By Serpil Timuray, Vodafone CEO Europe Cluster
Vodafone connects people. During the COVID-19 crisis, the connectivity we provided was a lifeline, enabling people to work, allowing businesses to remain operational, supporting the delivery of emergency services and giving access to education. We enabled people to stay in touch with their families and their friends.
We recognise that our role in society is more vital than ever, underpinned by our commitment to improve 1 billion lives by building a resilient, inclusive and sustainable digital society
Our desire to realise a more inclusive society drives many of our activities. We are passionate about democratising digitisation – making technology, and the opportunities it brings, truly accessible to everyone, everywhere.
We know that the economic crisis precipitated by COVID-19 risks exacerbating inequality and in some areas could dial back progress, creating an even greater need for society to focus on inclusion as we recover and rebuild for the future. Yet even today, access to fast internet is still lacking in key areas - 82% of schools in Europe do not have broadband yet.
There remain other inclusivity challenges for us to address, including:
- 95% of all the jobs at risk from the economic effects of the pandemic are low wage.
- The elderly – the least digital age group, where 87% of over 75s have never been online – are the most adversely affected by COVID-19.
- Reported incidences of domestic abuse have risen by 60%.
- And around a third of small businesses are facing bankruptcy as a result of the pandemic.
Recent events have shown us the importance of being connected. Equal opportunities are created when people of all ages, genders, socio-economic position and abilities are given access to the connected world.
We believe in inclusion for all. So we’re building networks in the world’s most remote communities, ensuring all generations have access to education, and we’re re-imagining technology to make sure no one is left behind in the digital society.
We won’t rest until we reach our goal of ensuring everyone is connected. Ensuring everyone has access to resilient Gigabit Networks, wherever they are, whoever they are. Ensuring that all generations have the skills they need to use technology, and everyone has equal access to education. Ensuring we provide relevant services that address the social needs of specific groups.
I am proud to announce that from today, everyone.connected will be the new signpost for our overall inclusion agenda at Vodafone across all our markets, encompassing all our commercial and corporate activities, and the work of the Vodafone Foundations everywhere.
We’re launching our everyone.connected brand campaign with a film produced for Vodafone by What We Seee’s creative director Misan Harriman, known for his inspiring #BlackLivesMatter photography and his historic appointment as the first black man to ever shoot the Vogue UK cover.
Misan’s emotional, thought-provoking film explores how it feels to be connected, featuring people from all walks of life answering stories about gender, geography, education, socio-economic position and age.
The everyone.connected campaign will include films, photography and other online content featuring a diversity of people of all ages, ethnicities, backgrounds and genders, all built around the simple question: “Can you image life without connectivity?”
Find out more about our work to keep everyone.connected.
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