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GuarantCo provides USD 80,000 grant to support DeafTawk, a start-up supported by Jazz, Pakistan’s leading digital telecommunications company

In 2013, GuarantCo provided a USD 9.2 million credit guarantee to finance a mobile phone network in rural areas in Pakistan.

GuarantCo, a Private Infrastructure Development Group (PIDG) company, has pledged to grant USD 80,000 to DeafTawk, a local start-up incubated at the National Incubation Center (NIC) under the Jazz xlr8 incubation and accelerator programme. DeafTawk aims to provide on-line sign language services to empower people with hearing impairments.

“By creating connectivity opportunities for Pakistanis with learning difficulties, we are expanding our knowledge economy through mainstreaming our differently-abled citizens so they can contribute to national development. We are committed to leaving no one behind in terms of education and opportunities,” said Dr Shireen Mazari, Federal Minister for Human Rights.

“GuarantCo is delighted to be collaborating with Jazz, DeafTawk and the PIDG Technical Assistance Facility to co-finance the setup of an online sign language service to empower people with hearing impairments in Pakistan,” said Lasitha Perera, CEO at GuarantCo. “This builds on the work that we have already undertaken since 2013 with Jazz to finance, via a sukuk credit enhanced by GuarantCo, a mobile phone network in rural areas of Pakistan enabling a highly successful mobile phone-based literacy programme which has supported the education of 2,500 rural women. We are very excited to now be supporting this initiative, which we hope will make significant steps towards inclusion of people with hearing disabilities in Pakistan.”

“PIDG is excited to be part of this innovative project which will empower people with hearing impairments and allow them to communicate effectively. Inclusion is an important part of our work, and we are looking forward to follow the progress of this project,” said, Philippe Valahu, CEO at PIDG.

“It is a proud moment for us to see one of our Jazz xlr8 programme participants in DeafTawk receive international recognition and support,” said Aamir Ibrahim, CEO of Jazz. “Through its acceleration programme, Jazz is laying the foundation for a sustainable technology ecosystem by providing resources and expertise to help local start-ups fulfil their potential and grow communities.”

DeafTawk is a one of its kind local start-up having created an online solution for the connectivity of the deaf community with qualified sign language interpreters, while also working on building capacity of sign language interpreters for quality sign language services.  Through this solution, the Deaf community can access the services of a qualified language interpreter on video call. This allows them to easily communicate with the wider community without having to use sign language.

Through this grant, DeafTawk plans to uplift the scale and coverage of the application, while also building the capacity of interpreters, so they are able to provide services to both national and international audiences.

Notes to editors

About GuarantCo

GuarantCo mobilises private sector local currency investment for infrastructure projects and supports the development of financial markets in lower income countries across Africa and Asia. GuarantCo is part of the Private Infrastructure Development Group (PIDG) and is funded by the governments of the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Australia and Sweden, through PIDG, and the Netherlands, through FMO and PIDG. GuarantCo is rated AA- by Fitch and A1 by Moody’s. www.guarantco.com

About PIDG

The Private Infrastructure Development Group (PIDG) is an innovative infrastructure development and finance organisation which encourages and mobilises private investment in pioneering infrastructure in the frontier markets of sub-Saharan Africa and south and south-east Asia to promote economic development and combat poverty. PIDG delivers its ambition in line with its values of opportunity, accountability, safety, integrity and impact. Since 2002, PIDG has supported 170 infrastructure projects to financial close and provided 231 million people with access to new or improved infrastructure. PIDG is funded by six governments (UK, Netherlands, Switzerland, Australia, Sweden, Germany) and the IFC. www.pidg.org

About Jazz

Jazz is Pakistan’s largest digital telecommunications company. Serving over 58 million subscribers across the country. www.jazz.com.pk

Contact for GuarantCo

Marjolein van Kampen-Brooks
Communications Director
M: +44 (0)738 8857097
E: marjolein.kampen-brooks@guarantco.com

Contact for PIDG

Cecilie Sorhus
Head of Communications
M: +44 (0) 7917 302724
E: cecilie.sorhus@PIDG.org