U-Report's Identity Crisis: Help us out!

The beauty of U-Report is that it is used in a different way in each of the 60 and ever-growing number of countries that have their own U-Report platforms.

Vicky Maskell, U-Report On The Move Coordinator
Yamoussoukro U-Reporters
UNICEF/UN0325532/Diarassouba

22 July 2019

Most UNICEF colleagues have heard of U-Report, the youth engagement platform that amplifies the voice of youth and brings about positive social change, but few know how to unleash its true power. It’s having an identity crisis because people still refer to it as ‘that way we can poll youth’… and, quite frankly, that’s like saying UNICEF is an organisation that only supports those under three years old – it simply isn’t true.

Youth delegates participated in icebreaking and networking activities at the Building 21st Century Changemakers workshop in Bangkok.
UNICEF/UN0208497/Preechapanich
Youth delegates participated in icebreaking and networking activities at the Building 21st Century Changemakers workshop in Bangkok.

U-Report is a tool that’s constantly evolving. Long gone are the days where we just send out fortnightly polls, aggregate the results and use them to advocate for change. That’s a central component of U-Report, but if you think that’s all that U-Report can do, you are missing the true value of this multi-faceted tool.

Young U-Reporters from Abidjan, in Côte d'Ivoire, organized a community service where they cleanned the beach of Petit Bassam, in Port Bouet.
UNICEF/UN0161698/Diarassouba
Young U-Reporters from Abidjan, in Côte d'Ivoire, organized a community service where they cleanned the beach of Petit Bassam, in Port Bouet.

 

In the eight years since launch in Uganda in 2011, U-Report has brought about law changes, exposed sex for grades crises, supported peace processes, combatted cyber bullying and taken the voice of youth to high level forums on migration, HIV, SDGs and much more… On top of that U-Report is a tool used for mental health chat lines, menstrual health live chats, to provide migrants with legal advice on documentation, peer to peer counselling services, information hubs to combat the spread of cholera, Zika, Ebola... and a thousand other things. It’s enabled us to provide life-saving information after hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, landslides and volcano eruptions. It’s as virulent offline as online, spawning U-Report conferences, clean up days, adolescents teaching younger children in remote communities, Christmas dinner parties… the list really is endless.

The beauty of U-Report is that it is used in a different way in each of the 60 and ever-growing number of countries that have their own U-Report platforms. Climate change, education, pregnancy tips, health advice, migration, emergencies… there isn’t really a programme area that U-Report doesn’t support, somewhere across the globe. The platform, that is powered by RapidPro, can work to support each CPD’s priorities. Like all UNICEF work, we partner with appropriate partners to make sure we have a positive impact for each and every one of the 7.5million U-Reporters from Argentina to Zimbabwe (and many, many countries in between).

We’re constantly working to see how U-Report can be used in new and better ways – for those who don’t have phones, for those who are migrating, for those in conflict areas, for those whose voice is underrepresented. We’re working hard to make the data we produce is robust, trialling equity tools, new ways of displaying the engagement of U-Reporters and the topics they are most interested in, new ways of providing accurate and reliable snapshots of what matters to youth and adolescents. We’re working with new and exciting partners so we can reach those we want to reach, including the most vulnerable groups.

It’s a new era of U-Report… the era where U-Report is an informative, data producing, chatty, conversationalist, that encourages others to get out into their communities and bring about positive social change and impact for youth across the world.

So help us spread the word — one-sided polling U-Report is out, and multi-talented U-Report is in!