VIVA Bahrain’s Chief Officer for Government Relations and Special Services, Sheikh Zeyad Bin Faisal Al Khalifa, discusses the company’s community initiatives under VIVA Jusoor that have made a lasting imprint in the Kingdom of Bahrain.
Having worked with multiple start-up companies prior to starting work at VIVA, Sheikh Zeyad Bin Faisal Al Khalifa was part of the initial team that was responsible for the launch of the telecommunications company in the Kingdom in 2010. Six years on, VIVA is one of the nation’s leading telecommunications companies through its use of cutting-edge technology, effective approach to connecting with its customers, attractive offers and solutions that cater to everyone’s telecommunication needs, as well as actively building upon their Corporate Social Responsibilities. Sheikh Zeyad spoke to Perle Magazine about the rapid growth of VIVA in Bahrain over a short period of time, and their constant efforts to continuously give back to the community.
Entering the telecom industry in Bahrain as the third service provider, VIVA Bahrain experienced immediate success following its official launch. Combining a high visibility marketing approach together with industry-leading products, services and network, VIVA immediately delivered on its promise to provide satisfaction to its end-users.
But what truly made VIVA stand out from the rest, was the relationship it set out to build with the entire community of Bahrain. So how did VIVA manage to build such strong bond with the community? “The company’s success can be attributed to the trust and support of the local community and in line with our mission to ‘Make a positive difference in the local community by promoting a knowledge based society and participating in community development programs’, VIVA created VIVA Jusoor in 2011’, highlighted Sh. Zeyad.
He further commented, ‘This Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programme is dedicated to the development and execution of sustainable projects to benefit the local community by connecting people and facilitating a free exchange of experiences, ideas and information”.
Along with introducing VIVA Jusoor, the company also launched its first CSR-driven initiative at the Special Needs Support Exhibition (SNSE), allowing special needs people to be exempted from 50% of their VIVA monthly bills. Since then, it has been continuously introducing community projects with extensive reach and benefits and Sh. Zeyad proudly shares the most impactful initiatives implemented to date.
“In 2014, with the aim of reaching out to those in need during the Holy month of Ramadan, VIVA Jusoor set out a volunteering programme to reach out to the community by organising various activities including Iftar Saem, food donations and water distribution, across the Kingdom under the initiative Jusoor Al Ata’a. The initiative led by volunteers aimed at distributing Iftar food parcels for the less fortunate to break their fast. For along 2 years, Iftar Saem has reached out to over 50,000 people through the distribution of Iftar meals across 18 locations covering labour camps and local markets, including all the country’s governorates. With over 300 volunteers from all age groups taking part in the campaign, we reached out to the wider community from expats, to Bahrainis and the elderly. As our volunteer base kept increasing by calling for support using VIVA’s social media channels, the campaign was supported by several community influencers, form local football players, TV presenters, to bloggers and social media influencers.”
VIVA Manchester United Soccer Schools
In common with many countries in the Middle East, football is a passion among the local communities and leveraging on VIVA’s sponsorship of Manchester United there was an opportunity in Bahrain to launch a programme that provided the youth with a platform to showcase their talent on the game of football, while promoting unity and camaraderie. Being a fan of football himself as well as an acknowledged player in Bahrain, Sh. Ziyad shared with us details on VIVA Manchester United Soccer Schools?
“In 2011 VIVA and Manchester United, one of the most successful Premier League Clubs, launched Manchester United Soccer Schools (MUSS) programme. The initiative provided a platform for the youth of Bahrain to showcase their talent on the game of football. MUSS is a programme open to all footballers, boys and girls, 12-15 years of age who live in Bahrain. Registrations are open to participate in the two-day auditions. The unique format of the auditions ensures that every player gets an equal opportunity to showcase their skills and is evaluated on all parameters; physical and technical attributes, as well as individual skills. The 22 finalists, selected by UEFA-qualified MUSS coaches, win a week of expert football training sponsored by VIVA at the MUSS grounds in UK, accessing state-of-the art training.
Throughout the past five years, over 2,400 talented youngsters have participated in the MUSS programme, with 117 boys and girls having had the experience to travel and develop their football skills at one of the best training camps in the world.
But VIVA Jusoor has extended further and beyond, with its most recent initiative ‘Fereej VIVA’ launched in 2015. Sh. Zeyad highlights that “Fereej VIVA was unveiled with the first project being deployed in partnership with the Ministry of Housing.”
‘Fereej VIVA’ is a sustainable community initiative that encompasses various social programmes. The first project introduced, involved furnishing housing units built by the Ministry of Housing with the aim of benefiting Bahraini women, including divorcees and widows.
With the first phase of investments reaching over BD 100,000, the two-year sustainable community initiative has successfully served a number of low-income families by providing quality housing services and will extend its efforts to support more local families in the second phase.
“We are highly aware of the level of responsibility we have towards the Bahraini community and we are very glad that our initiative ‘Fereej VIVA’ has allowed us to meet those objectives. The first phase has been a great success with the support of the Ministry of Housing and we will reiterate our efforts under this initiative to stand by the government’s vision and support more members of the community.”
The ‘Fereej VIVA’ initiative runs in parallel to the royal vision to provide quality housing services for citizens with limited income. Beneficiaries are selected based on extensive internal studies by the Ministry of Housing on the applicant’s financial status.
Supporting the Kingdom’s Social Sustainability
Most recently, VIVA announced the construction of a new medical emergency unit in the Muharraq Social Welfare Center (MSWC). In addition, VIVA will contribute to the annual income of MSWC, which will be channelled towards the services, medical supplies, homing equipment and recreational amenities of the centre. Once completed in the first half of the year, the emergency unit will offer free emergency services for all residents of the centre.
This initiative comes in line with the commitment VIVA has in contributing to the Kingdom’s social sustainability. By cooperating with MSWC, this project aims at providing local senior citizens the highest quality services and medical care with respect to their integral role in building the positive society of today.
The MSWC currently accommodates 62 senior residents and provides free social, health, psychological, living and recreational care services. It also delivers care, rehabilitation, and treatment for the elderly in their place of residence.
Awards and Recognition
For its work performed under VIVA Jusoor in 2013 VIVA was awarded the Golden Order of Merit in the field of social responsibility in the Arab world by the Arab Organization for Social Responsibility in conjunction with the Tatweej Academy for Excellence Awards in the Arab region.
“We are extremely proud of how far we have gone along the way, yet our aim is to continue investing in lasting sustainable projects that benefit the community at large and the generate a strong bond between VIVA and the people”, concluded Sh. Zeyad.
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