Five Operator Groups Recognised for Exceptional Efforts in Supporting Syrian Refugees
Barcelona: At Mobile World Congress today, the GSMA announced that Asiacell, Deutsche Telekom, Turkcell, Vodafone and Zain are the winners of the GSMA’s “Outstanding Contribution to the Mobile Industry Award” for 2017. The joint honorees were recognised for their work in supporting millions of Syrian refugees who have been displaced by the conflict in their home country. The award was presented to the five operators at a special ceremony held last evening.
“On behalf of the GSMA, I congratulate Asiacell, Deutsche Telekom, Turkcell, Vodafone and Zain, and thank them for their inspirational efforts in supporting refugees fleeing the tragic Syrian conflict,” said Sunil Bharti Mittal, Chairman, GSMA and Founder and Chairman, Bharti Enterprises. “In coordination with many international NGOs, relief agencies, partners and suppliers, they have worked tirelessly to provide a diverse array of critical communications initiatives, extending lifelines to millions of people who otherwise would have nowhere to turn for help.”
It is estimated that 11 million Syrians have fled their homes since the civil war began in 2011. UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, estimates that nearly 3 million people fled to Turkey, 1 million to Lebanon, 240,000 to Iraq, 650,000 to Jordan and some 1 million to Germany, with many more displaced across Europe and beyond.
From the countries on Syria’s borders – Turkey, Iraq and Jordan – to further afield in Germany, Greece, Macedonia and Serbia – the five operators have undertaken a range of initiatives to support the Syrian refugees, including:
- The establishment of dedicated call centres providing legal assistance, human rights guidance, community advice and emergency response;
- The deployment of infrastructure, including instant networks, to enable connectivity in the refugee camps in Greece, Iraq, Jordan, Macedonia and Serbia, and the introduction of mobile broadband in some of the larger camps;
- The development of customised apps for services such as education, locating and reuniting families, and text and audio translation services;
- The provision of toll-free services, SIM cards, short codes and devices;
- The creation of online resources for contacts and work to help Syrian refugees settle in their new homes; and
- Start-up and entrepreneurial competitions to develop innovative solutions, such as mobile money services for financial inclusion.
“Humanitarian crises are only increasing in their complexity and consequence, and as a global community, we must come together to address suffering – whether from natural or human cause – and this must be a dedicated and united effort,” continued Mittal. “The collective response of the five organisations recognised today tells a remarkable story of the difference that our industry can make when the world is faced with an overwhelming disaster.”
The most prestigious accolade in the GSMA’s annual Global Mobile (Glomo) Awards, the “Outstanding Contribution to the Mobile Industry Award” recognises outstanding achievement in the mobile industry. The Award honours personal or company contributions, as well as achievements that span entire organisations, over a sustained period of time, or for technology advancements that have helped, and are helping, to shape the mobile sector as we know it today. For more information on the 2017 Glomo Awards, visit: https://www.globalmobileawards.com/.
About the GSMA
The GSMA represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide, uniting nearly 800 operators with almost 300 companies in the broader mobile ecosystem, including handset and device makers, software companies, equipment providers and internet companies, as well as organisations in adjacent industry sectors. The GSMA also produces industry-leading events such as Mobile World Congress, Mobile World Congress Shanghai, Mobile World Congress Americas and the Mobile 360 Series of conferences.
For more information, please visit the GSMA corporate website at www.gsma.com. Follow the GSMA on Twitter: @GSMA.
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