Telenor Pakistan’s initiatives to ensure children’s rights and protection were recognized by the Global Child Forum, a Swedish non-profit headquartered in Stockholm. In its latest ‘Corporate Responses to Protecting Children’s Rights’ report, the non-profit put Telenor at the top of the child protection index, surveying all major Nordic corporations. The report has cited Telenor Group as a best practice example with its work in child online safety and transparent reporting on child labor in Telenor’s supply chain.
Highlights of the report are Telenor Pakistan’s Digital Birth Registration (DBR) project, the school outreach program for child online safety called iChamp, and transparent reporting of child labor in the supply chain. Telenor Pakistan launched the Digital Birth Registration project in collaboration with the UNICEF in 2016 with an aim to give Pakistani children their fundamental right to identity and improve their access to basic amenities, as well as to improve the conventional birth registration process. The program empowers unregistered children with legal documentation which can, among other things, curtail child labor and trafficking. Till date, 580,000 births in Pakistan have been digitally registered under the project.
Telenor Pakistan has taken solid measures to promote digital literacy among children besides educating them on online safety through school outreach program called iChamp. Initiated in 2014 to familiarize and educate underprivileged children from far-flung areas about basic internet to improve their lives, iChamp continued to achieve so much more than was initially anticipated. In 2017, Telenor collaborated with Free Basics by Facebook through which students got free access to an online information portal with 17 websites using Telenor’s data connection. So far, the Telenor iChamp program has reached out to 1800 schools across the country, educating and training over 600,000 students on using mobile technology for learning beyond classrooms.
“I’m really pleased to see Telenor cited as a best practice example in the Global Child Forum report. Especially encouraging is the focus on our work with child online safety and digital birth registration – where we have educated 2,200,000 children to date globally and have digitally registered 580,000 births in Pakistan – as well as our ongoing transparent reporting of child labour in the supply chain. Huge credit goes to my colleagues across the group, from Norway to Myanmar, having worked long-term in these areas and doing so with integrity and passion,” says Mai Oldgard, SVP and Head of Telenor Group Sustainability.
“This is a truly proud moment as our efforts towards educating and protecting children in an increasingly digital society have been recognized by Global Child Forum. This adds to our passion of providing a safer online space to our younger generations and also by providing the basic right to identity. We have been sensitive about everyday challenges faced by the Pakistani masses and as part of our mission of empowering societies, have always worked to find solutions in technology.” said Irfan Wahab Khan, CEO of Telenor Pakistan.
The Global Child Forum brings together thought leaders and influencers from business, civil society, academia and government in order to spur action for social change around children’s rights. In particular, it focuses on the power of business to be a driver of change, and encourages businesses to take approaches in their operations and their communities that best advance children’s rights.