Thinking Responsibly, acting sustainably: Highlights of Smart Axiata’s CSR initiatives

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An overview of the social contributions of Cambodia’s leading telco
 
Smart is a household name in Cambodia, well-known for pioneering high-speed 4G mobile Internet in the Kingdom and for its array of digital value-added services like Smart Music, Smart Insurance, SmartLuy, SmartPay and SmartNas. Less talked about is Smart’s equally impressive achievements in corporate social responsibility (CSR) – a term used to describe non-business related activities undertaken by a company to support the communities they work and life in. 
 
“At Smart, sustainability has been a cornerstone of our business philosophy since our start eight years ago. We recognize that, as a telecommunications and technology provider in an emerging market, we have a responsibility that stretches beyond our bottom line to ensure that our business grows together with our local stakeholders and the Cambodian community. This is evident through our investment of nearly 1% of Smart’s annual revenues into pure CSR initiatives” said Thomas Hundt, CEO of Smart Axiata.
 
Smart’s notable CSR initiatives are structured around its Planet and Society portfolio, in line with the Axiata Sustainability Framework. Smart won the Best CSR Company in Cambodia Award by Global Banking and Finance Review for three consecutive years : 2015, 2016 and 2017 for its various socio-contribution in the areas of Education, Green Environment, Community Sports and Tech Innovation. The National Literacy Campaign which was supported by Smart was also awarded as the Telecom Asia Best Community Project in 2016.
 
Education
 
Smart runs many programs designed to empower youth with basic education and ICT literacy. It also promotes continuous education and national culture awareness.
 
SmartEdu Scholarship: Intended to give hardworking but under-privileged students the opportunity to pursue tertiary education, 10 scholarships been pledged annually to provide significant financial support to grade A and B high school graduates. Each student is provided with up to $15,000 throughout the duration of their university education. 
 
National Literacy Campaign 2015: An award winning campaign in collaboration with UNESCO and MoEYS. With Smart’s support as the official com-munication partner. the campaign was able to reach out to many Cambodians – directly benefiting more than 92,000 Cambodians whose lives were hindered by a lack of reading and writing skills. Smart is now UNESCO’s long-term partner for ICT Education initiatives.
 
Accessible Libraries: In partnership with Sipar, Smart is funding mobile libraries, which including librarians tour rural provincial villages with vans to provide approximately 1000 children a day with the opportunity to read books as well as factory libraries at 18 garment factories in Cambodia to promote reading and literacy amongst workers.
 
NIPTICT Dormitory: Supported the construction of a dormitory to provide accommodation around 100 students, some of which from rural areas, the opportunity to study at the ICT institute founded by the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications of Cambodia.
 
The Courageous Turtle: A project designed for classrooms, staging educational plays. More than 30,000 students were attracted nationwide so far, helping children to learn from the history and understand basic concepts of civic responsibility.
 
Green Environment
 
Smart’s brand color is an obvious representation of Smart’s has also shown relentless commitment in supporting many environment initiatives for a sustainable future.
 
  Green Eco-School: A program in partnership with the Ministry of Environment to promote green initiatives and its guidelines at every high school nationwide, top green schools will be awarded.
 
  Let’s Plant: For many years in a row, Smart has supported this annual tree planting activity organized by the Junior Chamber International. Over 250 Smart staff members has participated in tree planting activities in Oudor Meanchey and Kampot province.
 
World Habitat Day: A project whose focus is to create greener and healthier living space, which translated to massive community activities where hundreds of homes were built, repainted wherepublic community areas were cleaned up.
 
Tech Innovation
 
Enlightened intervention and support can benefit the country as it embarks on a journey of building a digital society. Smart has initiated and supported many development programs that propel Cambodia toward a digital future.
 
SmartStart: A nine-month long program that involves students pitching their digital ideas in competitions where the winners are offered access to funding, mentorship and ‘incubation’ – where ideas are grown in a conducive environment with access to creative talent and infrastructure. 
 
Smart Axiata Digital Innovation Fund (SADIF): A sizable venture capital fund of 5 million USD to invest in Cambodian-based, digital service companies, entrepreneurs and start-ups, aiming to spur the digital ecosystem in the country. The fund will be managed by a third party to ensure the entrepreneurs selected for investment have a viable and sustainable business plan.
 
Digital Initiatives: Smart has and is constantly looking out for opportunities to expand its role in Cambodia’s burgeoning digital economy and partner with many Hubs that will continue to encourage ICT startups and other tech initiatives such as hackathons and incubator programs. To date, Smart is a partner of Emerald Hub and TekHub, while supporting programs such as Technovation, Let’s Read! and various other innovation programs.
 
Community Sports 
 
Promoting a healthy lifestyle at all levels alongside encouraging team sports that can bring people together and teach core values of teamwork and good sportmanship, is another key component of Smart’s CSR portfolio.
 
National Games: In collaboration with the National Olympic Committee, the National Games were launched in 2016 as a result of an eight-year partnership reflecting Smart’s commitment to play a part in developing new sportsmen and sportswomen in the country. 
 
The National Games will play a vital role in accelerating preparedness ahead of the prestigious 2023 SEA Games which will be hosted by Cambodia. The inaugural National Games in 2016 involved 2,700 athletes nationwide and was attended by 60,000 sports enthusiasts over the 11-day period.
 
Football for Development Programs: A strategic partnership with World Vision and Salt Academy to launch a football development program called ‘One Goal’, aiming to positively impact the lives of 300 vulnerable youth in Battambang, Takeo and Preah Vihea. 
 
Smart is also a long term partner of Happy Football Cambodia Australia (HFCA), supporting the mission of bringing homeless kids off the street and onto the football pitch. HFCA sends every year a Cambodian team to the Homeless World Cup, last year, in 2016 to Scotland, from which the team brought home the Men’s Globe Trophy. 
 
As part of Smart’s role being the main sponsor of Phnom Penh Crown Football Club, we engage with the Young Talent Academy to nurture and develop the next football stars.
 
Marathon Activities: Smart has also been an avid supporter of road running, having sponsored every major marathons in Phnom Penh, Sihanoukville, Siem Reap and Kampot which have attracted over 20,000 Cambodian and international runners.
 
With the recent launch of a new Facebook page called ‘Smart for Cambodia’, showcasing Smart’s contribution to the society, Smart is putting its non-profit and development work on a regular basis. Members of the public can visit www.facebook.com/smart4cambodia/ for latest updates.

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