250,000th U-reporter registered in Uganda
More Ugandans using SMS platform, U-Report, to express their views and affect change in their lives
Kampala, 12 December 2013 – U-report, an innovative SMS-based platform that enables Ugandans to participate and engage in policy-making and governance, has registered its 250,000th member.
“Today we have hit another U-report milestone,” said Dr. Sharad Sapra, the UNICEF Representative in Uganda. “With 250,000 Ugandans now registered as U-reporters, Ugandans are increasingly seizing the opportunity to use U-Report to express their views and influence public policy and planning decisions that affect their lives.”
U-report enables those who register – known as U-reporters - to receive and respond to weekly SMS questions about Ugandan development issues as well as send SMS messages on specific matters that concern them - all at no cost to themselves.
Since its launch in May 2011, the number of U-reporters has steadily increased with thousands nationwide joining every month. It has also attracted strategic partnerships with civil society organizations, UN agencies and Government Ministries, who contribute by selecting poll questions and promoting the platform to Ugandan citizens, especially youth, as a tool for civic engagement.
Members of Parliament are now also utilizing the platform to solicit views of U-reporters in their respective districts on how to improve education, health and other issues affecting their constituents. With all 384 Members of Parliament participating in and receiving feedback from U-report, issues at the community level are being regularly heard by leaders.
“We are now seeing some impressive results from U-report“, said Dr. Sapra. “Whether it’s an MP requesting a U-report poll to better understand the issues and concerns of her constituents so she can better represent them in parliament, an MP launching a polio awareness campaign as a result of the limited knowledge about polio among her constituents revealed by a U-report poll, or a rapid response to an e-bola outbreak in one District, which was initiated because of reports on the outbreak by U-reporters, U-report is proving to have tremendous value in addressing the real-time issues that matter to young people across Uganda.”
With a growing international appreciation for U-report to enable youth to affect positive change in their communities, it is now being rolled out in South Sudan, Burundi and Zambia, with many other countries also interested in adopting it.
People can become a U-reporter in Uganda by texting ‘JOIN’ to 8500.
Note to Editors:
For more information, please contact:
Jaya Murthy, UNICEF Uganda, +256 717 171 110, firstname.lastname@example.org
Charles-Martin Jjuuko, UNICEF Uganda, +256 717 171111, email@example.com