New Delhi, India, February 3, 2015: Uninor, the 100% subsidiary of Norway-based Telenor Group, has been acknowledged for ‘outstanding achievement in corporate social responsibility’ in the service sector. The company has been bestowed upon with the 4th Greentech Annual CSR Award 2015 in the gold category for Project Sampark, an initiative aimed at bridging the mobile gender gap in rural areas of India. The award was presented at a ceremony held at Kolkata on January 29.
“We are honoured to receive this coveted award. CSR is at the core to Uninor’s business strategy and we strongly believe in being a responsible corporate citizen. We are committed to extend the benefits of mobile services to the masses and the unconnected through initiatives like Project Sampark,” said Pooja Thakran, Chief Communications Officer & CSR Head, Uninor.
Project Sampark aims to address the socio-economic causes behind the mobile gender gap and increase women’s access to mobile phones in the rural areas of India. A Uninor study done by the research firm GFK in the Aligarh district of Uttar Pradesh revealed that the incidence of mobile phone usage was significantly higher among males – 76 men out of 100 owned a mobile phone while only 29 women out of 100 owned one.
The Project uses innovative product and unique distribution model to make easy and hassle free mobile services available amongst rural women. It looked at approaching the barriers to mobile adoption through a two-pronged strategy to address key barriers like cost, culture, technical literacy and perception of values, which discourages women to adopt mobile telecommunication services.
Uninor has joined hands with GSMA for Project Sampark. GSMA has committed a matching grant of $70000 under the ‘Connected Women’ program, which aims at reducing the mobile gender inequality in the emerging markets like India.
The pilot phase of Project Sampark was launched in August 2014 in UP (West) circle of Uninor. The pilot phase covers 87 villages and small towns with an addressable population of over 370,000 in Aligarh District. The project lends itself to a strong self-sustaining business case and has achieved breakeven within four months of its launch. Uninor is now evaluating its deployment to other circles in north India that have similarities of issues and market dynamics with UP West.