The United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF and partners has launched an SMS-based platform called U-Report. The innovation will allow Nigerians to participate and engage in policy-making, governance and access information on key social issues.
To become a U-reporter, the user will have to register and use the forum to talk about happenings in their communities and send alert messages to relevant stakeholders like the media or political office holders especially those representing their constituencies at the local and federal levels of government. The technology also provides decision makers a forum to listen to millions of voices through simple messaging.
UNICEF Nigeria reports that in the last one year, with support from telecommunication service providers like Airtel, MTN, GLO and Etisalat, the number of U-reporters has rapidly grown to about 200,000 with thousands joining every month from all parts of the country. They expect the number get up to a million by the end of 2015.
UNICEF added that initiative also attracted strategic partnerships with civil society organizations, UN agencies and Government Ministries, who contributed by selecting poll questions and promoting the platform to Nigerian citizens, as a tool for civic engagement and community empowerment
“Today more than ever before community journalism through communication technology can help engender good governance, accountability, social change and improve health standards.’ said Jean Gough, UNICEF Representative in Nigeria. ‘U-Report platform provides a thrilling opportunity to contribute to positive social change in the Nigeria,’ she noted.
UNICEF strongly believes that through U-reports, communities can constructively contribute to the improvement of their standard of living and significantly contribute to transparency and accountability in the management of public funds.
To become a U-reporter in Nigeria text the word ‘JOIN’ to 24453. It is free.