Lonestar Cell MTN Contributes US$350,000 Through ‘Yello Hope Package’ To Fight Covid-19


MONROVIA – One of Liberia’s leading GSM companies, Lonestar Cell MTN, says it has contributed US$350,000 through its ‘Yello Hope Package’ to help contain the spread of the Coronavirus in the country.

In a release issued in Monrovia on Thursday, the company disclosed that since the outbreak of COVID-19 in Liberia, it has spearheaded the private sector support to beef up national efforts to combat the spread of the virus through the initiative.

The release maintained that as the nation experiences immense human, economic, and social cost of the COVID-19 pandemic, Lonestar has so far provided support through the provision of relief for customers and Liberians, and to also help the nation stay connected affordably.

The statement quotes Lonestar Cell MTN’s CEO, Uche Ofodile as saying: “We have stood with the people of Liberia through changing times and our commitment remains unwavering as we fight the COVID-19 outbreak”.

He noted that since the start of the pandemic, the company has supported the government’s efforts through its Y’ello Hope package, by supporting contact tracing and monitoring; carrying out mass hygiene and safety awareness through SMS, online and radio; and by bringing relief to those who need it the most.

“We are doing all we can to ensure that Liberia gets through this trying time and we will continue to do more as we navigate these trying times”.

The GSM company disclosed that it is helping the Government of Liberia, MOH and NPHIL with their on-going activities intended to eradicate the killer virus from the country.

The company pointed out that a donation of 500 phones, SIMs and airtime was made to MOH/NPHIL through the Office of the Vice President to be used for contact tracing and for people in quarantine to stay in touch with their friends and family.

The release states that additional support in the form of free airtime and SIM cards has been given to various rural communities to support the local efforts to keep people safe and protected, while over 100 health workers have been provided with a facility that allows them to call each other for free during this period as they coordinate their COVID-19 response activities and efforts.

The company notes that members of the Liberia Medical and Dental Association and the Press Union of Liberia have also been provided with a heavily discounted voice and data package to support their vital operations in keeping all safe and informed in this period.

Lonestar Cell MTN maintains that two toll-free lines (4455 and 0880000664) have been made available for Lonestar Cell MTN customers to call for assistance from the MOH and NPHIL and at the company’s offices and service centers, precautionary measures have been put in place to help slow down the rate of infection including enforcing social distancing protocols, temperature checks and washing of hands before entering the premises. 80% of the company’s staff are working from home.

In the release, the GSM company says it remains fully committed, as the situation evolves, to supporting the Government of Liberia and local communities to overcome the various challenges they faced while fighting to stop the outbreak.

“The company understands how vital reliable telecommunications services are during this period and has taken necessary steps to ensure that all services remain available without disruption for its customers. Its engineers are working around the clock every single day during this period to ensure that the network is always available because it is more important than ever to stay connected to loved ones”.

The release disclosed that Lonestar Cell MTN has also accelerated its rural coverage roll out and expanded its network to over 120 remote towns and villages.

By extending connectivity to these communities’ means that over 414,000 new customers no longer have to travel long distances to search for a signal because Lonestar Cell MTN is bringing the digital world and its benefits to them, it adds.

The release disclosed that so far, the Y’ello Hope Package has been instrumental on many fronts including, keeping customers informed about COVID-19 and how to stay safe and protected, an interactive Facebook live session held with the Minister of Health, Dr. Wilhelmina Jallah, which reached more than 10,000 people and helped to inform customers on the various actions being taken by the Government to ensure the safety of all Liberians as well as clear up any myths related to the pandemic.

The release states that over 2 million messages have also been sent out to Lonestar Cell MTN customers to provide them with health tips they can use during this very challenging time as well as additional messages going out on a weekly basis.

“20,000 customers have made use of the free *445# platform provided on Lonestar Cell MTN to get information on the symptoms of the disease and to access the contact information for MOH/NPHIL

In the last month, the company has made several posts on social media educating Liberians about the virus. These posts have reached over 250,000 people”.

It indicates that about 90% of all Lonestar Cell MTN radio ads have been re-recorded to focus on providing health tips to listeners on 41 radio stations across the nation and are broadcasted over 3,000 times a week, while anyone who calls a Lonestar Cell MTN customer will hear useful health tips as they wait for their calls to be connected

“Customers using Lonestar Cell MTN’s Mobile Money service on *156# can now transfer money to other users of the service for free as part of measures to encourage people to avoid handling cash. Over 70,000 customers have benefitted from this offer”.

The release indicates that more than 1,500 Mobile Money subscribers have also made payments for goods and services at merchant locations without paying extra service fees.

Additionally, on Mobile Money, the company adds that, customers can transfer money from their bank accounts to their Mobile Money accounts and vice versa with zero fees charged.

“Lonestar Cell MTN has also partnered with the ayoba instant messaging platform to give its customers the ability to chat, share photos and videos and more without the need to have a data bundle or airtime on your phone”.

“For students who are now taking their lessons at home as part of the new normal, over 20 local and international educational institutions and resources have had their websites zero-rated, which means customers can get access to the information without having to use data or buy a data bundle to continue their education”.