16th August 2016 – Smart Axiata has brought home the Best Community Telecom Project Award from the Telecom Asia Awards 2016, a validation of its effort to support Cambodians who dare to change in the National Literacy Campaign (NLC) 2015.

The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports (MoEYS) and UNESCO initiated the NLC, which was launched on 2nd March 2015 by Samdech Prime Minister Hun Sen. 3,156 literacy classes in total were implemented with the cooperation of the Ministry of Women’s Affairs (MoWA), various NGOs, Youth Volunteers, and Smart Axiata.

As the official telecommunication partner of the NLC, Smart Axiata took the lead in promoting and raising awareness of the initiative. Learners and teachers were encouraged with sponsored SIM cards and scratch or top-up cards for their communication, while volunteers were recruited via a web portal as well as through various conferences and roadshows to facilitate the implementation of the literacy campaign. Throughout the course of the campaign, 92,000 illiterate adults underwent literacy training through classroom schooling. Over 74% (72,832 learners) successfully completed the courses. Alongside UNESCO and MoEYS, Smart Axiata rounded up the NLC by awarding prizes to the best learners, best teachers and volunteers in recognition of their willingness to improve their quality of life and break the cycle of illiteracy.

The NLC closing ceremony on 2nd March 2016 featured a success story from a learner who previously could not read but is now able to inspire hundreds of people with her reading and writing skills. Her speech touched the hearts of attendees, especially those who worked hard on the NLC. “I was touched by her story. It is one of the many heartwarming stories that were created through the NLC. We are honored and proud to have been the official telco partner for this campaign,” said Thomas Hundt, Chief Executive Officer of Smart Axiata. “I believe this win also belongs to all learners in the NLC because they chose to make a positive change for themselves, their surroundings and our society.”

Thomas also acknowledged all parties involved in making the national initiative possible: “I would like to thank Ministry of Education Youth and Sport of Cambodia, UNESCO’s team, Smart’s team and all teachers, students and volunteers involved for their invaluable contribution to this program.”

Anne Lemaistre, the UNESCO Representative in Cambodia also shared her delight of winning the award: “UNESCO Team is pleased with the recognition of the National Literacy Campaign 2015 as the Best Community Project. As former UN Secretary General Mr. Kofi Anan remarked that “literacy is a bridge from misery to hope”, the NLC 2015 relayed hope to the learners, their family members, community leaders and the government in 2015.” UNESCO is continuing this momentum by designing and implementing literacy programs for young women working in factories and calls for interested partners to join this effort.

The National Literacy Campaign is one of the many efforts by Smart reflecting its committed responsibility that stretches beyond its bottom line to ensure that its business grows in tandem with managing the impact on the national economy, environment and society. The company continues to dedicate a significant amount towards national-specific CSR goals in the areas of Education, Green Environment and Community Sports.

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