Zain brings relief to school kids (pg 38)

Zain Ghana, in collaboration with Instinct Media, an advertising agency, has launched an initiative in Hohoe in the Volta Region aimed at providing relief for pupils who have to walk long distances to get to school.
Known as “Trikademik”, the concept is a mobile advertising billboard which provides free transport services for children between six and 10 and optimised advertising space for advertising.
The project is also expected to serve as employment avenues for the youth of the area.
Tricycles for the project have been specifically developed in partnership with the University of Delft in The Netherlands and adapted to suit the local terrain, including coping with the rainy season.
The pilot project is expected to benefit 40 schoolchildren from Kodzeto and Dzenyena who sometimes skip classes because of transportation problems
In a speech read on his behalf at the launch of the project by the Deputy Director of the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, Ms Fatia Lilly Soale, the sector Minister, Mr Joseph Yieleh Chireh, said the future of every nation depended on the quality of its youth.
He, therefore, stressed the need to put in place good structures that would cater for the well-being of children, saying that one way of ensuring that was to provide them with quality education.
Mr Chireh said the consequences of ignoring the rights of children were an increase in juvenile delinquency, truancy, high school drop out rates and even child labour.
He said the project was worth commending because even though some effort had been made to alleviate the plight of rural children who had to walk long distances through the provision of bicycles, it had benefited “bigger pupils because the younger ones cannot ride”.
Mr Chireh commended Zain for its contribution to the project and urged other corporate bodies to take up such initiatives as part of their corporate social responsibilities.
The Corporate Communications and External Affairs Manager of Zain, Mrs Carmen Bruce-Annan, said the project was a cost-effective and innovative method of addressing the problem of transporting children to schools which were long distances away, especially in the rural setting.
She said education remained an essential tool if a country was to achieve its economic and social development goals, hence Zain’s support for educational initiatives as part of its corporate social responsibility.
Mrs Bruce-Annan said the youth operating the tricycles would have their incomes increased through the sale of Zain products.
“These vendors will be given greater margins than the vendors in the urban areas,” she said.
The Chief Executive Officer of Instinct Media, Ms Megali Bongrand, for her part, said in addition to transporting the children to school, parents had also been motivated by the project to enrol their children who were previously not attending school.
She said if the project succeeded in achieving its aim, the initiative would be introduced to other parts of the Volta Region and subsequently other parts of the country.
She said her outfit’s target was to have 1,200 Trikademiks operating in the country in five years to transport 7,000 children to school and create 1,200 jobs for unemployed youth.
The Paramount Chief of the Gbi Traditional Area, Togbega Gabusu VI, who chaired the function, expressed appreciation to Zain and Media Instinct for choosing Hohoe for the pilot project and appealed for the extension of the pilot project from a year to three years.

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