ABUJA, Nigeria, August 31, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Nigeria has become the first country to reach one million responders on the SMS-based U-Report platform, designed to strengthen community-led development and citizen engagement, UNICEF announced today.
UNICEF’s Global Innovations team has launched U-Report in 17 countries, mostly in Africa, as a way for community members to share their opinions and drive positive change. It is a user-centred social monitoring tool based on simple Short Message Service (SMS) messages, polling opinions on issues that affect communities and sharing useful information. It relies on volunteer community members, mostly young people, serving as U-Reporters to provide information on issues that affect their communities.
“It is heartening to see a million young people in Nigeria becoming agents of change for their community and nation,” said Dr Sharad Sapra, Director of Global Innovations at UNICEF, when Nigeria hit the one million U-Reporter mark, “These young people and the many more who join them every day, are becoming the pillars for sustainable social development in Nigeria.”
With the support in Nigeria of telecommunications service providers Airtel, Etisalat, Glo and MTN, engaging with U-Report is completely free and it has grown into a vibrant tool to empower communities.
The first poll question from the U-Report Nigeria platform was sent out in April 2014 and since then, nearly 70 polls on topics such as health, education, safety and security, Internally Displaced Persons, water and sanitation, violence against children and trafficking in persons have been discussed on the platform, with results disseminated to Government and other relevant agencies.
Having over a million voices on this platform means that a significant number of Nigerians now have an opportunity to speak out on social issues in their communities and the assurance that their voices are being heard.
“Nigeria hitting the one million mark on the U-Report platform is a huge step in stakeholder engagement, connecting leaders with their communities to improve their standard of living,” said Jean Gough, UNICEF Nigeria Country Representative, “U-Report can significantly contribute to transparency, accountability and social justice in Nigeria”
To become a U-Reporter in Nigeria, text the word ‘JOIN’ to 24453 and voice your opinion. It is free.
To access U-Report information, see http://www.nigeria.ureport.in. The website shows U-Reporter responses across Nigeria to nearly 70 polls. Questions on a wide range of topics continue to be asked to U-Reporters every week, providing a deep source of real-time information on the views and opinions of Nigerians.