Airtel Kenya has bagged the Annual Kenya Red Cross Humanitarian Effort Award. The telecommunications company received the award in recognition of Airtel’s continued support and contribution to the Kenya Red Cross Society’s work of alleviating human suffering and saving lives through the Short Message Service (SMS) based Trilogy Emergency Relief Application (TERA).
Launched a year ago, TERA is the first of its kind location based public emergency information service in Kenya. Ther service was launched to offer disaster management information to Airtel customers across the country through their mobile phones at the touch of a button in emergency cases or outbreaks such as floods, fire and terrorist attacks.
The TERA application, hosted on the Airtel network is designed to be operated remotely, allowing the Kenya Red Cross staff to easily use it live in any disaster cases. Unlike traditional SMS services, which require broadcast messages to be delivered to every subscriber. It enables the Kenya Red Cross to specify a particular region or even a neighborhood to send text messages to affected people through their mobile phones. The affected communities are also able to send updates messages with information concerning the situation on the ground back to the Kenya Red Cross. Consequently, TERA text messages elicit exceptional response rates from mobile phone users in need of aid, giving them an effective voice in the management of their situation.
“We are delighted with the recognition of our efforts in using technology to provide life-saving information to our communities in Kenya. We will continue to adapt and effectively deploy more such solutions to enrich the lives of our customers.” Airtel Kenya CEO Adil El Youssefi said while accepting the award.
Kenya is the second country in Africa to use the TERA technology. The technology was first used in Sierra Leone where International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) partnered with leading mobile operators to reach out to people during the Ebola crisis.
“We are grateful to Airtel for enabling us free access to The TERA system that helps us save lives through timely delivery of targeted advice to disaster affected communities by making our disaster relief efforts more efficient. It also helps to give communities a voice, ensuring that the correct type of aid is delivered to the right places. Most of all, it lets disaster affected people know that they are not alone, giving them the strength that they need to carry on”, said Kenya Red Cross Secretary General Dr. Abbas Gullet.
The award was handed over to Airtel Kenya at this year’s Kenya Red Cross Volunteer Awards that seeks to recognize acts of great contribution by private organizations, youth groups, individuals as well as institutions such as Universities for their exceptional support to the organization’s humanitarian mission.
Airtel Kenya was distinguished from among its peer organizations in Kenya including NIC Bank, Safaricom M-Pesa Foundation, Base Titanium and CBM for their respective contributions to the cause of Kenya Red Cross and Red Crescent movement.