NEW YORK – The United Nations Global Compact, the sustainability platform that the United Nations has launched to remove poverty and ensure that all people live in peace and prosperity, has determined 10 SDG Pioneers – individuals from around the world who are championing sustainability through their own companies and mobilizing the broader business community to take action in pursuit of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, or SDGs. Among the SDG Pioneers recognized is Kaan Terzioglu, CEO of Turkcell.
“Each of the 2017 SDG Pioneers is exhibiting how companies and pioneering individuals can be a force for positive change in addressing the issues we all face today,” said Lise Kingo, UN Global Compact CEO and Executive Director. “Mr. Terzioglu has been impactful in showing how today’s technologies can empower distressed people in innovative ways. He has been a Pioneer in supporting refugees through mobile technology.”
Turkcell Chairman Ahmet Akca expressed his happiness about this meaningful award with the following words: “As Turkcell, we are acting with awareness of our responsibilities to leave a better Turkey for our children. We have developed various projects to support our brothers who have migrated from Syria, which is experiencing one of the greatest human dramas of the century we are living in. Today, every Turkcell employee has the diligence, hard work and effort in the projects we put into account in order to provide all sorts of needs; especially language learning for more than 3 million of our Syrian brothers whom we have hosted in Turkey, and for integrating them into the social environment. Finally, I congratulate all Turkcell employees, starting from General Manager Kaan Terzioglu, for their contributions to our country and to humanity which have earned this meaningful award given by the United Nations.”
Turkcell introduced the application of “Hello Hope” last year during the UN General Assembly week, at the United Nations Private Sector Forum. One year later, the same platform was being utilized by more than 500 thousand “Hello Hope” users – both making a difference in their lives and inspiring the world with its success story.
“When designing our solutions, we always set out with a simple question: How can we make the most meaningful difference in the lives of those who need it the most? It is our privilege to be a part of an industry which is extremely conducive to reaching large numbers of people with technologies that can really help” said Kaan Terzioglu. “For refugees, a smartphone is the most accessible and powerful tool for survival and livelihood. Coupled with connectivity and meaningful digital services, it becomes a tool for new beginnings and normalization of lives. We are humbled to see that the Syrians in Turkey have benefited extensively from what we have to offer – and we are proud to be a part of the UN Global Compact community as a private sector player which puts humanitarian issues at the center of its work.”
The “Hello Hope” mobile app, which Turkcell developed to support the integration of more than 3 million Syrian refugees living in Turkey, has reached more than half million downloads since its launch in September 2016 during the UN Private Sector Forum. Setting out with the goal of supporting Syrian refugees in Turkey to overcome the language barrier, the app which is open to subscribers of all operators helps users learn Turkish, have access to instant voice translation between Turkish and Arabic, and benefit from location based services and reliable information on essential issues such as registration, health and education. The application also offers easy access to Turkcell’s Arabic-language call center.
Turkcell recently complemented the mobile application with the phase 2 of the “Hello Hope” project. With the support of its public and private sector partners – AFAD (Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency of Turkey) and Prodea Systems – Turkcell built and equipped a fiber-connected technology center at a temporary refugee camp in Southeastern Turkish city of Kahramanmaras. Using the ultrafast fiber connectivity and classrooms equipped with IPTV sets and tablets, the camp’s residents – including 10 thousand children – can access education and lifestyle content.
Every year, Global Compact chooses “business leaders” who are attracting attention with their work that serves 17 global development goals. Between hundreds of candidates and projects from various countries, 10 names are set to inspire the global business world. The announcement of selected pioneers takes place at the Leaders’ Summit in New York.
Taking humanitarian and sustainable development as one of its priorities, Turkcell has been a member of the Global Compact, the world’s most widespread sustainability platform, since 2007. The Global Compact has 250 companies and non-governmental organizations in Turkey.