UNICEF’s U-Report reaches 10 million young people
Userbase of UNICEF’s digital youth empowerment platform surged to 10 million through the new COVID-19 chatbot
I can make my voice heard and feel I’m part of a community while being connected to U-Report.
Technology today is a driving force in the lives of adolescents and youth across the world where more than four billion of us now have access to the internet and five billion of us have mobile phones. Phones are the medium through which young people express their opinions and perspectives on social and economic issues as well as gain access to new information.
Today millions of young people are getting life-saving information on COVID-19 through U-Report on SMS, Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger and Viber.
U-Report, UNICEF’s free and confidential mobile empowerment platform, gives over 10 million young people in 68 countries a voice on the big issues that affect them. It also shares vital information in emergencies and across all areas that impact young people’s lives.
“U-Report helps educate people and reduce misinformation,” says Melva Manurung, 23, a U-Reporter in the Indonesian city of Bandar Lampung. “It helps everyone stay healthy and safe.”
Launched in Uganda in 2011, U-Report gathers opinions and information from young people on the issues they care about, from education and jobs to discrimination and child marriage. The mobile application enabled young people throughout the country to become “U-Reporters” and text in their opinions and ideas about important topics that mattered to them. The results were then relayed to decision-makers, such as Uganda’s Member of Parliament, who used them to inform their policies. The take-up has been rapid and widespread, in the rest of Africa and throughout the world, with over 68 countries and 10 million U-Reporters involved in this new unique form of participation.
U-Reporters respond to polls, report issues and support child rights. The data and insights are shared with communities and policy-makers who make key decisions that affect young people.
It’s free, anonymous and easy to use.
Since the coronavirus pandemic was declared, U-Reporter numbers have surged to over 10 million. New and existing users include refugees, migrants and other vulnerable groups.
U-Report is a crucial platform in fighting the Coronavirus pandemic, giving people clear, scientific facts on the symptoms, prevention and transmission of COVID-19.
In emergencies - from Northern Nigeria to Jamaica and Côte d'Ivoire - U-Report has ensured millions of young people’s voices are heard before, during and after crises. U-Reporters have also acted as first responders and as community volunteers in emergencies.
Through the U-Report on Move initiative, hundreds of thousands of young and unaccompanied asylum-seeking refugees have gained information for their protection and social inclusion.
“U-Report shows how a simple, superb idea - giving young people a voice - can be skillfully expanded, both with and for young people worldwide,” says Tanya Accone, UNICEF’s Senior Advisor on Innovation at Scale.
“The recent surge of new U-Reporters only goes to show just how crucial safe, free and anonymous information and participation tools really are, in emergencies and at all times.”
U-Report partners with governments, non-governmental organisations, business, schools, universities and youth networks to aid children, young people and vulnerable communities.
U-Report: Hira Hafeez-Ur-Rehman firstname.lastname@example.org