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IHS Towers’ Frontline Workers’ Initiative – Transforming Lives Through Education

IHS Towers, one of the largest independent owners, operators, and developers of shared communications infrastructure in the world is becoming a global giant in the communications infrastructure industry.
The brand, with roots proudly in Nigeria, has expanded its footprint across three continents and ten countries, and is listed on the New York Stock Exchange. By tower count, it is the third largest independent multinational towerco globally and the market leader in seven of the markets in which it operates.
Driven by a vision of better connections, better opportunities, the company is committed to providing an enabling environment for society to communicate and businesses to thrive, while supporting education for the less privileged through its sustainability programs. The company understands that knowledge is a key driver of progress and economic growth.
As part of efforts to positively impact local communities, IHS Towers launched the Frontline Workers Initiative (FLWi) in September 2021, a philanthropic programme aimed at improving the lives of their frontline workers by covering the cost of their children’s university education. It was conceived as a way to recognise and reward those frontline workers who have given so much to the company, while at the same time, it seeks to address socio-economic and education inequalities.
“We live in a world where technology and connectivity are the backbone of global progress, but the unsung heroes who keep our networks running can go unnoticed. These frontline workers are critical to companies like IHS Towers. They play a pivotal role in ensuring that essential communication networks remain operational and help facilitate strong network uptime. We are proud to support their children through the Frontline Workers Initiative”, says Mohamad Darwish, CEO, IHS Nigeria.
The Frontline Workers Initiative seeks to fund life-changing educational opportunities for the most academically promising children of its frontline workers at leading colleges and universities in and outside of Nigeria. The aim is to provide a different path that enables beneficiaries to fulfil their academic potential and reach beyond their current social status. Not only does it provide IHS’ frontline workers with improved opportunities for a more promising future for their children, but the initiative is also a testament to IHS Towers’ commitment to corporate social responsibility and its belief in the transformative power of education.

Eligibility and Selection Criteria:
The FLWi is open to full-time employees and key suppliers of IHS Towers in select operational countries, specifically those in the company’s lower pay grades, including field engineers, technicians, drivers, security personnel, and office support staff.
Impact and Reach:
Since its inception, the FLWi has awarded over 50 scholarships with beneficiaries attending universities across Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Nigeria, Rwanda and Zambia, and internationally including in Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom. As of December 2023, 58% of these students were studying a STEM subject.
Sharing their experiences, beneficiaries stated that if not for the initiative their dreams of attaining university education would likely have remained just a dream.
In her remarks Agatha, from Enugu Strate, a student of Medical Laboratory Science at the Igbinedion University, Okada, Edo state, Nigeria, said, “I would love to be someone that can impact society, and I am glad IHS has enabled me to study a course that will help me add value to my life and the communities around me. I thank IHS for making this possible.” For Najib, a student of Computer Science at Skyline University, Kano, Nigeria, “My favourite and major courses are problem solving and programming, and I am happy that IHS is sponsoring me to study this course”.
For Toure, a student of Business Administration at the International University of Grand Bassam, Abidjan, Cote d’ Ivoire, “It is a dream come true. I would like to say a ‘big thank you’ to the IHS team. It has always been a big dream for me to attend a very good university, now I am living my dream. Thank you for everything you are doing for us, the children of IHS”.
Other beneficiaries who shared their experiences include Faith, studying Nursing Science at Igbinedion University, Okada, Edo state, Nigeria; Olabode, studying Political Science, and Anne, studying Business Administration both at the International University of Grand Bassam, Abidjan, Cote d’ Ivoire. They all expressed gratitude to IHS Towers for enabling them to pursue quality education.

Lessons Learned and Future Plans:
IHS Towers is committed to continuous improvement of the programme and supporting students to ensure standards are maintained. The beneficiaries’ stories are a testament to the initiative’s impact. A key benefit of the initiative is that once a beneficiary is accepted onto the programme, they continue to receive funding for their education even if their parent ceases to be an employee of IHS Towers.

A Commitment to Education:
IHS Towers’ commitment to education goes beyond the FLWi. The company has a history of supporting educational initiatives and recognizes that education is a critical tool for social and economic development, as evidence by their work with a broad range of national and international NGOs including UNICEF and Save the Children. The latter of which saw IHS support the education of approximately 24,000 girls aged six to 14 in Borno and Yobe states. In addition, the company is currently partnered with the Federal Ministry of Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy to establish the 3MTT Learning Community, a nationwide learning initiative designed to empower Nigerians with critical digital skills. The FLWi is therefore a natural extension of this commitment, focusing on those who can be overlooked in society – the frontline workers who keep the wheels of progress turning.
The Frontline Workers Initiative is more than just a scholarship programme; it is a lifeline for many families, offering hope and opportunities that were previously unimaginable. By investing in the education of the children of its frontline workers, IHS Towers is not only acknowledging the contributions of these unsung heroes but also paving the way for the next generation of leaders, innovators, and change-makers.
In a world where the gap between the haves and the have-nots continues to widen, initiatives like IHS’ FLWi are a reminder that corporations can play a significant role in bridging this gap.

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