Vodafone at the  76th session of the UN General Assembly

Inclusion for all

Working together for a more inclusive world

At Vodafone, we believe that by working together we can improve lives.  So this year, we are supporting the UN General Assembly and exploring solutions to the barriers to inclusion that people face all over the world.

What is the UN General Assembly?

What is the UN General Assembly?

The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) is the main policy-making forum of the organisation.

It provides a unique opportunity for the 193 member states to discuss issues that require global action – including climate change, poverty and armed conflict.

Vodafone at UNGA 76

Vodafone at UNGA 76

We were delighted to support the UN General Assembly by focusing on three important topics:

The diversity problem in technology  Working together to #ChangeTheFace of the tech industry

The global mobile internet access gap Urging action to make the internet accessible for all by 2030.

Racial inequality in philanthropy Researching how global racial injustice is stilting progress for charities in Africa

What if everyone had the opportunity to participate in a digital society?

Digital societies are advancing rapidly, with mobile now accounting for

This is giving billions of people access to jobs, public services and financial services online.


of internet connections in low- and middle-income countries.

But there is still a long way to go.

3.4 billion people – nearly half the world’s population – live within range of mobile networks but still cannot access the internet.

And nearly 2.5 billion people live in countries where the cheapest smartphone costs a quarter or more of the average monthly income.

The pandemic has made smartphone access even more important. Demand for digital education has increased, and the digitisation of public and financial services has accelerated.

To make a change, we need to make universal internet access the next great global development goal.

That's why Vodafone Group and the Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development have launched the first multi-stakeholder initiative to address the global mobile internet access gap.

Together, we are urging action to make the internet accessible to all by


Vodafone is honoured to be part of this monumental global initiative with the UN, to improve the lives of billions of people through smartphone access. As our societies become more digital, everyone should have the ability to find jobs, be able to get public services, financial services and critical information that are increasingly only available through the internet. 

Nick Read CEO of Vodafone Group

This is such a complex challenge that no network operator, device manufacturer, financial services provider or national government can solve on their own – but working together we can break through the barriers.”

If technology was a person, what would they look like?

If you used the words "young", "white", "middle-class" or "trendy", you're not alone. 

When this question was posed in a 2019 research study, most respondents said the same.

The results highlighted the lack of diversity in the way the industry represents itself - and made it clear that collective action is needed.


The most commonly-selected characteristics are:

What is  #ChangeTheFace?

#ChangeTheFace is an initiative calling on change makers to take action to increase diversity in the technology sector.

The campaign launched in March 2020 and has since built a community of individuals and organisations who can be a force for positive change within the industry.

Why does  it matter?

For the technology sector to reach its full social and economic potential, we need to more fairly reflect the world in which we operate.

We need to act quickly to rectify this, as the resulting lack of inclusion affects not just employment but the design of the goods and services that the industry creates.

As a collection of some of the world’s largest technology companies, we are all too aware of the bias and lack of diversity in the industry today – from the C-suite to entry-level developers.

What is the #ChangeTheFace Alliance?

To accelerate change and increase impact, we need to work together as an industry.

The #ChangeTheFace Alliance is a collective of likeminded thought-leading technology companies who collaborate to make the tech industry a more inclusive place.

A new report by Vodacom, Safaricom and Vodafone Foundation urges international investment in African philanthropy for sustainable social impact.


co-commissioned by Vodacom, Safaricom and Vodafone Foundation suggests that the sustainable development of the not-for-profit sector in Africa is being challenged by an imbalance in international investment.

Foreign funding is predominantly flowing to donor organisations headquartered in the Northern Hemisphere rather than going directly to the 90% of African civil society organisations (CSOs) that remain dependent on it.

When this aid does reach Africa, it is usually distributed among locally registered international NGO counterparts, and then allocated to African-led CSOs only for specific projects.

only a portion of philanthropic funding from international aid institutions reaches African CSOs, as it remains trapped within bureaucratic processes and systems.



With these funding limitations, African CSOs are unable to sustain resources and build long-term strategies for lasting social impact.

Along with administrative constraints, and negative perceptions about African CSOs, this imbalance in approach to donor funding is preventing African CSOs from being more effective, self-reliant and, of course, helping the communities and citizens they serve.



Kennedy Odede Co-founder & CEO, SHOFCO



Re-imagining donor-CSO relations, approaches  and systems.



Creating a balance  between core and project funding.

Building the sustainability  of local CSOs.

Vodafone Foundation has committed to undertaking further research to better understand and find solutions to overcome the challenges faced  by African-led CSOs.

This includes investigating the creation of a new international standard for the percentage of charitable funds that reach African-run organisations and reviewing Vodafone Foundation’s own funding processes globally.

Vodacom, Safaricom and Vodafone Foundation will also continue to invest in the digital transformation efforts of CSOs across Africa through education, training, equipment supplies and financial donations.

They are working with their partners and trustees to articulate a five-year plan for tackling the issues of bias in international aid. 

Explore the research here >>>