Mobile Innovation Fuels Egypt’s CSR Potential

Mobile innovation can save the field of development years of efforts, said TA Telecom’s MegaKheir Product Manager Maissera Ellaithy at Egypt’s leading Corporate Social Responsibility Forum.

Hundreds of participants attended the two-day Egypt CSR Forum on May 3, which called on companies and stakeholders from the government, international organizations and civil society to unify their efforts in order to reach sustainable development in Egypt.

“Mobile donations save NGOs the huge costs incurred in collecting donations through traditional means such as transportation, receipts, salaries and other costs,” Ellaithy told Egypt CSR Forum’s participants as a speaker in a panel discussion titled, “Initiatives for a Good Productive Global Competitive Citizen.” 

The panel moderated by Chairman of ECASTI, Alaa Edris, also included Hoda Dahroug, member of the Presidential Advisory Council for community development; Mohamed Refay, founder and chairman of Agyal; Heba Elsewedy, founder of Ahl Masr Foundation; Doaa Mabrouk, rehabilitation and education consultant of visually impaired persons; Ayman Elsayed, director of Planetarium Science at the Library of Alexandria; and Jackie Kameel, managing director of Nahdet El Mahrousa.

Ellaithy said the CSR arm and mobile donations platform of TA Telecom, MegaKheir, raised more than EGP 25.3 million of mobile donations in 2015 compared to 20.2 million the year before, helping 29 charitable organizations in their fight against cancer, heart and liver disease, hunger and other vital causes.

Average donations per user went up by 25 percent, reaching EGP17.5 during Ramadan 2015 (the peak donations season) compared to EGP14 in 2014, Ellaithy added. The top user donated around EGP14.3 thousand, sending 2.9 thousand SMSs in 2015.

Users of MegaKheir mobile application doubled in 2015 as donors gradually shift from SMS to the user-friendly alternative, she added. The application helps donors access a full list of causes and charitable organizations, schedule periodic donations and keep track of past donations using the Kheir Meter. Click here to download the app for AndroidiOS.

TA Telecom gives back to the community through MegaKheir’s mobile CSR. In addition to mobile donations, the company also develops mobile applications for NGOs, including an Arabic-language app (Kalamy) for autistic children and a mobile app that helps visually impaired people identify paper money.

TA Telecom also dedicated a short code for HarassMap’s SMS reporting system, helping the women empowerment initiative in their mission to combat sexual harassment.

“Mobile has a lot of potential for CSR in Egypt,” Ellaithy said.

Uneducated mobile users found an alternative way to communicate via mobile either through inventing special characters in text chatting or recording voice messages, she told attendees at the Egypt CSR Forum.

“We have been trying to eradicate computer illiteracy for years but we failed to notice how mobile forces its way among people,” said Ellaithy emphasizing that Egypt can use mobile technology to eradicate illiteracy. 

Sara El-Khalili

Independent trainer and consultant in the field of journalism and mass communication. El-Khalili has been working in the field for over 15 years. She started her journalism career in the late nineties where she covered political and business news for the Associated Press, Reuters and Cairo Times. She taught media writing and reporting courses for seven years as an Adjunct Faculty member at the American University in Cairo. El-Khalili joined Thomson Reuters Foundation as a trainer in 2012. She now manages the corporate communications department at TA telecom.