Social Responsibility and Charity
Our approach to charity
Charitable activities are an integral part of our culture and corporate social responsibility. In line with the sustainability principles set out in the Social Charter of Russian Business, we are committed to contributing to social well-being, including in local communities across our footprint.
Creating an accessible digital environment
Developing a digital educational environment
Supporting Company employees
Supporting target audiences
Orphans and children deprived of parental care aged 10 to 21
People with disabilities
Digital talents (high-school and university students)
Foundations and not-for-profit organisations
Company employees in difficult life situations
Our Charity Policy is the key document governing MegaFon’s charitable activities. The Charity Policy sets out the goals and objectives of MegaFon’s charitable activities and the principles and procedure for charitable project selection, and outlines the stakeholder engagement process.
In line with its Charity Policy, MegaFon provides support to charities only. It does not support individuals, businesses, religious organisations, public authorities or officials, political organisations, parties or movements, or candidates running for national, regional or local elected offices.
MegaFon’s charity expenses totalled RUB 433.8 million in 2020.
MegaFon’s charitable activities aim to:
- Contribute to addressing social problems in local communities throughout MegaFon’s footprint by leverage our business expertise
- Facilitate the creation of a digital educational environment that improves the quality of life for everyone in Russia.
Objectives of MegaFon’s charitable activities:
- Provide consistent and effective support in solving pressing social problems in Russia using our professional expertise
- Promote smart charitable activities by helping Russian charities and NGOs effectively engage with the business community.
Selection criteria, performance and value assessment of charitable initiatives
Established in 2013, MegaFon’s Charity Committee is responsible for making decisions on which charitable projects to support. The Charity Committee also coordinates our social initiatives, monitors their progress, and assesses their social impact. The Charity Committee is comprised of MegaFon’s PR, HR, legal and security experts. The HR function of the Company’s Head Office is responsible for the overall coordination of our charitable activities.
Our Charity Policy is the key document governing MegaFon’s charitable activities.
As the Charity Committee reviews proposed social projects and decides which ones to support, it gives preference to long-term and scalable initiatives capable of delivering actual tangible benefits. In doing so, MegaFon consults with stakeholders, including our employees and the expert community.
Eligibility criteria applied by MegaFon to proposed charitable projects:
- Systematic approach with lasting benefits
- Efficiency and sustainability
- Potential for development in the medium term
- Potential for scaling-up across Russia
- Potential for addressing multiple problems through efforts in a given area
- Potential for leveraging MegaFon’s capabilities and engaging its employees across the regions covered by the proposed project
- Guaranteed credibility of the beneficiary or the partner
- Transparency of the funding scheme
To deliver maximum value, each project is assessed against a number of quantitative and qualitative metrics developed together with experts. In this process, MegaFon closely collaborates with Russian and international expert communities and federal and regional authorities to share best practices and maximise synergies.
Quantitative performance metrics applied by MegaFon to charitable projects:
- Nature and level of expenses
- Number of participants in charity programmes (beneficiaries, experts, specialists, volunteers)
- Number of cities and institutions involved in the project
- Number of events held as part of the project
- Number of employees engaged in corporate volunteering and other charity programmes
The qualitative performance metrics applied by MegaFon to charitable projects include the actual tangible benefits from the initiatives, such as improvements in the beneficiaries’ lives, consistent approaches to problem-solving, and the contribution to an improved social fabric.
MegaFon conducts online and offline surveys among stakeholders to assess their satisfaction with completed charity programmes. The survey findings shape our decisions on whether to continue or adjust a programme, or whether the programme partners should be replaced.
Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on MegaFon’s charitable activities
In 2020, we continued to advance all our major planned projects that did not require face-to-face contact, driven by the enablers set up within our key pillars of developing a digital educational environment and creating an accessible digital environment. The projects have seamlessly shifted online, expanding the audience of participants and opening up new ways to deliver high impact in an online environment.
We have postponed the implementation of some projects centred around face-toface events and competitions until after the pandemic restrictions are lifted.
On a separate note, in May 2020, MegaFon joined the “Giving a Lot: Computers for Children” project of the All-Russian People’s Front (ONF) as part of the #allinthistogether mutual aid campaign.
The Company sent 20,000 smartphones to schools across Russia, enabling access to remote learning for students from low-income families amid COVID-19 restrictions.
