Skip Navigation LinksZain partners with Vodafone Foundation to alleviate the plight of 70,000 refugees in Zain South Sudan

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17/07/2013

 Zain partners with Vodafone Foundation to alleviate the plight of 70,000 refugees in Zain South Sudan

Kuwait, South Sudan: ​Zain Group, a pioneer in mobile telecommunications in eight markets across the Middle East and North Africa, in partnership with the Vodafone Foundation Instant Network, today announces the extension of mobile telecommunications coverage to the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) refugee camp at Yida, Unity State, South Sudan supporting aid workers efforts to undertake life-saving work.

Zain is the leading mobile operator in South Sudan offering 3G voice and data services. Yida refugee camp is an overcrowded temporary settlement that lacks even the most basic infrastructure and the establishment of mobile communications services there will go some way to easing the plight of more than 70,000 Sudanese refugees.

The connectivity will enhance better coordination of food and medical supplies amongst other critical communications tasks undertaken by UNHCR. It will also allow refugees to contact their loved ones for free and provide thousands of children living in refugee camps with access to life-changing educational programs which cannot be delivered through any other means.

Zain Group CEO, Scott Gegenheimer commented: "Zain is committed to supporting the communities we serve making vital telecommunications accessible to all. In situations such as those found in South Sudan, we are obliged to act and help improve the quality of life for those people in need."

Furthermore, Gegenheimer said, "Our commitment to the development of the telecommunications sector in South Sudan is absolute, and we look forward to playing a significant role in the country's economic and social prosperity."

As part of its partnership with the Vodafone Foundation Instant Network, Zain South Sudan has agreed to provide access to its core network, and will provide two network engineers to support the deployment and maintenance of the instant network in Yida. Zain South Sudan has also made available a pool of free airtime (voice, SMS, data and GSM mobile phones) for UNHCR, refugees and other vulnerable populations living in Yida.

Wassim Mansour, CEO of Zain South Sudan, who is tasked with supporting the deployment and maintenance of the communications network stated, "Through our cooperation with the Vodafone Foundation Instant Network in providing connectivity, we are delighted and fully committed to support the UNHCR's life saving efforts to bring relief and enhance the living conditions of the refugees in the Yida camp."

Last year Zain Group entered a Partner Market Agreement with Vodafone Group under which the two companies agreed on a number of areas of non-equity based cooperation. This pre-existing arrangement made it straightforward for Zain to extend its cooperation to the Vodafone Foundation Instant Network.

The Vodafone Foundation Instant Network is an initiative by which rapid mobile coverage and service can be extended to a region in the case of emergency, offering easy transportation, rapid activation, and smart connectivity. The ultraportable solution weighs 100 kilograms and can be transported on commercial flights in just four suitcases of less than 32 kilograms each. It can be activated in just 40 minutes, and the standalone network established can support free local voice and SMS, as well as remote connectivity (GSM radio through satellite backhaul to a core network).

Vodafone Group Sustainability Director and Director of the Vodafone Foundation Andrew Dunnett, said: "Providing mobile technology in refugee camps will enable aid agencies to operate more effectively and will allow vulnerable people to contact their loved ones. It is also our intention to use Vodafone's technology to provide many thousands of children living in refugee camps far from home with access to educational programmes which cannot be delivered through any other means."

The elements and activities being provided by Zain South Sudan compliment Vodafone Foundation Instant Network's loan of an instant network unit for a minimum duration of six months, and the provision of satellite backhaul to connect to Zain South Sudan's network. Vodafone is also training the two Zain engineers on installing and managing the instant network, while coordinating services provided to UNHCR and free calling booths for refugees.​

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