Implementing the European Commission's initiative regarding the organization of helplines for children, operating all over Europe under one common number 116 111, proves to be an enormous challenge for all the EU member states. Owing to the involvement and cooperation of Polkomtel (main sponsor and technological partner) and Nobody's Children Foundation (NGO operating the service) Poland becomes the fifth country in Europe to provide an operational 116 111 helpline offering children in need of a toll-free contact with professionals. One of the key reasons behind Polkomtel's engagement in the 116 111 project in Poland is that the European initiative of creating 116 111 helplines relates closely to the spirit of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (in particular articles 12 and 13).
Other than financial contribution, Polkomtel provided access to new technologies making it possible to operate the 116 111 helpline and enabling nationwide accessibility from all landlines and mobile telephone networks in Poland.
The objective behind organizing the 116 111 Helpline for Children and Youth is to provide young people in difficulty with toll-free and anonymous access to supportive professionals. This goal remains in line with the policy of corporate social responsibility followed by Polkomtel - a company from the beginning of its existence actively engaged in various socially-important aspects of public life. By executing carefully planned CSR initiatives, Polkomtel SA provides support to a range of valuable projects in the area of culture, healthcare, education, sports and security.
Implementation of the 116 111 Helpline for Children and Youth project is based on dialogue between Nobody's Children Foundation and Polkomtel SA, as well as mutual recognition of individual needs. Such cooperation would be impossible without the immense engagement and support offered by the company's Board of Directors and all of its employees, with particular involvement of the:
- Corporate Communications Office - direct cooperation with Nobody's Children Foundation, coordinating the project's execution inside the company, disseminating information and promoting the helpline number in the media
- Product and Services Development Department - developing technological platform to operate 116 111 number, ongoing monitoring and technical support, auxiliary services
Joint efforts of Polkomtel and Nobody's Children Foundation are focused on the 116 111 Helpline for Children and Youth, which has, since its inception, been intended for long-term cooperation for the purpose of further developing this project and encouraging future involvement on the part of the government (Ministry of the Interior and Administration, Ministry of National Education), as well as corporate partners.
Polkomtel SA started its work on the execution of 116 111 project in Poland in July 2008 by initiating a dialogue with Nobody's Children Foundation. The dialogue and its ensuing cooperation so far made it possible to:
- Sign, in August 2008, an agreement sanctioning the cooperation between Polkomtel and NCF;
- Develop a technological platform enabling the operation of 116111 number and offering universal access for users of all Polish telephone networks;
- Activate 116111 helpline on the 6th November 2008;
- Develop and distribute to all Polish middle schools educational and promotional materials regarding the 116111 helpline (1.5 million recipients).
- Activating further consulting helpdesks - at present the helpline has a capacity to serve 4 simultaneous calls. Financial and technological contribution by Polkomtel will make it possible to launch further lines - and as a result enabling more connections with the 116 111;
- Continuing promotional and educational activities directed at children - educating different age groups, addressing the help-line's promotional messages at child-care institutions, organizing events for children associated with 116 111 Helpline, promoting 116 111 Helpline in the media;
- Promoting the development of counselors working for the 116 111 Helpline, expanding the projects team, supporting an internship program.
- Over 87,000 phone-calls from young people were received;
- 89 interventions were undertaken to salvage callers in life-threatening situations;
- Nearly 2,000 online questions were responded.