Telenor India has announced plans to expand Project Sampark, a unique initiative to bridge the gender gap in mobile usage, to new areas in its UP (West) circle. The project will now be extended to the rural areas of Bareilly, Dehradun and Moradabad districts covering approximately 50-80 villages in each zone.
Talking about Telenor’s vision to promote mobile usage among women, Sharad Mehrotra, Chief Executive Officer, Telenor India said, “The success of Project Sampark in Aligarh has given us the confidence to expand it to new areas and take it beyond the pilot phase. Telenor is #morethan an operator and has a vision to empower societies with benefits of mobile connectivity in areas where we operate. Giving a phone in hands of women is not just about connecting her to the information age but also about giving her a tool to take informed decision that can change the socio-economic condition of the entire family.”
The second phase of Sampark is being launched after the phenomenal success of the pilot project across 87 villages in Aligarh district. These 87 pilot villages have seen an improvement in tele-density among women and of the more than 52,000 Project Sampark subscribers 50% are women.
The new areas will replicate the model piloted in first phase, which was launched in August 2014. The villages will be covered by 30-40 trained women promoters, who will be hired from the adjoining areas.
“By announcing the expansion plan, we are reaffirming our commitment to extend the benefits of mobile connectivity towards all sections and be the preferred partner for our customers in their digital journey,” said Satish Kannan, Circle Business Head, UP West, Telenor India.
Project Sampark is a combination of retail and product innovations that has resulted in a unique model that addresses some of the key barriers of women’s access to mobile telephony. The project was conceived after a survey commissioned by Telenor and executed by GFK in rural areas of Uttar Pradesh indicated that less than 30% women use mobile phones due to socio-economic issues.
For Project Sampark, Telenor has designed a new distribution model that not only brought the retail shop at the doorstep of the target families but also created livelihood opportunities for women in the area. Nearly 40 promoters have been trained to approach every family in the village and explain to them why it is important for the women to have access to mobile phones. They sell a ‘Combo SIM pack’ (Bandhan pack), which has a pair of SIMs linked to each other in a manner that any recharge or talk time top-up of one SIM results in additional bonus minutes added to the second.
A women call centre –DIAL — in Patna supports these promoters. This centre ensures that at least one SIM is being used a woman and also resolves any technology related issue or grievances of the subscribers.
To spread awareness on the benefits of mobile usage for women, Project Sampark is supported by an innovative campaign titled “Mera Mobile Mera Sathi”. This is a series of Nukkad Natak (street plays) and puppet shows performed by trained artists and showcases real life examples on women using mobiles for the benefit of all members in the family including herself.
Project Sampark is supported by GSMA under their Connected Women programme. It has been nominated and recognized for its contribution in increasing mobile usage among women. It has received multiple awards including Graham Bell Award 2015, Greentech Gold Award 2014 and National CSR and sustainability award 2015.
Technuter.com News Service