- Breathing Innovation
- Giving wings to their dreams
- Smart Colony
- Beyond network connectivity
- Technology boost to Ebola Control in Africa
- Breaking barriers
Bharti Airtel Network team’s innovative solution of using an old 2G antenna (meant for scrap) to ensure connectivity in a remote Odisha village can be the ultimate story in innovation and creative thinking.
Till sometime back, people in Tamangi village in Odhisa’s remote Kandhamal District had to climb a hilltop near the village to make a mobile call. It was the only place in the village that received feeble signal from the nearest 2G site located about 30 kilometers away.
When Department of Telecommunications (DoT) TERM Cell assigned Airtel the task to provide connectivity to the village, many thought it to be nearly impossible. Connecting Tamangi with fibre was out of question given the huge expenditure involved. Only way to secure coverage was by using a repeater (wi-fi device). However, installing the repeater in the hilly area and ensuring that the device received stable input signal was a challenging task. Also, it was not possible to cover the village with just one repeater.
The Odisha Network Planning team installed a repeater in a completely unconventional way. They setup a 12-metre pole on the hilltop for fixing a yagi antenna (directional antenna consisting of multiple parallel elements in a line). A repeater was set up in a nearby school (situated about 40 metres away from the antenna) to receive the signal generated from the antenna.
On the school’s rooftop, a 3-metre pole was installed to fit an old 2-port 900 band antenna (dug out from the scrap heap in the warehouse). Instead of using only conventional panel antenna (coverage up to 100m), the team additionally used a 2-port 900 Band antenna that yielded a coverage up to 500m. While the panel antenna provided coverage around the school, the 2-port 900 band antenna covered the village. The team used a two-way Splitter to feed the repeater output signal into both the antennas.
The residents of Tamangi no longer go to the hilltop to make their calls.
The Odisha Network team received a Special letter of Appreciation from DoT for their innovative act to make a difference in the lives of people living in a remote village.
Empowering rural women digitally
These days, Kamla Devi, an anganwadi worker from Burhanpur District in Madhya Pradesh, during her spare time, enthusiastically logs on to her Facebook account through her mobile and posts status update, uploads photograph and connects with friends. Big change from the days, when accessing internet seemed a far-off dream.
She is one of around 6,00,000 women who have gained digital literacy through ‘eShakti,’ Bharti Airtel’s mobile internet literacy initiative. With a focus on women based in rural areas, the initiative was launched in Madhya Pradesh (July 2015) and Andhra Pradesh (November 2015) in collaboration with the state governments.
In Madhya Pradesh, the project is being implemented through young management trainees who are recruited by Airtel from reputed institutes. Under the initiative, interactive sessions are conducted with candidates to train them in operating internet at elementary level. Airtel also provides 100 MB free internet for a period of seven days so that the women can implement their learnings into practice.
While the project in Madhya Pradesh was recognised as the best social initiative at the ET Telecom Award 2016 in the ‘Use of Telecom for Social Good’ category, in Andhra Pradesh the Company was honoured by the State Government with the ‘Best Telecom Service Provider’ Award for ‘Women Empowerment’.
Rolled out in February 2016, Bharti Infratel’s initiative to empower women living in urban slums through skill-based employability is making rapid progress in India
Anita Munda used to work as a daily wage earner to support her family. Her dreams to pursue education could not take off due to her family’s financial condition. All efforts to find a stable job with reasonable income to support her family had failed till she came to know about Bharti Infratel’s Aaghaaz in Ranchi.
Launched in February 2016, Aaghaaz is implemented in partnership with VSO India Trust. The initiative aims at creating livelihood opportunities for marginalised women living in urban slums through technical and interpersonal skill development across five cities in India – Patna, Raipur, Lucknow, Ranchi and Bhubaneswar.
Anita enrolled with the project which is organised by the local by Bhartiya Kisan Sangh (BKS), local NGO (non-governmental organisation) partner of VSO India in the region. After finishing her training program, she was hired by Orchid Hospital as a security personnel with a monthly salary of Rs 7000 and lodging facility.
“I was useless and helpless. Now I send money to my family on a monthly basis and feel confident of supporting the education of my younger siblings. Thanks to Bharti Infratel, Bhartiya Kisan Sangh and VSO India, my dream has come true. I urge more women to join this Programme to ensure a better livelihood for themselves " says Anita Munda.
Since the project became operational, close to 200 women have been trained and more than 90 of them are employed with various organisations.
Giving wings to their dreams
Bharti Airtel’s efforts to groom football talent among underprivileged children
A loud cheer from the die-hard football fans greeted D Kanadoss as he entered the room for a press conference before flying off to Rio de Janerio in Brazil to lead the Indian team in the 2014 edition of Street Child World Cup. About a year ago Kanadoss used to do odd jobs at railway stations and lived on streets. He ran away after his father’s second marriage fearing ill-treatment. Never in his dream did the 16 year old thought that he would someday become so popular and go on to captain India in his favourite sport.
Thanks to Bharti Airtel, the Indian team for the event comprising of nine orphans and homeless boys travelled to Brazil considered by many as the ‘Mecca of Football’ and also the host for this year’s FIFA World Cup. Supporting the Indian team for the Street Child World Cup is yet another effort from Airtel to nurture young football talent over and above the extremely popular Airtel Rising Stars Programme, the under-16 soccer talent hunt across Africa and South Asia, which offers promising youngsters a lifetime opportunity to attend a week-long training camp at the famous Manchester United Soccer School.
