NEW YORK, 16 July 2015 – U-Report, UNICEF’s groundbreaking, text-message based innovation that amplifies the voices and views of young people in developing countries, has reached 1 million active users.
“U-Report started out as a local innovation to help young Ugandans engage on issues that affect their lives and futures. Today, young U-reporters from 15 countries, mostly in Africa, are using it every day to voice their opinions, connect to their leaders, and help change the conditions in their communities,” said UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake.
To become a U-Reporter, users equipped with even basic mobile phones text the word “join” to a toll-free short-code. Within moments, they can share their opinions on everything from the job skills they want to the best way to tackle epidemics. This information is instantly mapped and analyzed, yielding vital information and real-time insights about how young people see their world and what they think is most important. In turn, these aggregated views are used by development partners in their advocacy with governments — and even shared directly with elected leaders.
For example, every Member of Parliament in Uganda has signed up for U-Report to monitor and respond to what young people in their districts are saying about key issues. Some leaders have used it to strengthen immunization and other health campaigns.
“U-Report is an entirely new model for engaging young people, empowering communities, and holding governments more accountable,” said Jean Gough, UNICEF Representative in Nigeria, where the platform is helping UNICEF workers share critical information about Ebola, polio, and newborn care with families living in remote areas that health workers cannot easily reach.
More young people in a growing number of countries are joining U-Report every month, and UNICEF is working to scale up this and other innovations to reach the world’s most disadvantaged and vulnerable communities.
UNICEF promotes the rights and well-being of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.
For more information about UNICEF visit: www.unicef.org.