LIVE FROM GSMA MOBILE 360 LATIN AMERICA, BOGOTA: While there is much to be done to improve the living conditions of children in Latin America, “it is important to understand we are doing better”, UNICEF said – and technology is a key enabler.
Marcelo Ber, child rights and business focal point for the organisation in Latin America (pictured, right), highlighted the importance of the mobile industry in areas such as identity services, without which citizens are unable to get access to healthcare and schools. He cited work with Millicom’s Tigo to address this.
With violence also a problem across Latin America, Ber said it is important for operators to offer children free channels to report bullying and violence – including online bullying, which has become a serious issue.
In areas such as controlling child pornography and online exploitation, “you as a sector are ahead of us – we can sit at the table and learn from you,” he said: “The digital realm is new to us.”
And, noting good work often begins at home, he pointed out the mobile industry supports around 2 million people in the region, meaning it has a direct impact on millions of families.
Rachel Samren, chief external affairs officer of Millicom (pictured, left), said following its work with UNICEF, it had created a “Mobile Operators Child Rights Impact Assessment Tool”.
“It’s a holistic way of looking at all our internal departments, looking at our policies, doing a self-assessment to see exactly where we might be lagging in terms of how we protect children, where there might be opportunities that we haven’t leveraged,” she said.
“It’s a tool that is available to the whole industry – we would like for all operators to use it.”