BY: Mpofu Sthandile.

MTN SA’s ‘21 Days of Y’ello Care’ employee volunteerism programme has kicked off for 2023 and will be addressing skills and socio-economic challenges across the country this month – starting with e-waste. 

Until end-June 2023, MTN employees across South Africa will be participating in high-impact social projects in communities within which the company operates, under the theme of empowering entrepreneurs to unlock growth and job creation for communities.
The first project will see MTN SA actively taking steps towards addressing e-waste or (electronic waste), by partnering with Gauteng eGovernment and the University of Johannesburg Centre of Emerging Researchers to train youth in e-waste management.

A total of 25 young people from the region have been recruited by Gauteng eGovernment to participate in the programme which aims to empower these young individuals with knowledge and skills related to e-waste, including its importance, how it works and the entrepreneurial opportunities it presents, which will ultimately contribute to the communities’ growth and job creation.  

E-waste has become a critical issue in the 21st century due to the rapid advancement of technology and the widespread use of electronic devices. It refers to discarded electronic devices such as smartphones, computers, televisions and other electronic equipment that have reached the end of their useful life. 

The volume of e-waste generated worldwide has been steadily increasing due to the proliferation of electronic devices and shorter product lifecycles. According to the United Nations Global E-waste Monitor, approximately 53.6 million metric tonnes of e-waste were generated globally in 2019. The trend is expected to continue with projections showing that by 2030, annual e-waste generation worldwide will have increased by 30%.  

Addressing the e-waste challenge requires a collective effort from governments, businesses, consumers, and other stakeholders. 

“The partnership between MTN SA, Gauteng eGovernment, and the UJ Centre of Emerging Researchers demonstrates a collaborative effort to address the environmental challenges posed by e-waste in an effort to create sustainable solutions,” says Arthur Mukhuvha, General Manager: MTN SA Foundation. 

Responsible e-waste management involves practices such as proper collection, recycling and disposal of electronic devices. It also includes refurbishing and extending the lifespan of electronics, promoting repair and reuse, and adopting sustainable design principles to create more easily recyclable products. 

“By taking proactive measures and promoting responsible practices, we can mitigate the environmental impact of e-waste and create a more sustainable future,” continues Mukhuvha. 

This initiative is in line with MTN Group’s Ambition 2025, which emphasises the creation of shared value as a strategic priority, integrating environmental, social, and governance (ESG) considerations into the company’s operations.  

In addition to the e-waste management training, representatives from various MTN SA departments will be sharing insights and knowledge on managing a business, branding and marketing, utilising technology, going green, and delivering excellent customer service – enabling the youth to build successful and sustainable e-waste management businesses. 

“At MTN, we believe that everyone deserves the benefits of a modern connected life. By combining employee volunteerism and strategic partnerships, with a focus on empowering entrepreneurs, MTN SA aims to make a positive impact on communities. In doing so we can help foster sustainable practices and contribute to the overall well-being and development of South Africa’s people, economy, and future,” concludes Mukhuvha.  


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