By Bukar Bolori
Lagos, 31 December 2021 – U-Report Nigeria, UNICEF’s innovative free digital platform, has registered four million Nigerian responders, known as U -Reporters. This places U-Report Nigeria at the top followed by Côte d’Ivoire and India.
The U-Report platform through the U-Reporters provide young people the opportunity to air their views on healthcare, education, youth unemployment, diseases outbreaks and other pertinent issues affecting the lives of young people through short message service (SMS) polls. The results of these polls are often shared with their communities, government, and decision makers for action.
Since April 2014 when the first U-Report poll was sent out in Nigeria, millions of young people provided valuable information by reporting issues emerging from their communities to help find solutions and improve lives of their families and friends.
In the face of the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, the U-Report Nigeria was rated a trusted platform for sharing lifesaving information about the disease to mitigate the spread of the virus, and in mobilizing young people to fight vaccine hesitancy.
The #Covid19innovation online challenge powered by U-Report Nigeria, at the onset of the Covid-19 lockdowns, called for innovative solutions on how to manage the pandemic and/or mitigate the spread of the virus, was participated by over 80,000 young people.
With the fourth wave of the pandemic, still distressing our daily lives, U-Report Nigeria is currently driving the #sleevesup challenge to reduce vaccine hesitancy amongst young people in Nigeria through peer-to-peer groups. The challenge is engaging students of tertiary institutions with the aim of having at least 200 Covid-19 vaccine champions in every institution of learning in the country.
“The success of the U-Report Nigeria aptly represents the active participation of young people in decision making and in finding solutions, said Rushnan Murtaza, OIC, Representative, UNICEF Nigeria. We are proud to have reached four million responders, the highest number of young people reached through this platform, globally. I thank the boys and girls and the vibrant young adults of Nigeria for speaking their minds and communicating their views on issues affecting women and children. They are the advocates and the change agents for improvement of basic services and well-being of people in our communities”.
U-Report relies on volunteer community members serving as U-Reporters. It allows citizens to voice their opinions on issues, provides forums for exchanges and to amplify those views, concerns and solutions to the local media and to bring it to the attention of key stakeholders for information and action as needed.