Disaster Response

10. Humanitarian Connectivity Charter: Mobile Industry Commitment to Supporting Affected Populations

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Panelists: Ms. Kyla Reid, Head, Disaster Response, GSMA; Ms. Alexandra Sicotte-Levesque, Communicating with Communities Coordinator, UN OCHA; Mr. Karim Khoja, CEO, Roshan Telecom; Mr. Ramon Isberto, Head, Public Affairs, PLDT and Smart Communications; Mr. Abdulla Hassan, Public Relations & Communications Senior Manager, Asiacell

Wednesday, 29 April, 14:20-15:0009_Humanitarian Connectivity Charter_presentation_screenshot

This panel discussion led by Kyla Reid and Alexandra Sicotte-Levesque “Humanitarian Connectivity Charter: Mobile Industry commitment to supporting affected populations” provided an introduction to the objectives of The Humanitarian Connectivity Charter and outlined its potential impact for humanitarian operations in the field and for improving access to communications for those affected by crises.

Panelists reflected on successful initiatives of Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) in providing services to people affected by crises, as well on what challenges and obstacles need to be addressed to ensure that the charter can be fully implemented.

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Ms. Kyla Reid
, Head, Disaster Response, GSMA09_Humanitarian Connectivity Charter_photo_Kyla Reid

As Head of the Disaster Response Programme, Kyla is responsible for leading the mobile industry in improving resilience and engaging in coordination initiatives that most effectively support citizens and humanitarian organisations on the ground following a crisis.

Prior to joining the GSMA, Kyla worked with a range of organisations focused on humanitarian response, failed and fragile state policy and development.

Kyla holds an Msc in International Development from the London School of Economics.


Ms. Alexandra Sicotte-Levesque
, Communicating with Communities Coordinator, UN OCHA

09_Humanitarian Connectivity Charter_photo_alexandra sicotte-levesqueAlexandra Sicotte-Levesque is UNOCHA’s Global Coordinator for Communications with Communities since July 2014.  Alexandra came to OCHA from the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) where she worked on humanitarian communications and deployed to the Philippines (Typhoon Haiyan) and Jordan (Syria crisis). Alexandra also worked in Sudan for more than three years in the field of media and development, first as Country Director for BBC Media Action and later as Radio Producer for the UN peacekeeping mission. In 2002, she co-founded the non-profit organization Journalists for Human Rights (JHR). Throughout her humanitarian career, Alexandra has also been a documentary filmmaker and has produced two feature films.

Originally from Montreal, Canada, Alexandra received her MSc in Human Rights from the London School of Economics.

Mr. Karim Khoja, CEO, Roshan Telecom09_Humanitarian Connectivity Charter_photo_Karim Khoja

Karim Khoja, Chief Executive Officer of Roshan, has over 25 years of experience in the telecommunications industry, including starting and managing extremely successful GSM companies in Pakistan, Poland, Croatia, Tajikistan and Afghanistan. Under his leadership, Roshan has grown to be Afghanistan’s market leader, with more than six and a half million customers. Mr. Khoja started his GSM career as CEO for Mobilink in Pakistan, and then launched Era GSM in Poland.  He then went on to spin out the mobile company, T Mobile, from the incumbent Croatia Telecom.

Over the course of the last eleven years, Mr. Khoja has dedicated his time to the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development (AKFED) to bring competition and best practices to the telecommunication industry in Afghanistan and Tajikistan. He has focused not only on financial results, but also on how technology can be used to change lives.

Mr. Khoja serves on the board of IPS West Africa and T Cell in Tajikistan. He is the Chairman of the Afghan Investment Climate facility (Harakat), a £30m fund to encourage private enterprise, an advisor to the GSMA Development Fund and until a year ago a Associate Board Member of the Legatum Center at MIT.

Mr. Ramon Isberto, Head, Public Affairs, PLDT and Smart Communications

09_Humanitarian Connectivity Charter_photo_Ramon IsbertoMr. Isberto is the concurrent Public Affairs head of the Philippines’ biggest telecommunications firm, the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company (PLDT), and its wholly-owned wireless subsidiary, Smart Communications Inc.

His media experience spans over 30 years of work in newspapers, wire service, television and public relations. He was a special sections editor of a leading Philippine business daily and Manila bureau chief of an international wire service covering not only domestic events, but also regional and international development issues. He was executive producer of a leading public affairs program and a talk show host of a business and general affairs morning program. He also served as the vice president for public affairs of a major broadcast network.

Outside of the PLDT Group, Mr. Isberto is the president of the Corporate Network for Disaster Response (CNDR), a fellow of the Social Weather Stations, an independent opinion poll organization, a member of the National Press Club, the Philippine Futuristic Society, and the Economic Journalists Association of the Philippines. In 2012, Mr. Isberto was conferred with the prestigious Accredited in Public Relations (APR) distinction from the Public Relations Society of the Philippines (PRSP) for displaying excellence and integrity in the practice of the profession.

Mr. Abdulla Hassan, Public Relations & Communications Senior Manager, Asiacell09_Humanitarian Connectivity Charter_photo_Abdulla Hassan

Abdulla Hassan is the Public Relations and Marketing Communications Senior Manager of Asiacell, the first Iraqi telecom company.  Hassan assumed this position in 2009 to lead a capable team of 32 Public Relations and Marketing Communications professionals. Hassan has scored numerous achievements as the company’s PR & MarCom manager, most notably of which is increasing the company’s brand image and corporate reputation in a record time of 3 years. As the company’s PR & Communications head, Hassan shoulders the responsibilities of devising and implementing Asiacell’s PR long-term strategies, monitoring the work process and controlling quality of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), sponsorship programs, media relations strategies, creativity and managing marketing communications.

Since joining Asiacell in 2005, Hassan has assumed a number of critical positions at the company. He was appointed as the official spokesperson for Asiacell, for which he was greatly qualified due to his staggering ability to communicate with the various media and social segments in the country.

Hassan acquired B.A. in English Language and Literature from Sulaimanya University in 2000. He also acquired a Master’s degree in Business Administration, International Management and Leadership 2011 at the American University in Iraq.

Links to related material:

GSMA Disaster Response
UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
GSMA Humanitarian Connectivity Charter
Roshan Telecom
Smart Communications
Asiacell