Zain Group, a leading mobile telecom innovator in seven markets across the Middle East and Africa, announces the success of phase two of its thought-provoking Internet Monsters campaign that witnessed millions of views on the company’s social media channels.

The recent continuation and success of the Internet Monsters campaign that was first launched in mid- 2021, has further raised awareness on the risks children face online, with lessons being taught through the adaptation of popular fairy tales including Little Mermaid; Sleeping Beauty, Pinocchio, Rapunzel, Hunchback of Notre-Dame and Alice in Wonderland.

The media campaign is in support of and in alignment with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 16.2 calling on ending all forms of violence against children by 2030. It also reinforces Zain’s recent joining of the United Nations Global Compact initiative, of which 10 principles includes upholding human rights and protecting children in the digital and physical realms.

Facilitating child helplines
Moreover, in commemoration of World Children’s Day on 20 November, Zain has entered a
Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with ‘Child Helpline International’ to mobilize and facilitate child helplines in the region with the goal to promote children’s rights across Zain’s footprint.

Zain’s relationship with Child Helpline International commenced in 2014, given its leading role in sharing research, knowledge and experiences to enhance the quality of child helplines globally, with over 160 helpline members in 140 countries and territories around the world. This made Zain one of the first companies in the region to boldly tackle this sensitive subject head-on.

Commenting on the latest child safety online campaign and the MoU, Bader Al-Kharafi, Vice-Chairman and Group CEO of Zain said, “As a leading telecom player whose business is based on providing meaningful connectivity, it is our responsibility to safeguard the most vulnerable members of our society from the dangers online activity may give rise to. We embrace this opportunity to continue working with Child Helpline International, highlighting the grave issue of online protection for children through this successful and thought-provoking media campaign.”

Jennifer Suleiman, Zain Group Chief Sustainability Officer commented, “Our Sustainability strategy has targets under the Generation Youth pillar to address the issue of online safety for children. Zain is committed to ensuring we play our role in making the internet a safer space for everyone in general, and children in particular. We remain committed to raising awareness on internet safety and look forward to continuing to expand our work with Child Helpline International and others.”

Patrick, Krens Executive Director, Child Helpline International commented, “We are delighted to renew our partnership with Zain. Our Memorandum of Understanding – which puts our child helpline members at its very heart – strengthens our position in the MENA region, and our joint ability to support and start up national child helplines in the countries in which Zain operates. Working together, we can help child helplines reach even more children and young people, helping to ensure that no child in the region is left unheard.”

More on Internet Monsters campaign
Internet Monsters showcases alternate plotlines to well-loved children’s stories, taking into
consideration how online risks such as cyberbullying; self-generated child abuse content and materials, social media addiction, or widespread online scams and threats could come to the fore if technology was introduced into the telling of the fairy tales.

This latest awareness drive by Zain also includes the commissioning of a dedicated illustration that draws attention to the fact that children can report online risks and abuse by calling their national child helplines. The campaign also includes the development of two animated videos narrating different safety tips, to be shared with children, on how to protect themselves online. The videos are directed in a light and playful manner to appeal to children.

More on MoU with Child Helpline International
Through the latest MoU, Zain and Child Helpline International will explore ways to develop
collaborations between child helplines and key child protection stakeholders including governments, as well as ways to evolve child helpline platform technology, and expand services to include instant messaging and social media channels.

The MoU was established following extensive stakeholder engagement in which approximately 30 people from the two organizations attended a brainstorming workshop and discussed the objectives of the agreement and shared experiences and insights to formulate achievable goals and KPIs.

Through its collaboration, Zain will seek ways to mobilize helplines across its footprint, adding South Sudan and expanding across all of Iraq, as well as map out capacity-building and knowledge sharing plans in areas of interest based on the needs of the helplines.

These will be related to responsible usage of online connectivity, violence against children, child online protection, youth participation, and forcibly displaced children.

Zain recognizes that internet safety for children depends on parents, caregivers and children themselves being made aware of risks online and knowing how to help children avoid the harms of being connected digitally.

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