Rwanda Focus (Kigali)

8 March 2014

Rwanda: MTN Women Employees Donate Blood

Women employees of MTN have donated blood to mark the International Women's Day celebrated every March 8.

The women gave blood to the national blood transfusion center in a special retreat to discuss issues concerning women and their contribution within the company.

According to Mary Asiimwe, MTN's company's human resource manager, the blood donation was due to its necessity. "Blood is needed all of the time," she said, noting that MTN staff always donates blood in December to mark World Aids Day.

Clarisse Utamuriza, in charge of blood donor selection at the national blood transfusion center, commended the initiative, saying that it contributes greatly to save people's lives.

"Giving blood is giving life to people," she said.

While the demand for blood is huge, Utamuriza pointed out that many people still do not understand the importance of donation, or they refrain out of fear. She stressed that donating blood does not have negative consequences for the donor, and called upon the entire population to contribute.

There are few restrictions for blood donors - being at least 18 years old and weighing at least 50 kg, while some health conditions might also make one unsuitable as a donor.

MTN employee Aline Uwingabire Ndoli said her blood donation had opened her eyes, as she had been afraid to do so in the past. "I am happy to have given my contribution to the Rwandan community; there is no reason to worry about donating blood," she said.

As they celebrate the women's day, Mary Asiimwe pointed out that women need to take advantage of the opportunities in place to develop their families, communities and the country, as well as the companies they work for.

She also commended the fact that 44% of MTN's senior managers are women.

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