Digicel recommits to Clinton Initiative

Digicel Chairman, Denis O’Brien
Digicel Chairman, Denis O’Brien

After completing its initial Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) commitment to build 150 schools in Haiti in time for the start of the new school year this September, the Digicel Foundation is signing up to new CGI commitments which will see it carrying out transformative projects with an investment of over US$13 million in Haiti, Jamaica and Papua New Guinea.

These new projects will benefit over two million people.

The Digicel Foundations empower people and communities and were founded by and are run under the patronage of Digicel Group Chairman, Denis O’Brien.

The new commitments see the Foundations tackling the issues of…

  • access to and quality of education in Haiti;
  • access to Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths education in Jamaica;
  • violence against women in Papua New Guinea.

Haiti: With 150 schools already completed in Haiti by the end of this September, the Digicel Foundation will now focus its attention on further improving both access to education for low income families and quality of teacher training across the country with a particular emphasis on the primary level.

In all, the two year programme will see an investment by the Digicel Foundation of US$12 million and will directly and indirectly benefit some 20,000 children. Access will be improved through a construction programme to provide 40 new schools and the refurbishment of a further 40 schools – in addition to providing teacher training in conjunction with the University of Quebec in 60 schools for 500 teachers and a merit-based programme in a further 40 schools.

With participants in the teacher training selected from the 150 schools already constructed by the Digicel Foundation, the teacher  training will focus on increasing capacity in fundamental teacher skill sets such as maths, reading, writing and oral expression in addition to providing basic pedagogical mentorship.

With a training cycle of around 18 months, each participant will receive an average 240 hours of training including an intense three week group summer training session at the start of the programme followed by monthly five day in-service sessions for additional in classroom training, mentoring and evaluation. Once complete, this will be followed by level two training.

Jamaica: The improved quality, delivery of and access to education is a major focus for Jamaica and therefore for the Digicel Foundation. As part of the commitment to meet the Millennium Development Goals of 100% literacy rates, in 2009 the Digicel Foundation partnered with the Ministry of Education to design and implement an ICT-based programme focused on meeting these targets. This has had great success resulting in an average two grade level increase in literacy rates of students in participating.

This all-new project sees the Digicel Foundation investing US$1 million over 30 months to provide the first-ever Mobile Science Labs to 50 schools. With an emphasis on poor urban, deep rural, and all-girls schools at the primary and secondary levels, the programme will benefit around 20,000 children directly and indirectly.

Papua New Guinea: In a March 2012 study by Médecins Sans Frontières, 67% of women in Papua New Guinea report experiencing violence with this figure rising to a staggering 90% in some remote Highlands communities – while 80% of children experience some form of physical, verbal and sexual abuse.

 To tackle this taboo issue and introduce and promote more positive behaviours, the Digicel Foundation’s Men of Honour Awards programme aims to break the cycle of violence and will directly and indirectly benefit over two million people in Papua New Guinea through its education outreach.

With an investment of US$325,000, through the Men of Honour awards programme, the Digicel Foundation will encourage communities to identify role models and positive behaviours and to look within their communities to nominate ordinary men doing extraordinary things.

Digicel Foundation, patron Denis O’Brien, said; “Each of our Foundations is mandated to meet the severest challenges in their respective communities head on by executing programmes that give back to those communities and help to effect positive change. We are delighted to be making these new commitments to the CGI and would like to thank President Clinton for his tireless efforts to turn great ideas into tangible positive outcomes for communities across the world.”

In welcoming the new commitments from the Digicel Foundation, former President William Jefferson Clinton, commented; “Through the diverse partnerships the Digicel Foundation has forged, it has demonstrated the power of creative co-operation. I commend Denis and his team for giving so generously of their time and energy and I look forward to continuing our work together in the years to come.”