UNICEF said Nigeria is the first country to reach one million responders on the SMS-based U-Report platform designed to strengthen community-led development and citizen engagement.
In a press statement sent to Nigerian Pilot, UNICEF said the U-Report Nigeria has the widest coverage.
Director of Global Innovations at UNICEF, Dr Sharad Sapra, said “it is heartening to see a million young people in Nigeria become agents of change for their community and nation. These young people and those who join them every day, are becoming the pillars for sustainable social development in Nigeria.’’
“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. U-Report can significantly contribute to transparency, accountability and social justice in Nigeria,” Jean Gough, UNICEF Nigeria Country Representative, disclosed.
According to UNICEF, having over a million voices on this platform means that a significant number of Nigerians have the opportunity to speak out on social issues in their communities with the assurance that their voices are being heard.
UNICEF’s Global Innovations team launched the 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-centered social monitoring tool based on simple Short Message Service, SMS, 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.
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.
With the support of telecommunication 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.