Hyperlocal knowledge drives community investment

Johannesburg, November 19, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) – It’s the age of the goal. More and more people and organizations are looking to make a positive difference in the world. The question is how to do that?

At MultiChoice, we’ve learned that the way to truly build a better world is organic, through the communities we touch every day.

As the recently released MultiChoice 2021 Social Report notes, MultiChoice’s social investments are based on our ever-evolving relationships with the communities we serve. We have operated across Africa for over two decades and have forged valuable relationships that allow us to partner with communities developing hyperlocal solutions to local problems.

But we also understand that each community has specific needs and that a one-size-fits-all approach will not be relevant across the continent. Fortunately, MultiChoice has deep roots in all the countries where we are present. When it comes to community social value projects (CSV), wherever possible, we seek to partner with each community before launching projects with their contribution.

One example was our Learning Time channel in Uganda, where school students have been hit hard by a strict lockdown to fight the Covid-19 pandemic. With families confined to their homes and internet connectivity limited, we have launched free-to-air educational content on our network, to ensure that as many children as possible can continue their education during the lockdown.

Mindset Pop is dedicated to supporting elementary learners, with an emphasis on the curriculum for grades 1-6.

In Ghana, MultiChoice has partnered with the Ministry of Education, the Ghana Education Service and the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation to host the free Ghana Learning TV channel 24 hours a day on DStv and GOtv.

Another local challenge is unemployment. With our communities, we have found ways to use our business to solve this problem organically and sustainably. Communities showed strong interest in careers in television, but described a loss of skills and training opportunities. To develop this sector, MultiChoice is partnering with local television operations across the continent. We have 14 such partnerships in place in East, West and Southern Africa.

To develop small businesses, we provide financing, mentoring and training to new and previously disadvantaged entrepreneurs in the film, television, media, and information and communication technology (ICT) industries. We work with industry professionals in markets such as South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, Zambia, Tanzania and Uganda, to deliver compelling local language content and channels.

Africa is a notoriously complex market in which to operate. Experience has taught us that you cannot operate on this continent without knowing – and respecting – the communities you hope to serve. And when it comes to making a difference through CSV initiatives, it’s not just about opening a single office in Africa and taking a broad, continental approach. Africa is a continent, not a country.

By analogy, a US-based business will know that you can’t apply something that works in Los Angeles to a rural Mississippi market. In Australia, the strategy of the hinterland town of Alice Springs is not going to steal from Sydney, the capital. The same principle applies in Africa.

This is why MultiChoice has offices in all of our major African markets, staffed with local staff who understand the communities they serve, their struggles and the socio-economic issues they face.

For MultiChoice’s CSV initiatives, we partner with communities, in areas where we have experience, creating hyperlocal and shared value that is sustainable and benefits everyone involved.

The MultiChoice Talent Factory (MTF) is a perfect example of this shared value. MTF consists of four film academies – in South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria and Zambia – and offers hands-on film experience through immersions in local M-Net productions contributing to / resulting in on-the-job training.

We also play a role of job creator in the communities where we are active. Our customer service centers provide employment and training to large numbers of semi-skilled workers across Africa. In South Africa, a partnership with the Youth Employment Service (YES) created 400 job opportunities last year and 300 this year.

In Nigeria, our GOtv Sabiman initiative is helping Nigerians become economically self-sufficient through sales and customer support roles. Our graduate program in technology develops rare technical skills in artificial intelligence (AI) and engineering and provides opportunities for graduates in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

In the sports community, where we also play an important role as a major broadcaster, our community initiatives are holistic and sustainable programs that make material contributions while developing skills and increasing audiences.

Best of all, our CSI initiatives help improve the quality of our service. While improving the skills of young people and creating opportunities and careers, MultiChoice is able to develop local talent in our markets, professionals who are then able to produce hyperlocal stories and content.

Our advice to any organization looking to make a social investment in Africa is to fit in first, then try to make a difference – in the right way. It’s an approach that has served us well, and now leaves MultiChoice perfectly positioned to partner with communities across the continent on relevant and local solutions to our continent’s social challenges.

Jill E. Washington