STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN 23 August 2016 – Millicom, the emerging market telecommunications and media company operating under the brand name Tigo, published its 2015 Impact Report showing its Tigo Digital Changemakers Award has to date enabled 131 African social entrepreneurs to address and solve social challenges in their countries using digital innovation.
The 2015 Impact Report shows that a total of 131 social entrepreneurs were supported through the Tigo Digital Changemakers Award and its Accelerator and Incubator Programs provided in partnership with non-profit foundation, Reach for Change. Millicom and Reach for Change held five social innovation competitions throughout 2015 that attracted over 1,300 applicants across Africa.
The Tigo Digital Changemakers Award seeks and selects exceptional social entrepreneurs who use digital technologies to positively impact their communities and specifically the lives of children.
Successful applicants receive Accelerator support to help them refine and test their digital solutions, and prepare them to pitch their social innovation. After completion of the Accelerator program, the very best social entrepreneurs are selected to receive a grant from the local Tigo operation (usually around $20,000) and a space in Reach for Change’s Incubator program. Through this platform the winning Changemakers receive business, communications and financial training, mentorship, collaboration with Tigo experts and access to a network of global social entrepreneurs, potential investors, media partners and more.
As a result of the support provided to the promising African social entrepreneurs, more than 146,800 children have benefitted from various projects in Senegal, Ghana, Chad, Rwanda and Tanzania.
Cynthia Gordon, CEO Africa at Millicom said: “Through the Tigo Digital Changemakers Award we have been able to connect with and support outstanding local social entrepreneurs, and I am very impressed with the positive impact that their initiatives have had on thousands of lives so far. We at Millicom believe technology can be used to change people’s lives for the better. We are committed to offering our digital expertise to support Africa’s brightest entrepreneurs in bringing about this change.”
Reach for Change’s Africa Regional Director Amma Lartey explained that organizations like Millicom, which support social entrepreneurship, are instrumental in ensuring their long-term sustainable development. “Our partnership with Millicom enables us to use digital technology as a key driver of social change,” said Lartey, adding, “Our Accelerator and Incubator programs have grown financially sustainable social enterprises across the continent. This would not have been possible without Millicom’s support and belief in the power of social entrepreneurship as a driver of change.”
The Tigo Digital Changemakers Award tackles a wide variety of issues affecting communities and children. In Rwanda, six young men and women, who have been awarded through this programme, have made a positive difference to young beneficiaries: Louis Ngabonziza is one of these Changemakers.
Demonstration Center for the Deaf, Nyabihu District, Western Province
In March, Tigo Digital Changemaker Louis Ngabonziza launched a social enterprise programme designed to help children with hearing impairment to realise their full potential through digital technologies and ICT named ‘Empowering Children with Disabilities (ECD) in Nyabihu District, Western Province.
Louis, an educator who has been working with deaf children and youth in Rwanda for the past 20 years, was one of the winners of the 2015 Tigo Digital Changemakers competition. His winning proposal was to use digital technologies to provide hearing impaired children with the skills they need to find employment and to be competitive in an increasingly digital job market.
Today, the project provides the students with a comprehensive ICT course that include basic word processing skills, internet research, social media and computer maintenance. Louis’ goal is to get his young students into the local school system as young as possible armed with useful communication skills, including sign language as well as computer and information technology courses.