The Mayor of the City of Masvingo, His worship Councilor Hubert Fidze, has commended Econet Wireless for investing in the city and province of Masvingo.
The mayor was speaking as the guest of honor at an event organized by Econet to recognize and reward its brand ambassadors in Masvingo province.
"I want to believe, from what I have witnessed today, that your brand ambassadors have performed very well, and these awards are a testimony of how much you value them," the Mayor said, addressing the nearly 300 brand ambassadors gathered for the event at the Flamboyant Hotel in the provincial capital earlier this month.
The brand ambassadors, consisting of mainly young adults trained as 'foot soldiers' to promote and resell Econet's products and services in their communities, came from all the eight districts in the province.
"Your various products and services, of which I am also a user, have transformed people's lives and have created employment for several people in the city and across the province," the Mayor continued.
Econet Wireless is the largest telecoms company in Zimbabwe, with over 10 million connected customers. It has the widest voice and data networks and a wide range of products and services which include media and mobile financial services, as well as mobile insurance products.
The mayor thanked Econet for its corporate social investment - particularly in the area of education - and lauded the company for pioneering and growing financial inclusion through its EcoCash mobile money service.
"Your community engagement and successful corporate social responsibility programmes, educational scholarships, mobile and financial services have benefited and uplifted our people in the province, and indeed throughout the country," he said.
Masvingo city - which is situated strategically along the major transit route to the Beitbridge border with South Africa - has a population of close to 100.000 people, while the rest of the province - home to the Great Zimbabwe national monument and tourist resort - has a population of about 2 million people.
Econet, through Higherlife Foundation, offers scholarships and access to education to hundreds of thousands of children and young people through the Capernaum and Joshua Nkomo Scholarships, as well as through free, online curriculum-based learning resources on its Ruzivo Digital Learning platform.
The Masvingo event was attended by senior Econet executives, including Mr Krison Chirairo and Mrs Ivy Sithole (the acting Chief Sales Officer), who both took turns to address the brand ambassadors, to appreciate their work and to share with them practical business principles and useful entrepreneurship insights.
The Masvingo mayor's acknowledgment of Econet's contribution in the province follows the listed company's appointment of a full-time Regional General Manager for Masvingo Province, Mr Clemence Kawadza, who oversees the company's market activities on the ground in the region.
Speaking ahead of the prize-giving ceremony, Mr Kawadza said Econet was committed to bringing its services and products closer to its customers in Masvingo, and to growing with its partners and distribution channel members in the region.
"We are committed to bringing our products and services close to the people of this province - be it airtime or EcoCash facilities, Kwese media products or EcoSure insurance cover, whatever it is - we will do the uttermost best we can to ensure you have access to it," said Mr Kawadza, who is based in Masvingo.
Econet Masvingo Brand Ambassadors pose with their certificates after the awards ceremony
"Today we want to take the time to celebrate and recognize the great work you, our brand ambassadors, have done in the urban and peri-urban centres, in the growth points, the farms and villages in this province," Mr Kawadza said, underlining the channel width and depth of Econet's distribution network in the region.
The brand ambassadors attending the event responded well to the gesture - whistling, ululating and generally having good fun during the jovial programme, which included food, music, poetry and some morale-boosting 'war cries' in between by the brand ambassadors.
Coming from all the eight districts of Masvingo province - from Gutu, Chiredzi, Chibi, Nyika, Mwenezi, Masvingo Urban, Masvingo Rural and Zaka - the highlight of the event was when the six brand ambassadors who won the overall best sellers from their districts, walked away with prizes, which included (for each one of them) a Green Kiosk, a cash prize, and 200 free SIM replenishment stock - among other prizes.
The overall best winners by district were Kevin Madhara (Bikita District), Innocent Mhirishonga (Gutu), Jortam Marizani (Chiredzi), Tatenda Urayayi (Masvingo Rural), Replacements Madhema (Mwenezi) and Loraine Sifuwe (Masvingo Urban).
Speaking at the awards event, Princess Emanuel, a young female brand ambassador and Technite (Kwese technician/installer) from Masvingo urban, expressed her and other brand ambassadors' gratitude for the opportunity Econet has given them.
"I would like to thank Econet for the opportunity it has presented me and my colleagues. I have been challenged as a female BA (brand ambassador) to push and do more than I thought I could do," said Princess.
"I have been encouraged to take on challenges I would have passed up before, and this has given me the opportunity to learn," said the young brand ambassador, reflecting on the progress she has made so far.
"Today I am a fully trained, full qualified Technite, and I want to encourage my female colleagues to keep working hard and to learn new things that can really transform their lives".
Econet has signed up over 6.000 brand ambassadors countrywide, part of a 40.000-strong army of product distributors, dealers, agents and re-sellers spread across its distribution channels nation-wide.
The company - which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year and directly employs upward of 2 000 people - is believed to have ploughed over $3bn into the Zimbabwean economy through network infrastructure investment, down-stream job-creation and through taxes, levies, licence fees and other statutory obligations.