UNICEF, Airtel Africa to support children affected by Covid-19


United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and Airtel Africa have announced that they will support children and families affected by Covid-19 in Africa.

This comes as millions of children are affected by school closure due to Covid-19.

Airtel Africa will help provide access to online learning and enable cash transfers for children and their families in sub-Saharan Africa.

The partnership is aimed at providing children with access to remote learning and enable access to cash assistance for their families via mobile cash transfers.

According to a statement released by Airtel and UNICEF, the two organisations 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.

UNICEF deputy executive director Fayaz King said Covid-19 is affecting access to information and education at an unprecedented scale.

“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 closures,” said King.

He also disclosed that the partnership will provide UNICEF with a means to facilitate vital cash assistance to alleviate financial barriers for some of the most vulnerable families across the region.

Airtel Africa Chief Executive Officer Raghunath Handava said some effective ways to cushion families from the effects of this crisis is through providing free internet to selected educational websites to help children keep up with their learning during the school closure.

“We want help children during this time of crisis especially through learning on internet and direct cash transfer programs to reduce physical presence requirements for cash in hand exchanges. Alongside various other Covid-19 related initiatives and support we are providing to Governments, we are glad to this collaboration with UNICEF to support children,” said Handava.

UNICEF and Airtel Africa’s partnership aims to benefit children and families in 23 countries in Sub-saharan which include Chad, Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.