MTN’s Unique Collaboration With Every Shelter Offers Refugees With Long-Term Shelter

Refugees transforming a billboard skin into a Bashe Bora tent.
The telecom giant helps to this noble cause through its relationship with Every protection by donating high-quality billboard skins, an unusual material that has enormous potential for providing long-term protection.


A workshop teeming with purpose and creativity can be found in Kansanga, a busy neighborhood of Kampala. Every Shelter’s effort is leading a revolutionary mission to improve the lives of Ugandan refugees.

Every Shelter’s Programs and Operations Assistant, Emmanuela Zamba, radiates with excitement as she discusses their unprecedented relationship with MTN. MTN is a unique ally for Every housing, a worldwide NGO devoted to creating housing solutions for migrants.

MTN Uganda stands out in the lively world of advertising, deploying 69 billboard locations that cover an amazing 200,000 square meters throughout campaigns. However, with such visibility comes a great dedication to environmental stewardship, inspiring a concerted effort to appropriately recycle outmoded billboard skins.

The telecom giant helps to this noble cause through its relationship with Every protection by donating high-quality billboard skins, an unusual material that has enormous potential for providing long-term protection.

These billboard skins are methodically treated and reused into what is known as “Bashe Bora” – Swahili meaning “better tarpaulin.”
They set out on a quest not just to recycle abandoned skins, but also to design ‘Bashe Boras,’ unique shelter goods that promote sustainability while also helping to offset carbon emissions.

The metamorphosis is where the magic is. “We carefully clean and process every new billboard skin into a high-quality tarp, ensuring the advertising is no longer visible,” Emmanuela explains. “By combining black and white flexi’s, they create a material that reflects heat while maintaining privacy for the end user.”

Furthermore, they safeguard the branding of their generous contributors using a creative method that distorts the marketing, resulting in stronger and higher-quality items that last substantially longer – 7 to 8 years.

This project has a threefold impact. It not only employs refugees and the local community, but it also tackles global climate change issues by diverting marketing trash from landfills and giving these retiring billboards a valuable second life as Bashe Bora.

Each Bashe Bora produced offsets around 15 kg of CO2, so helping to environmental sustainability. Every Shelter’s collaboration with MTN has produced outstanding outcomes.

Every Shelter has reused over 150 tons of billboard material worldwide, including MTN billboard skins. The repurposed material has benefited over 25,000 people while offsetting an astounding 1,950,000 kilos of carbon dioxide.

MTN Foundation Manager Nelson Munyanda stresses the organization’s connection with Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) aims. “Our policy dictates that all waste produced must be recycled or repurposed,” Nelson said.

“By donating used billboard skins to Every Shelter, MTN significantly contributes to providing durable shelter to refugees in camps like Nakivale and Bidi-Bidi,” he says. These modified skins, which are five times tougher than standard tarpaulin, will provide a minimum of seven years of shelter for numerous families, housing at least 155 refugees from 34 donated billboard skins.”

He emphasized that the process not only provides shelter but also job opportunities because refugees are involved in the production of these tents, earning income while also repurposing excess materials to create durable shopping bags, which contribute to pollution reduction by replacing polythene bags.

MTN and Every Shelter are changing the narrative by offering sustainable housing solutions and limiting environmental effect, while also strengthening communities and giving hope to those in need – refugees seeking sanctuary and safety in Uganda.

This ground-breaking program has already accomplished tremendous feats:

Sustainability Impact: Using 1468.8 square meters of billboard trash, the cooperation has produced 31 Bashe Boras, giving housing for 155 refugees over a seven-year period. Furthermore, by substituting fresh materials with reused skins, our endeavor has mitigated about 465 kg of CO2 equivalents.

Impact on Livelihood: Each Bashe Bora produced generates two hours of money for a team of two people, resulting in a total of 62 labor hours available to urban refugees employed at the Shelter Workshop.

Shelter Impact: Thirty-one homes, each with an average of five people, now have access to a more robust and sustainable housing option.

By-products: Furthermore, the offcuts from the recycled skins are made into eco-friendly shopping bags, which contribute to a reduction in plastic pollution.

Uganda, which has one of Africa’s biggest refugee populations (about 1.5 million), benefits greatly from this program. The pilot phase alone reused about 1500 square meters of billboard skins, demonstrating the concrete impact produced in a short period of time.

This endeavor is in line with MTN Uganda’s commitment to activities that support Ambition 2025. It demonstrates a commitment that goes beyond simple advertising, exhibiting a persistent determination to make a good influence on communities and the environment.

Every Shelter works relentlessly to create long-term housing options for individuals who have been displaced, guaranteeing safety and dignity at their most vulnerable moments.

Consider giving through Every Shelter’s website at to donate to this great cause and be a part of this amazing journey.

Let us work together to provide a better future for refugees, one shelter at a time.