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Thursday, November 3, 2011

SPEAK – OUT ON WHAT’S HAPPENING IN YOUR COMMUNITY; BE A UREPORTER NOW!!


In the bid to increase youth and children’s participation in decision making, development processes and in causing positive change in Uganda, UNICEF in 2010 launched an SMs platform called Ureport.
Ureport is an SMS tool used for social development through which children and youth can participate in the development of their areas and improving Social Accountability. According to James Powell the UNICEF Ureport Project Manager, Ureport provides a platform for information sharing and an opportunity for individuals to voice out the silent issues affecting them in their communities.
Currently there are 34000 Ureporters in Uganda using the Ureport platform and more are still being recruited and or introduced to the program. In line with this, James Powell the UNICEF Ureport Project Manager on 31.10.11 to 02.11.11 visited RIC-NET Secretariat, Information Centers/points and youth groups. The purpose of the visit was to share and also introduce the Ureport program to the RIC-NET members and stakeholders in the Rwenzori region.
Five information centers (BIC, BRIC, MRIC, KRIC and Village Connect information Center), one information Point (Rwesande information point) and one youth group (Youth Empowerment Initiative-Bwera) were visited by James Powell accompanied by the RIC-NET information officer and Administrative Secretary. Over 100 people were met, introduced to Ureport and also recruited as Ureporters.
During the sharing Powell highlighted what Ureport is, the objectives and how one can become a Ureporter;“simply type on your phone Join and send to 8500, and follow instructions to register”; http://www.ureport.ug . In his remarks, Powell also noted that “this service/platform is 100% free, and we discuss issues ranging from Gender based violence, domestic violence, HIV/AIDS, early pregnancies, girl child education, employment, inflation, service delivery issues in health, education, and water sectors among others”.
Explaining more about its operations, Powell said that the Ureport platform sends out averagely two questions to Ureporters per week, and responses to these questions are shared back with the Ureporters on their Mobile Phones and other stakeholders like the different line ministries, MPs and the general public through the Daily Newspapers, Radio and Television.
Similarly, Ureporters are encouraged to routinely send in questions on development and social issues that concern/affect them in their communities. According to Powell these issues/questions are also shared with the Commissioner in Charge of Youth and Children in the Ministry of Gender, the line Ministries and the MPs as well for action.
This has helped in raising awareness about the service delivery challenges in the community amongst the leaders and also enhanced citizen engagement with them.
Precisely put, Ureport helps in amplifying the voices of the youth, children and the general public, it gives them an opportunity to speak out on what is happening in their communities across the country, and work with other community leaders to cause positive change.

Ureport- Your Voice Matters, become a Ureporter Now!