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United Nations Foundation invests in a Vodafone Foundation mHealth initiative in Tanzania

06 Mar 2012Vodafone Foundation

United Nations Foundation invests in a Vodafone Foundation initiative in Tanzania which will improve the lives of tens of thousands of women living with a debilitating maternal health condition.

Every year in Tanzania up to 3,000 women develop obstetric fistula, a condition incurred during prolonged, obstructed labour which leads to incontinence. Up to 24,000 women in Tanzania go untreated - they are either not aware that a straightforward cure exists, or they cannot afford the cost of travel to the hospital for treatment. Women living with this condition are often entirely ostracised from their communities.

Comprehensive Community Based Rehabilitation in Tanzania (CCBRT), a locally registered NGO, uses Vodafone M-Pesa, a mobile money transfer system, to provide women with money for travel, allowing them access to free treatment for obstetric fistula.

The Vodafone Foundation identified the work of CCBRT as part of its ‘Mobile for Good’ programme which supports initiatives using mobile technology to drive positive social change.Money raised will help CCBRT treat 31,000 women by 2016 by:

- expanding and refurbishing the existing treatment facilities;

- building a brand new dedicated maternity hospital in Dar es Salaam; and

- embarking upon an extensive awareness and education programme.

The UN Foundation has donated $250,000 towards the programme. “Using mobile technology, Vodafone is making it easier for women to get the treatment they need and CCBRT is making a difference in the lives of women suffering from fistula and helping reach the UN Population Fund goal of ending fistula,” said Kathy Calvin, CEO, UN Foundation. The UN Foundation and Vodafone Foundation continue to collaborate via the mHealth Alliance which is hosted by the UN Foundation and champions the use of mobile technologies to improve health throughout the world.

Andrew Dunnett, director of the Vodafone Foundation said, “Mobile technology plays a vital role in the social and economic development of the world’s emerging markets. It is also able to address some of the world’s most pressing humanitarian challenges. The Vodafone Foundation is committed to using mobile for social change and to transform people’s lives.”

Erwin Telemans, chief executive officer of CCBRT said, “Vodafone’s pledge of support will prove to be a significant milestone in CCBRT’s evolution. We are thrilled by the progress against the fundraising target, and are very grateful for the contribution from the UN Foundation. The coming years will see a change for women in Tanzania - we are on the road to making obstetric fistula here a thing of the past.


Notes to Editors

For more information on the work of the CCBRT visit http://www.vodafone.com/content/index/about/foundation/mobiles_for_good/ccbrt.html

 About Vodafone
Vodafone is one of the world's largest mobile communications companies by revenue with approximately 398 million customers in its controlled and jointly controlled markets as at 31 December 2011. Vodafone currently has equity interests in over 30 countries across five continents and more than 40 partner networks worldwide. For more information, please visit www.vodafone.com

About Vodafone Foundation
The Vodafone Foundation and its unique network of 26 in country foundations invest in the communities in which Vodafone operates.  The Foundations believe that mobile communications technologies can address some of the world’s most pressing humanitarian challenges and our responsibility is to utilise our giving and our innovative mobile technology in mobilising social change and in improving people’s lives.

About the UN Foundation
The United Nations Foundation builds public-private partnerships to address the world’s most pressing problems, and broadens support for the United Nations through advocacy and public outreach. Through innovative campaigns and initiatives, the Foundation connects people, ideas, and resources to help the UN solve global problems. The Foundation was created in 1998 as a U.S. public charity by entrepreneur and philanthropist Ted Turner and now is supported by global corporations, foundations, governments, and individuals. For more information, visit www.unfoundation.org.

About the mHealth Alliance
The mHealth Alliance champions the use of mobile technologies to improve health throughout the world. Working with diverse partners to integrate mHealth into multiple sectors, the Alliance serves as a convener for the mHealth community to overcome common challenges by sharing tools, knowledge, experience, and lessons learned. The mHealth Alliance advocates for more and better quality research and evaluation to advance the evidence base;  seeks to build capacity among health and industry decision-makers, managers, and practitioners; promotes sustainable business models; and supports systems integration by advocating for standardization and interoperability of mHealth platforms.  The mHealth Alliance also hosts HUB (Health Unbound) , a global online community for resource sharing and collaborative solution generation. Hosted by the United Nations Foundation, and founded by the Rockefeller Foundation, Vodafone Foundation, and UN Foundation, the Alliance now also includes HP, the GSM Association, and Norad among its founding partners. For more information, visit http://www.mhealthalliance.org.

For further information       

Vodafone Group Media Relations

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+44 (0) 1635 664444