Currently there are eighty seven thousand two hundred and sixty three (87,263) U-reporters in Uganda, despite this big number more youths, children, women and men still long to have their silent voices on the service delivery challenges in their societies amplified!
This was evident on 20.02.12 at Canon Apollo Primary Teachers College in Kabarole District where approximately two hundred and fifty (250) people gathered to listen, learn and be part of the U-report Platform; these included student teachers, tutors and Primary Head teachers of some primary schools around Kabarole.
The eagerly waiting gathering was taken through the meaning, objectives, mission and importance of the U-report platform by the RIC-NET Information Officer.
The participants learnt that U-report is an SMS based tool used for social development through which children, Youth, elderly and the general public can participate in the development of their areas and improving social accountability.
Reacting to the presentation the participants appreciated the fact that the platform is 100% free and the opportunity it gives individuals to voice out those silent issues affecting them in their communities.
“I think this is a nice platform because it allows you to report freely without fear that you will be witch hunted besides there is nothing to lose since it is free” remarked one of the student teachers.
About the importance of U-report, the participants also learnt that U-report helps in raising awareness about the service delivery challenges in the community amongst the leaders and also enhances citizen engagement with them.
Summing up the presentation, the RIC-NET Information officer encouraged the participants to not only stop at subscribing to be U-reporters but also work towards recruiting other members of the community and also being active U-reporters.
Adding to the presentation, the College Principle revealed that he was a U-reporter himself and that he does not regret being one because it has given him an opportunity to participate in debates about the pertinent issues going on in the Country.
He emphasized that U-report is one platform that helps in amplifying voices of the individuals and gives them an opportunity to speak out on what is happening in their communities and to work with their leaders to cause positive change.
The Principle called upon all the student teachers yet to go out for the training to be active U-reporters when there, and to all the head teachers to go and recruit all their teaching staff and other members in their communities.
He also thanked RIC-NET and UNICEF for extending this service to the College. He noted that even though the College does not allow students to have phones at school, he had for the purposes of boosting U-reporting bought 200 phones for the student teachers to use during their teaching practice and holidays. Using these phones the Principle pledged to take the students through the process of registration later in the day after all the phones are ready for use.
Conclusively, in addition to the approximately fifteen (15) teachers who registered with U-report during the training, over 200 students are expected to have registered as U-reporters after the registration exercise with the College Principle.