A unique social media platform introduced by UNICEF to engage young persons in communities on issues affecting them, has surpassed three million registered responders.
This is according to a statement released by the global charity for children.
The statement said that more than two out of five U-Reporters worldwide are in Nigeria while the highest number of responders are registrerd in Jigawa State.
“Reaching 3 million U-Reporters in Nigeria is a huge step in empowering young Nigerians with information to transform their communities,” said UNICEF Nigeria Representative Mohamed Fall.
The U-Report platform was designed to utilize simple SMS messages and social media to reach communities around the country and provides opportunity for young Nigerians to share their opinions and drive positive change in the country.
The platform relies on volunteers to provide critical information on issues affecting their communities through polls.
It is also designed as a tool for sharing information through message alerts.
According to the statement, U-Report reaches communities in 54 countries around the world and has grown to almost 7 million responders globally, since it was first launched in 2011.
The first U-Report poll in Nigeria was sent out in April 2014 and since then, almost 300 polls have been run on the platform in Hausa, Yoruba, Igbo, Pidgin and English.
U- Reporters discuss topics like health, education, safety and security, internally displaced persons, water and sanitation and violence against children, with results disseminated to Government and other relevant agencies.
The National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) is a partner, and key player in the recruitment of responders.
The Office of the Vice President, Nigerian Senators and members of the House of Representatives are using U-Report to connect with their communities on critical issues to find out what needs to be improved or where the focus needs to be in service delivery in their states.
“U-Report provides a great opportunity for increased engagement and transparency as a direct channel of communication between leaders and the people they serve,” he added.
A second U-Report platform was recently established in Nigeria: U-Report 24×7, dedicated to populations affected by conflict in the north-east states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa. Reaching about 60,000 over the past five months, the platform shares life-saving information with communities in case of emergencies, such as disease outbreaks. For the first time, UReport 24×7 employs voice communication alongside text messaging, to make the platform accessible to those who cannot read or write.