Smart Axiata and the education-oriented NGO Sipar continue to work together to promote literacy and develop the education system in Cambodia, the heads of the two organisations say.
The partners’ main focus is on actively promoting reading and literacy. Thomas Hundt, CEO of Smart Axiata, said Smart was very proud to be able to support six Sipar projects this year.
Speaking at the National Library on Wednesday last week, Mr Hundt said the two partners worked together last year to enable 1,000 kids a day to access books through a mobile library project. “This was a remarkable programme. It utilised Smart technologies via the use of iPads and mobile internet services,” he said.
In a separate project, “We provided 36 iPads to18 factories to allow the workers to access information…and reading materials. Mobile technology can obviously increase access to information, and provide education and learning experiences, which are excellent sources for promoting reading,” Mr Hundt said.
This partnership is another milestone for Smart’s corporate social activities (CSR) programme on education, which supports the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal No. 4. Education is one of the major pillars of Smart’s CSR agenda.
Currently, Smart works with the Asia Foundation on Let’s Read ebook programme, which according to the Foundation’s website, “applies technology interventions to stimulate reading in developing Asian countries.”
The partners recently announced that ebooks would be made accessible via iPads at the Sipar Reading Centre.
Smart said it is committed to working with Sipar, providing resources which include not only money but also volunteer work by employees.
In addition to providing telecommunication services, Smart seeks to contribute to the development of society, especially in the field of education, Mr Hundt said.
Hok Sothik, director of Sipar, confirmed that the cooperation between Smart Axiata and Sipar last year involved two successful programmes, the mobile library and factory library schemes.
“After further evaluating the results, we will consider whether to continue this cooperation. Smart and Sipar are really committed to helping the Royal government of Cambodia on literacy and reading,” he said.
Mr Sothik thanked other private companies and public organisations that have active social programmes, including Total Cambodia, the Kinal Foundation, UNICEF, UNESCO, and the Pasteur Institute. With all these contributions, Sipar could achieve a lot, Mr Sothik said. He also thanked Smart for its continued support.
Dr Hang Chuon Naron, minister of education, youth and sport, said he was really pleased to see Smart and Sipar demonstrating the spirit of partnership at the National Library, a place where education has long been promoted in Cambodia.
“I am very grateful to Smart because the company is a very important partner in the education sector. Not only do we have this reading project, but we also have many others with Smart’s involvement, such as those with UNESCO that promote reading among our young people,” Dr Chuon Naron said.
Digital learning events held in cooperation with Smart include the Hackathon, a business model competition, and many scholarship programmes. Such events have become a very popular and useful way of training young people, the minister said. Smart has spent a lot of money on training and technology transfers that have helped Cambodia move into the future, Dr Chuon Naron said.