Orange has today signed agreements with two international organisations committing to help improve lives of communities. The occasion was graced by France Telecoms Vice President for East Africa Michel Barre and Telkom Kenya Chief Executive Officer Mickael Ghossein at the Telkom Kenya company headquarters in Nairobi.

Orange signed agreements with Text to Change and mPedigree as part of a global initiative that will be undertaken in all East African countries that Orange operates in with a view to helping improve the quality of life among the people in respective countries.

Text to Change is a Dutch non-governmental organisation that has led the way in using Mobile telephony to promote awareness of humanitarian and health-related issues. It operates in collaboration with other NGOs, mobile network operators and other partners in the private sector based in countries across the developing world.

mPedigree is a pan-African partnership of telecom, pharmaceutical and computing industries.

The signing of the two partnerships in Africa marks the start-up of operations of the France Telecoms Group’s healthcare division in the continent.

They partnerships include:

  • mPedigree, which aims to develop an SMS-based system that enables people based in Kenya and Cameroon to check the authenticity of drugs.
  • Text to Change, which aims to use SMS-technology to raise awareness and provide an alert system on child exploitation in Cameroon;

2.5 million customers of France Telecom in Africa will be able to participate in the initiatives when officially launched.

Partnership with Text To Change

In this arrangement, Orange will provide technical support for healthcare-related operations in countries across Africa where Orange is present.  The first concrete application of this partnership will involve an SMS-based campaign to increase awareness of child exploitation in Cameroon.

Working together with the CIPCRE (International Circle for the Promotion of Creation), Orange and Text to Change will launch a survey in April 2011 on child trafficking and sexual exploitation by sending SMS messages containing facts and questions to around 200,000 Orange subscribers in western Cameroon.

Feedback from the survey will then be used by the CIPCRE to broadcast a series of educational radio programmes on the issue aimed at challenging taboos surrounding this widespread problem. In parallel, a free SMS reporting system will be set-up, allowing people to report cases of child abuse anonymously.

Partnership with mPedigree

Through its agreement with mPedigree,Orange will participate in the fight against counterfeit drugs in Kenya and Cameroon, where up to 25% of drugs are potentially affected. The initiative involves printing a unique verification code, which is hidden behind a scratchable surface layer, on each packet or bottle of medicine.

Patients can then submit this code via SMS in order to automatically check the authenticity of the drug against a database stored in Europe. Each request is free and takes only a few seconds to verify. Orange will provide the technical support for the system in these two countries once the service starts up in May 2011.