UN Secretary General and World Bank President Meet Uganda’s U-reporters
KAMPALA, Friday, May 24, 2013 - The United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, and World Bank President, Jim Yong Kim, today met a team of U-reporters at the Protea Hotel Entebbe, to discuss the U-report programme in Uganda and to support the World Bank and UN partnership for global expansion.
U-report is a free, SMS-based, social monitoring programme that gives Ugandan youth a platform to discuss community development issues.
During the meeting, the Secretary General and World Bank President engaged with the U-reporters to reflect on the impact of U-report as a vehicle for identifying community needs and as a platform for information-sharing. Three active U-reporters including the Woman MP for Yumbe District, Honourable Olera Huda Abason; Kampala-based Uganda Scout, Conrad Natse; and Gulu-based student, Jennifer Anena, participated in the discussion.
U-report recently partnered with the World Bank and Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries to help communities better understand the symptoms of Banana Bacterial Wilt Disease, and how best to prevent it. U-report subsequently engaged with 52,000 U-reporters over a five-day period, during which 380,000 messages were sent and received on the issue. The U-reporters were able to identify infected crops within their communities, and to seek expert advice.
"In implementing the U-report program, we have found it to be an innovative and cost-effective tool to get ordinary people involved in delivering development solutions. We hope to use the lessons learned to further mainstream U-report in our other programs in Uganda," mentioned Mr. Moustapha Ndiaye, World Bank Country Manager for Uganda.
The UNICEF Representative in Uganda, Dr. Sharad Sapra, described how this and other similar U-report partnerships were helping to safeguard resources meant to benefit vulnerable communities.
“A partnership with the World Bank is important to improve service delivery for communities, eliminate inter-generational poverty while giving community reporters an opportunity to engage with matters affecting them. Such partnerships ensure proper accountability across different sectors including but not limited to health, agriculture, education, child protection and social policy, as well as recognising the importance of community feedback in development processes.”
U-report has also developed strategic partnerships with several other organisations, including the Uganda Scouts Association, Girl’s Education Movement and faith-based organisations such as the Church of Uganda, Uganda Catholic Secretariat and Uganda Muslim Supreme Council.
At least 10,000 Ugandans from all over the county – most of them youth between 15 and 30 years old – join U-report every month through the result of a carefully tailored media and field recruitment strategy. They join using mobile phones, and receive weekly SMS poll questions soliciting their views and opinions on development issues.
“It is good that U-reporters want to be involved in making changes in their communities. It shows us that young people want to help, and they want to be part of these discussions,” says Honourable Huda, who has herself used the U-report programme to understand young people’s opinions on low immunisation rates. Since its launch in 2011, U-report has sent out more than 470 poll questions and received over 2,092,000 SMS messages on a range of issues.
Gulu-based U-reporter, Jennifer Anena, provides a great example of how U-report can be used as a catalyst for community and youth leadership in Uganda’s development: “When I receive the U-report text messages, I discuss them with my friends in class and we reply with our views together. It is my responsibility as a young person to stand up and speak out on things happening where I live.”
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For more information, please contact:
Proscovia Nakibuuka Mbonye, Communication Officer, UNICEF Kampala; 0 417 171 113; email@example.com
UNICEF works in more than 190 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments. For more information about UNICEF and its work visit: http://www.unicef.org