PANAMA CITY, September 17 2020 – Some 12.6 million people, including more than 2.6 million children, have benefited from an extended cooperation between UNICEF and Millicom (operating under the TIGO brand), designed to ensure learning continuity for children affected by the lockdowns in nine Latin American countries – Bolivia, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama and Paraguay.
The partnership, which was extended in April 2020, addresses urgent issues such as ensuring remote learning with zero rating on education platforms, and training teachers on digital skills; raising awareness of health, education and child online protection through mass communication campaigns; empowering adolescents as leaders and promoters in digital and transferable skills; and advocating for and promoting family-friendly workplaces during the crisis.
“UNICEF and Millicom (TIGO) have actively collaborated since 2012 to promote and respect the rights of children and adolescents in Latin America,” said Bernt Aasen, UNICEF Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean. “As the COVID-19 pandemic spread, we have strengthened our joint work to support children’s rights across nine countries. Our expertise will complement TIGO’s technical capabilities to help children learn and stay healthy and safe.”
In 2018, UNICEF and TIGO signed a three year partnership to focus on piloting innovative, technology-based solutions to promote the rights of children and adolescents online and offline, and to encourage adolescent participation and empowerment. Taking into consideration the new COVID-19 realities, and building on ongoing cooperation, the partnership seeks to support teachers working from home, raise awareness about COVID-19, empower adolescents, and promote family-friendly policies in the workplace. Examples include:
- In collaboration with NGO AHYU in Bolivia and AHYU and NGO Enseña por Paraguay, UNICEF is supporting Maestr@s Conectad@s, a programme which trains teachers on digital tools free of charge. More than 150,000 teachers will benefit from this programme by the end of 2020 with the potential to reach 2.6 million children.
- In addition to training teachers, TIGO is providing access to government education platforms for its customers free of charge, allowing national educational authorities to continue implementing online education programmes during the lockdown.
- Working with national governments, the campaign “Learn from Home” on remote education is being implemented and has been shared with more than 10 million users in Central America.
- TIGO communication channels, such as SMS, social media, Cable TV and partner radio stations, have allowed UNICEF to reach millions of children and their families with messages on health and protection measures specially for those who have no access to internet.
- TIGO’s flagship programme Conectate Segur@ has reached over 120,000 children and almost 75,000 parents with training and information on online protection delivered by TIGO volunteers.
- With UNICEF, TIGO has developed a platform for adolescents in Colombia, “Ciberconscientes“ (Cyber-conscious), that contains videos and posts created by young leaders on online safety, and recommendations for their peers. The project is training 6,000 children and adolescents as community leaders in eight Colombian cities to develop essential skills for their safe, secure, and creative use of the Internet.
- In Bolivia, the partnership is building a pioneering, scalable programme on 12 essential life skills training for an initial group of 250 adolescent leaders, based on UNICEF’s Conceptual Framework on Transferable Skills.
- TIGO and UNICEF have also been promoting family-friendly policies in the workplace aimed at business partners and their role as employers.
“COVID-19 has put a spotlight on the social, economic and technological barriers that teachers and students face with respect to access to the internet and modern tools for education,” said Mauricio Ramos, Millicom CEO. “Through our partnership we have been able to mobilize programmes and experts to help overcome such barriers. TIGO´s Maestr@s Conectad@s programme is a great example of our work together. UNICEF´s expertise in education has equipped teachers with skills, tools and hope that will be shared and felt by thousands of students.”