Of floods, deaths and the Vodafone Red Alert
By Gideon A. Sackitey
Accra, July 2 - Two weeks ago, about 30 people in Ashiaman,
Tema, Swedru and somewhere in Spintex right here in Accra
lost their lives in what was considered a rather moderate
storm that lasted for over 10 hours. The rest of the story
is countless damage to property valued at millions of cedis
and livelihoods that cannot be valued in monetary terms.
The cause (or causes) of this disaster is not my beef here
today, though it is of critical importance. We are all
aware that these seasonal floods can be avoidable.
Indeed while we find ways of stopping future
occurrences, the affected people should be helped to get
their lives back to normal, they should be supported to
retrieve that part of their lives that might have gone with
In times like these, it is an opportunity for the corporate
world to make their essence felt and their hearts to beat
for the people. Usually they would sign a cheque and make a
huge donation for PR and media mileage.
However, in their usual characteristic fashion, Vodafone is
leading the Way to alleviate the debilitating plight of the
25,000 people who were affected directly by the flood as
well as their dependants.
Let us get this straight. We definitely may not be able to
rebuild all the homes and the lives so destroyed by the
floods. But together, we can all help make it better for
them while offering them an opportunity to make a fresh
start in many respects.
How? Vodafone is using its unique RED ALERT programme to
reach out to all of its customers to come out in their
numbers to help their friends and relatives who are in need.
As the name suggests, it is a sharp call to action. Ghana is
once again in the rainy season and already we do not have to
make the deaths recorded go down the drain. The number may
be small compared to some other cases out there. But the
loss of one life is bad enough.
For the Vodafone Ghana Foundation, the body powering RED
ALERT, it is an opportunity to move out to do something. RED
ALERT is indeed a proactive move to the call by Mr Kofi
Portuphy, National Coordinator of the National Disaster
Management Organization (NADMO) that government needs
everyone’s contribution to support relief efforts. He called
for more assistance stressing that the current relief items
will last only a week. “We are in a real danger,” he stated.
Red Alert as stated, is an emergency SMS fundraising
programme that enables Vodafone to respond to emergencies
and disasters. It provides the facility for Vodafone
employees and customers in 21 countries to give free of
charge via SMS in response to disasters and emergencies.
Key to all this is the fact that all Vodafone SMS charges
associated with a Red Alert campaign are waived and charges
relating to VAT are subject to the relevant regulations in
The system is programmed for activation in other countries
such as Albania, Australia, Czech Republic, Democratic
Republic of Congo, Egypt, Fiji, Germany, Hungary, Italy,
Malta, Netherlands, New Zealand, Portugal, Qatar, Romania,
South Africa, Spain, Tanzania, Turkey and UK.
The main aim of the Vodafone Foundation is to use this
facility to develop partnerships which enhance long term
disaster response and preparedness activity, working with
organizations such as the United Nations Foundation,
Telecoms Sans Frontieres, and the World Food Programme.
It also seeks wherever possible to make a direct
contribution in response to critical humanitarian crises
providing immediate funds for use by the humanitarian
It is estimated that the Vodafone Foundation has invested
over £100 million in social investments around the world.
The Vodafone Foundation currently operates 23 local
Foundations worldwide, each funding local community
The Red Alert brings to life a genuine commitment to using
its scale as a force for good and supporting people in real
need. It offers Vodafone a unique platform to collaborate
with its customers for a good cause.
According to officials of Vodafone, the company will top up
whatever amount realized to bring relief to the public.
Are you touched? Are you moved by the crippling plight of
our brothers and sisters out there who through no fault of
theirs lost lives, livelihoods and property and want to
support the cause? Just text.
H – E – L – P TO 133 and contribute GHC1 to this worthy
cause. You can text as many times as you want and do not
forget that your decision can bring a cheer to many!