Serbia, Belgrade, 20 November 2019 – On the occasion of World Children's Day and the 30th anniversary of the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, UNICEF Serbia launched U-Report, the community participation tool through which young people can express their opinions and be positive agents of change in their communities.
Since its global launch in 2011, U-Report has been an indispensable tool in encouraging young people to share their views on issues that matter to them and the communities they live in.
U-Report is now active in 60 countries, benefiting 8 million users all over the world, while 2,500 U-Reporters are currently registered in the Republic of Serbia.
The U-Report platform has become fully operational in Serbia thanks to the partnership between UNICEF and the Ministry of Youth and Sports.
“It is a prerequisite to be heard, but we must also be understood, and our goal is to create a future fit for you. It is important that you use all the mechanisms provided to you. That's why it's important to make the most of the U-Report platform, not only to be more informed, but to take a leadership role, to be active, to take that responsibility and give yourself the right to create the future you want. There must be leaders and captains in every team, people who lead you and I think in this business, in this teamwork, you are the leaders, captains and coaches. You, not someone else, because you need to create, you need to lead, you are the ones who will manage the mechanisms at your disposal,” said Vanja Udovicic, Minister of Youth and Sports.
Through U-Report polls on Facebook or through the U-Report Serbia public account on Viber, young people give their opinions about things that they want to influence. It is anonymous and free of charge.
“We are happy that Serbia has joined the U-Report family, which allows young people to share their opinions through this simple and anonymous instrument. We want to support and facilitate the participation of young people in community decision-making. We need to give young people agency, a voice and opportunities for meaningful participation in the social, political and economic life of the society they live in,” said Regina De Dominicis, UNICEF Representative in Serbia.
U-Report enables direct and rapid data collection and analysis so that state institutions, non-governmental and international organizations, as well as the media, can utilize the results of the polls in their work on projects, when developing policies and strategies, as well as for analysing and measuring progress in various areas related to children and young people.
Brankica Jankovic, Regina De Dominicis and Vanja Udovicic
“In order to really improve the position of young people in society and for them to really feel like equal members of the community, we need to hear them well and to understand what they have to tell us. We often say that our role is to educate young people, that it is up to us to teach them tolerance and equality, but this process cannot be one-sided. We need to learn from each other to understand each other better. That is why, in addition to continuous education, we have also launched interactive projects aimed at engaging young people in the process of achieving equality and motivating them to condemn discriminatory attitudes and behaviours in their environment. We must all learn the culture of dialogue,” said Brankica Jankovic, the Commissioner for the Protection of Equality.
The results of U-Report polls in the Republic of Serbia show that:
- 98% of U-Reporters believe that more activities which are free of charge should be available to them to pursue in their free time
- 50% of U-Reporters think that girls and women in Serbia don’t have the same rights as boys and men
- 50% of U-Reporters believe that young people do not have access to the psychological counselling they need
- 52% of U-Reporters believe that obesity is the main health problem that adolescents have
- 42% of U-Reporters say that the companies in Serbia can help young people in their future development path
- 56% of U-Reporters suggest that companies should increase the number of internships, mentoring and volunteering opportunities available to young people in order to bridge the gap with youth
- 47% of U-Reporters believe there are enough opportunities for young people to develop digital skills
- 57% of U-Reporters consider climate change a priority that needs to be addressed.
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing 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 and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org/serbia