Airtel Money is helping Darbhanga, Bihar’s little known colony go smart through cashless transactions
When you travel to Darbhanga’s Babu Saheb Colony, you will be amazed to see the level of digitisation in day-to-day retail transactions. Cash has simply gone out of fashion. From the newspaper vendor and the local kirana store owner to the chemist shop and the cable TV service provider, everyone seems hooked to Airtel Money’s convenient ways. Utility bill payment counters in the locality have suddenly gone nearly empty. Change does appear a little dramatic even by the standards of India’s mega metropolitan centres.
Flaunting the Airtel Money App on resident of the Colony and a Banker by profession says, “All my retail transactions now lie at my fingertips. Thanks to Airtel’s partnerships with the merchants in the locality, who accept payments over the Airtel Money platform, shopping has become such a seamless experience.”
“Over and above the ease of transaction, customers using the service are also able to avail exclusive discounts and attractive offers”, Divayam added. In the 250 household strong colony, Airtel Money is today facilitating transactions worth nearly Rs 2,00,000 a month.
Beyond network connectivity
Launched to power towers sites using renewable energy sources, Bharti Infratel’s RESCO model is making a big impact on the local communities by ensuring distribution of surplus power among them while benefitting the environment.
If you are visiting Hardoi area near Lucknow, in Uttar Pradesh after a gap of a few years, the evenings will appear a little strange to you. Action in the local bazar continues even after nightfall—a big change from the times when everything used to shut down following sunset. Lack of power supply is no longer a worry as it used to be. It has been made possible because of Bharti Infratel’s RESCO (Renewable Energy Service Company) model, which was primarily launched to run telecom towers in areas with erratic or no power supply.
In July 2012, Bharti Infratel launched RESCO in partnership with Omnigrid Micropower Company (OMC). Under the pact, OMC’s 17 micro power plants located at select locations generate power from renewable sources like solar to run telecom tower operations and distribute surplus power among local communities. Each micro power plant is capable of serving around 1500 households over and above its supply to the telecom towers in an environment friendly manner. Notably, powering just one tower with such clean energy results in an annual CO2 emission reduction of 40-50 metric tons.
OMC delivers power at the doorstep of local people in the form of charged LED lanterns and charged battery units (locally known as ‘bijli boxes’) that supply electricity to charge phones, power fans and lighting systems. The LED lanterns run for about six-eight hours after being fully charged.
Thanks to such an innovative power supply arrangement, children no longer struggle with kerosene lit conventional lanterns to complete their school homework. Shops and other establishments continue their business even after dark. The initiative has immensely benefitted households near these power plants. On one hand it has lowered the dependence on erratic grid supply and on the other, created a new power source in remote off grid locations.
Technology boost to Ebola Control in Africa
Airtel’s state-of-the-art network and wide geographical presence propped up Ebola control initiatives.
Earlier in August, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the current Ebola outbreak in West Africa, a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC). Airtel Africa’s multi-pronged initiatives to strengthen governmental efforts to control the spread of the deadly virus have been widely appreciated across the affected region.
In Sierra Leone, the worst affected country, Airtel launched a large scale awareness campaign in schools reaching out to over 35,000 children about the preventive measures against Ebola. The Company launched a contact tracing programme in partnership with the Ministry of Health and United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) as well. Airtel donated more than US$ 90,000 including a day’s salary of its employees towards Ebola control initiatives.
In Ghana, Airtel has donated 70 hand-held infrared thermometers worth GH ¢ 25,000 to the Ministry of Health to support Government’s action to prevent Ebola. In other countries like Zambia and Republic of Congo, Airtel launched several awareness campaigns towards sensitising the public on the deadly virus.
World Health Organization has recognised Airtel’s ‘Contact Tracing’ programme as the best practice to curb Ebola.
From being a school drop-out who helped his father to support his family of five to a rank holder in Class X, Bhupinder Singh, a former Satya Bharti Adarsh Senior Secondary School (Fattubhila) student is pursuing his dream of becoming a soldier in the Indian Army.
Young Bhupinder Singh goes emotional as he recalls the odds he had to overcome in life. He lost his mother at the age of five. Soon, he dropped out to of school to help his father in supporting his family. Often, he could be spotted at construction sites in his village (Fattubhila, near Amritsar, Punjab) selling tea while his peers were at school.
With each passing day, as he sold tea, Bhupinder was losing faith in himself and appeared resigned to his fate. One morning, the teachers of Satya Bharti Adarsh Senior Secondary School spotted him. Sensing his interest towards academics, the teachers convinced his father to allow Bhupinder to join school again. He had earlier studied up to grade V.
In 2011, he enrolled at Satya Bharti Adarsh Senior Secondary School (Fattubhila) where he excelled in academics and extra-curricular activities.. He was a rank holder at the Class X CBSE Board Examinations, 2016.
Despite tough conditions at home, his confidence grew as his list of achievements increased by the day. Presently, he is training hard as a general duty soldier at the Indian Army’s Sikh Light Infantry Regimental Centre at Fatehgarh in Uttar Pradesh, which will be over in April, 2018.
Bhupinder Singh is one of the many inspirational characters who symbolize the transforming impact of Bharti Foundation’s Satya Bharti School Program in rural India.