Creating an accessible digital environment
- Universal Mobile Assistant programme
- Object Recognition app for the visually impaired
- Creating video profiles for children waiting for adoption
- Supporting the activities of volunteer search and rescue crews
Object Recognition app for the visually impaired
In 2020, supported by MegaFon, Sensor-Tech Laboratory launched the Object Recognition Aid for the Visually Impaired, a mobile app that helps navigation by recognising objects, reading pedestrian signs and identifying the locations of doors and stairs. The app plays out the names of objects and will also benefit deaf-blind users: a special tactile mode was developed for them. The service has a novel mix of features – the app’s menu is fully available in Russian, and it can be used offline and downloaded for free on Android and iOS devices.
Universal Mobile Assistant programme
Since 2016, the programme has been expanding the range of opportunities to help visually impaired people in society, and to empower them through advanced mobile solutions that can help address their disabilities.
During 2020, blind and visually impaired schoolchildren were the main target audience for the project. The programme has helped students from participating specialised boarding schools to shift to remote learning in a more frictionless and seamless way amid the pandemic. The programme trainers advised students and educators on setting up and using specialised software and hardware for online learning solutions.
The programme gives blind and visually impaired people an opportunity to learn how to operate touchscreen smartphones by hand. The relevant training programme covers both general and special features such as talking books, object recognition and tagging, satellite navigation, live video call assistance, audio description, and others.
Master classes, round tables, webinars, preparation of training materials and communication with developers take place in parallel with training delivery.
In 2020, the programme covered 32 regions, helping more than 4,000 people, training 19 new trainers, and delivering over 1,000 training events. Since launch, the advisory centre has benefitted 2,984 visually impaired people.
Programme partner: The Camerata Nizhny Novgorod Regional Rehabilitation Centre for the Visually Impaired.
Developing a digital educational environment
- SkillCity infotainment service
- Connect and Be Successful! programme
- The Giving a Lot project within the #allinthistogether campaign
- Development of the Polytechnic Museum
- Development of Saint Petersburg State University’s Graduate School of Management
- International Collegiate Programming Contest (ICPC)
- “Artificial Intelligence: A Quick Start Guide” project
- The DOBRO 2020 conference
SkillCity infotainment service
The SkillCity infotainment service is a social initiative offering career guidance for the digital world and socialising online to children, teenagers and young people.
In 2020, together with the FOROTECH Foundation, MegaFon built an entire virtual city in the service’s digital space, complete with offices of real companies. Each office has several vacancies, and any child can apply for a job, learn about a certain trade and the skills mix required, e.g. of a UX designer, and then find out where to start getting those skills now. A pay cheque in the game currency that can be exchanged for real prizes is a nice bonus that comes with every job.
In 2021, we plan to open a university campus to provide answers to the question of “Where to enrol if you have chosen to become a digital professional?”.
At the end of 2020, SkillCity had:
Development of the Polytechnic Museum
As part of our effort to support the Polytechnic Museum and generate publicity for digital technology advancement, we tested a public programme delivered both offline and online in 2020. Three audience engagement formats were launched concurrently:
- What’s Next?, a frank conversation with researchers and experts about what the future will look like. In 2020, three episodes were produced in this format
- A World Café, a discussion format inviting every participant to express his or her opinion. The goal of the project was to provide greater visibility and publicity to the expectations of the museum’s operations, and increase the transparency of its activities
- A Brunch with Scientists, a series of Sunday brunches where city residents get first-hand news about what’s going on in science labs.
As part of our cooperative efforts with the museum, which is in Moscow, the Technology in the City outdoor exhibition was also held, showcasing the technologies used to keep the city running smoothly that are not readily visible to residents.
We also completed the development of the agenda and space for the children’s science museum and published a series of books in cooperation with established publishing houses.
The exhibition attracted
The DOBRO 2020 conference
Since 2015, MegaFon, Dobro Mail.ru, and Metalloinvest have been holding the DOBRO (Business Discussion of Philanthropy for Societal Development) annual educational conference for foundations and not-for-profit organisations. The goal of the conference is to foster dialogue between not-forprofits, businesses, and society, and to enhance the impact of social projects in Russia.
The conference, which was held for the sixth time in 2020, attracted more than ten times the usual number of participants and was recorded for later viewing as it shifted online for the first time.
For the first time, eminent international speakers were invited to participate in the conference – Ann Mei Chang, author of the book Lean Impact, and Ewa Konczal, Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) Manager, the European Venture Philanthropy Association (EVPA).
The conference programme was informed by insights in the context of not-for-profits’ operations during 2020 – the COVID-19 pandemic, the shift to work from home, the increasing role of information technology in delivering programmes, etc. Educational modules featured discussions on the importance of partnerships, technology and experimenting in the social sphere, bringing together not-for-profits, businesses and authorities.
The conference brought together
Supporting Company employees
MegaFon helps its employees and their family members who find themselves in difficult life situations, including by paying for critical illness treatment (in addition to the VHI programmes and financial support).