UNICEF Nigeria under the leadership of the Health Section working closely with the Communications for Development and with full support of the Senior Management started UReport in the country; with already ten thousand UReporters registered a little over a month since UReport Nigeria started, it is exciting to watch this platform grow into potentially the biggest on the continent and the world over.
UReport is a free SMS platform designed to address the issues communities care about by giving them a voice to influence decision making processes. We believe that this is a timely innovation for Nigeria currently with a population of about 173 million people and the leading economy in Africa to date.
Since its inception in Nigeria, weekly polls on safety of children in schools, prevention of mother to child transmission, sanitation, have been sent out to the first thousands of UReporters registered in the country. To register users text the word JOIN to 24453, all messages are free across all networks.
Learning from the Ugandan experience where the platform has successfully worked for the past three years and has grown to over a quarter million UReporters, UNICEF Nigeria has high hopes in the potential of UReport Nigeria to set a new record, the country being the continent’s largest mobile market with now more than 125 million subscribers and a market penetration of around 75% and given the great enthusiasm of the citizens to create positive change.
With a target of 5 million registered UReporters by the end of the year, UNICEF Nigeria is working closely with the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), the media, the Nigerian Scouts Association, Boys Brigade and Girl Guides, Religious and traditional leaders and the media in the country to scale up UReport .
UNICEF Nigeria’s vision for UReport is a platform that will make visible the need in Health, Education, Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) and Social Welfare, to duty bearers, ensuring that the resources which are specifically allocated to the sectors are properly allocated to address the needs as highlighted by the UReporters.
Given the current security challenges in the country the platform has potential to unify communities around common social issues for improved livelihoods and peace building.
As a country office we are convinced that UReport Nigeria platform will make visible the needs of communities and at the same time empowering them. There is no way that the voice of hundreds of thousands, or millions of UReporters in Nigeria shall be ignored by the decision makers to effect positive change.