Mobile Telecommunications AIRTEL Nigeria signs agreement to boost United Nations Children’s (UNICEF U-Report) Unique Reporting social media platform (U-Report) of communities’ engagement and reporting issues affecting them.
Introduced to Nigeria in April 2014 by UNICEF, U-Report uses simple short message service (SMS) and social media to engage various communities across the country reaching more than three million responders (U-Reporter).
According to the Country Representative, Peter Hawkins, “U Report provides opportunity for community members to share their opinions and drive positive change”.
Hawkins described the relationship UNICEF has enjoyed with AIRTEL over the years as one which has contributed to the continuous growth and improvement of the U-Report platform.
“Our incredible performance to date with more than 3.2m subscribers nationwide is one of the factors that has informed the development of a renewed partnership with AIRTEL.
“This is a perfect example of how we can leverage partnerships effectively to scale change and to provide young people with opportunities and a voice to speak out on issues affecting the country they love”, noted Hawkins.
Some of the communities’ engagements the U-Report has been able to aggregate include: critical issues such as access to education, skills development and employability, water and sanitation, health, violence against children, safety and security, and the needs of internally displaced persons.
UNICEF U-Reporters are mostly volunteer young people who provide information that are aggregated through polls into data form that assist in developing tools used by UNICEF for advocacy.
Results generated from U-Report polls are shared with the office of the Vice President of Nigeria and other relevant agencies for necessary action.
Also speaking at the event, Chief Executive Officer AIRTEL Nigeria, Segun Ogunsanya expressed delight at Airtel’s involvement in the history and story of U-Report in the country.
According to Ogunsanya, “We believe this partnership with UNICEF will provide more Nigerians with a voice and also promote a more inclusive society, a cause we are passionate about”.
He observed also that Airtel is passionate about empowering people and providing them with opportunity to rediscover themselves and become successful in their personal and professional endeavors.
“We are confident that U-report will continue to deliver value in the remotest locations as we explore more innovative and sustainable ways of helping the underprivileged and also promoting corporate philanthropy”, said, Ogunsanya.
UNICEF introduced a second platform in Nigeria, U-Report 24×7, about a year ago which is dedicated to serving the needs of affected populations in the north-east states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa.
The first UNICEF U-Report poll in Nigeria was sent in April 2014, and since then over nine hundred polls have been shared on the platform in English and the major Nigerian languages of Hausa, Yoruba, Igbo and Pidgin, making the platform inclusive.
Major political office holders have also been using the UNICEF U-Report platform to connect with their constituencies to find out their service delivery needs and areas for improvement.
U-Report was founded by UNICEF in 2011 and first introduced in Uganda with the Motto: “Voice Matters”. So far, it covers 41 countries as a community led development initiative.