Corporate social responsibility has always represented a cornerstone in communities’ development and sustainability. It contributes to the fulfillment of people’s needs and aspirations when best integrated with roles of specialized organizations, companies, governmental parties, and individuals. This field revolves around companies’ commitment towards sustainable development starting with employees and reaching the surrounding environment and community at its markets of operation. Companies giving back to their communities enjoy a variety of benefits, mainly including the reinforcement of their brand’s credibility and the loyalty of their customer base.
Since its establishment, Zain has kept the wellbeing and advancement of the Iraqi community on top of its priorities through a wide record of initiatives and programs targeting various sectors and segments. Additionally, Zain has been taking part in key events and strategic partnerships with public and private sectors for the betterment of Iraq. This all falls within the company’s vision and values, as it positions itself as part of the Iraqi community and strives to enable and support its segments – especially youth, hence facilitating their mission to build a better and more developed future.
The first six months of 2021 were busy for Zain on the corporate social responsibility level with various initiatives, programs, and activities that targeted several sectors and reached more than 75,000 beneficiaries. Supporting education has been one of the main areas of focus, as Zain signed a memorandum of understanding with the American University in Baghdad to develop students’ skills in communication, negotiation, finance, public relations, and speeches among others. The leading telecom operator also organized training courses for Baghdad University students, focusing on entrepreneurship basics and aiming to support the ideas and aspirations of youth and further their skills to get them ready for the job market. Under the same topic, Zain also sponsored several training workshops for fresh graduates at Al Rafidain University and collaborated with the University of Basrah to rehabilitate its computer lap, thus providing support for students in their studies and university projects and a mechanism for their research requirements.
In collaboration with the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research and a group of universities, Zain hosted a series of workshops that discussed utilizing the internet of things (IoT) for developing the agricultural sector. The company sponsored the X50 competition, which is a series of virtual (electronic) sessions specializing in computer science basics, and backed the second Scientific Conference of Computer Science that holds significant importance for science and engineering at Dijlah University College to present scientific and moral support for students to successfully enter the job the market.
Zain has also been actively supporting the entrepreneurship sector through initiatives and activities the aim to drive startups and small and medium businesses, furthering growth, expansion, and job opportunities mainly for youth. A key highlight was the launch of the Zain STEP intensive training program to shed light on entrepreneurship basics including Business Model Canvas (BMC) and digital marketing among other related topics. Zain also gathered entrepreneurs, designers, developers, and marketers through sponsoring Start-up Weekend to help youth come up with promising business ideas and develop their skills. On another hand, Zain signed a memorandum of understanding with The Station to employ its technical and human capabilities in fueling innovation among youth, and mutually organized a series of virtual sessions during Ramadan to discuss a variety of youth-related topics including Coexistence in the context of difference, the impact of digitization on consumer behavior, importance of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Zain also played a notable role in supporting those in need, as it collaborated with the Iraqi Home Foundation for Creativity to provide 650 food baskets for poor families across Baghdad, Basrah, and Erbil during Ramadan. During the Holy month, Zain partnered with Altaaown Charity Association for the second consecutive year to make wishes of 150 orphans come true through Ahl Al Himma program. On the environmental sustainability front, Zain organized a comprehensive awareness campaign about climate change and pollution on its social media channels.
Women empowerment was part of Zain’s agenda during the first half of 2021, as the telecom operator organized the Hackathon for Women’s Rights in the Nineveh governorate. The event highlighted a group of challenges facing women in Iraq including their lifestyles, violence at home, and utilizing technology solutions to help women overcome such challenges. On this front, Zain received the Futuristic Thinking awards from the International Finance Corporation for its action plan on facilitating social diversity in the East for the World Bank, titled ‘A Journey to Gender Diversity’.
Through the Zain Innovation Center (ZINC), Zain Iraq is keen to develop its programs and initiatives that target university students, graduates, and owners of emerging or small and medium enterprises. Zain Iraq is also working to expand the range of groups targeted by the platform, as it aims to introduce children and acquaint them with modern technologies and expand their horizons regarding the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, and more.
Supporting children have also been part of Zain’s priorities, as the company launched the ‘Internet Monsters’ campaign to raise awareness on the importance of children’s safety on internet, in line with the United Nations goals to end all forms of violence against children on the web. The campaign showcases fictional classic stories that are modernized to overview what is actually happening in today’s digital world, especially with recent studies stating that over 30% of internet users are from kids.
The first half of 2021 has seen significant successful milestones for Zain. Being the first telecom operator to successfully launch its 4G-LTE services marked the main achievement, and got Zain the OOKLA Speedtest ‘Fastest Mobile Network’ award and helped drive Iraq from the 125th position on the global internet speed ranking to the 65th. On another hand, Zain received the ‘Best Marketing Campaign’ award for its 4G-LTE launch campaign, in addition to the ‘Most Innovative Digital Transformation Telecom Company’ award on its digital service ‘oodi’ from the International Finance Awards 2021.