Vodacom unveils Somalia relief effort

Read time 1min 50sec

Vodacom has introduced a donor relief campaign in response to the crisis in Somalia.

The mobile operator says that, according to the United Nations, more than 3.7 million people in Somalia - around a third of the population - are on the brink of starvation.

The operator's campaign enables its customers to donate via SMS, and the South African Red Cross Society (SARCS) is coordinating Vodacom's relief efforts.

“The campaign, called Relief for Somalia, is part of Vodacom's aim to use mobile phones for good and is aimed at raising funds for hunger-stricken Somalis who are in desperate need of water and food relief.”

Vodacom customers can donate up to R200 in multiples of R5, via the SMS line 38207.

The operator also pledged to match the amount raised by customers and has waived any charges associated with the use of SMS to ensure that 100% of donations are handed over to the SARCS.

SMS line open

The UN's umbrella humanitarian agency Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said the “crisis in southern Somalia is expected to continue to worsen through 2011, with all areas of the south slipping into famine”.

“South Africans are eager to contribute towards this cause and it made sense to create a platform that will make it easy for them to pledge their support. The Relief for Somalia SMS line is open from today,” says Mthobi Tyamzashe, executive director for CSI at Vodacom.

Secretary general of SARCS Mandisa Kalako-Williams says the organisation's aim is to support the feeding programmes for malnourished children and ensure drinking water for affected people.

The funds raised will be used to purchase food, hygiene packs and water purification tablets for the relief operation.

Vodacom adds that companies, organisations and individuals wishing to donate funds via EFT can use the Standard Bank account of SARCS, with account number 250 180 994, branch name Jacobs and branch code 003326.

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