Nigeria has achieved a milestone as the first country to reach one million responders on the Short Message Service (SMS) based U-Report platform, designed to strengthen community-led development and citizen engagement through an innovation by the United Nations Children Fund global.
The U-report is a user-centred social monitoring tool based on simple SMS messages, polling opinions on issues that affect communities and sharing useful information and relies on volunteer community members, mostly young people, serving as U-Reporters to provide information on issues that affect their communities.
UNICEF Nigeria Country Representative, Jean Gough, said in Abuja “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”.
Director of Global Innovations at UNICEF, Dr. Sharad Sapra said on Monday, when Nigeria hit the one million U-Reporter mark that “It is heartening to see a million young people in Nigeria becoming agents of change for their community and nation. These young people and the many more who join them every day are becoming the pillars for sustainable social development in Nigeria.”
He reiterated that 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.
Sapra noted that the UNICEF’s Global Innovation 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.