving schoolchildren valuable exposure to cutting-edge technologies.
Arts, culture and heritage, he said, is the second impact area. “These are important because, among other things, they bind communities together and the Africell Impact Foundation gives a digital and physical platform to arts, culture and heritage in Gambia. Programmes such as our partnership with the National Museum of The Gambia will help tell more stories which celebrate the energy, dynamism and creativity of this country,” Pham said.
“We are also focused on health, sports and wellbeing. The Africell Impact Foundation will promote active lifestyles, give people access to better information, and push talented athletes to realise their potential. Africell was proud to partner with the Gambia Football Federation during the Scorpions’ fairytale journey to Cameroon, and we want to help turn their inspiring achievements into a long-term legacy,” he added.
He further disclosed that the creation of the Africell Impact Foundation is an acceleration, not a change of course and “bringing our cultural and community work into a streamlined structure, we will maximise its impact and reach more people and I want to thank everyone at Africell Gambia for all their hard work and commitment to this vision so far.”