Hyperlocal knowledge drives community investment


Johannesburg, Nov. 19, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — This is the age of purpose. People and organisations are increasingly looking to make a positive difference in the world. The question is how to do that?

At MultiChoice, we have learned that the way to really build a better world is organically, through the communities that we touch every day.

As the recently released MultiChoice Social Report 2021 notes, MultiChoice social investments are based on our constantly evolving relationships with the communities we serve. We have been operating across Africa for more than two decades, and have built precious relationships that allow us to partner with communities developing hyperlocal solutions to local problems.

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

An example was our Learning Time channel in Uganda, where school learners were badly hit by a stringent lockdown to combat the Covid-19 pandemic. With families confined to their homes, and internet connectivity limited, we launched free-to-air educational content on our network, to ensure that as many children as possible were able to continue their studies during lockdown.

Mindset Pop, is dedicated to supporting primary-school learners, with a focus on the Class 1- 6 curriculum.

In Ghana, MultiChoice partnered with the Ministry of Education, the Ghana Education Service and the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation to host the 24-hour, free-to-air Ghana Learning TV channel on both DStv and GOtv.

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

To develop small business, we provide funding, mentorship, and training to new and previously disadvantaged entrepreneurs in the film, TV, 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 to operate in. Experience has taught us that you can’t operate on this continent without knowing – and respecting – the communities you’re hoping to serve. And when it comes to making a difference through CSV initiatives, there’s more to it than opening a single Africa office 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 market in rural Mississippi. In Australia, the strategy for outback town Alice Springs is not going to fly in Sydney, the capital. The same principle applies in Africa.

This is why MultiChoice has offices in all of our major African markets, staffed by local people 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 industries where we have experience, creating hyperlocal, shared value that is sustainable and which benefits all 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 on local M-Net productions contributing to / resulting in on-the-job training.

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

In Nigeria, Our GOtv Sabiman initiative helps Nigerians become economically self-sufficient through sales and customer support roles. Our Technology Graduate Programme develops scarce technical skills in artificial intelligence (AI) and engineering and offers opportunities for science, technology, engineering, and maths graduates.

In the sport community, where we also play a significant role as a major broadcaster, our community initiatives are holistic, sustainable programmes that make material contributions while also developing skills and growing audience.

Best of all, our CSI initiatives help to enhance the quality of our service. While upskilling 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 organisation looking to make a social investment in Africa is to integrate first, and then to try to make a difference – in the right ways. It’s an approach that has served us well, and now leaves MultiChoice perfectly positioned to partner with communities across the continent on relevant, local solutions to our continent’s social challenges.