By Tobias Lengnan Dapam
U-Report, a United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) unique social media platform to engage with communities on issues that affect them, surpassed three million registered responders in Nigeria.
UNICEF in a statement issued Tuesday by Oluwatosin Akingbulu, Its Communication Officer, said the number was the latest confirmation yesterday morning.
“U-Report uses simple SMS messages and social media to reach communities around the country and provides an opportunity for young Nigerians to share their opinions and drive positive change in the country.
“U-Report relies on volunteer U-Reporters to provide critical information on issues affecting their communities through polls. It is also a valuable tool for sharing information through message alerts.”
It added that the U-Report platform reaches communities in 54 countries around the world and has grown to almost 7 million responders globally, since it was first launched in 2011.
“More than two out of five UReporters worldwide are in Nigeria.
“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. Topics include health, education, safety and security, internally displaced persons, water and sanitation and violence against children, with results disseminated to Government and other relevant agencies.
It said National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) is a partner, and key player in the recruitment of responders. All states in Nigeria are represented on the platform, with the highest number of U-Reporters registered in Jigawa State.
The statement also said that 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.
“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.
“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.