U-Report Ireland Officially Launched
Tsinghua University and UNICEF launch innovation partnership to help reach some of the world's most disadvantaged children

By Elliot McBride, Innovation Specialist, UNICEF Pakistan 

On February 4, UNICEF Pakistan officially launched U-Report: Pak Avaz. It was a long awaited moment after negotiations between with Mobile Network Operators, Aggregators, implementing partners and many different UNICEF sections. The launch was held at a hotel in Islamabad, with all credit going to our U-Report manager, Hira. The launch was packed – standing room only with over 300 people crammed into the auditorium.

My small contribution was to illustrate the technical side of how U-Report operated. On arrival instead of writing down registration details by pen and paper, launch guests used RapidPro to enter their details. During my presentation I was then able to illustrate how U-Report collected this information and shared it with the group. For laughs we also included the question: What did you have for breakfast? While Hira was presenting and introducing U-Report: PakAvaz, I collected the results from the registration flow put them to graphs and fed this information back to the audience during the presentation.

Screen Shot 2016-03-28 at 10.44.34 AM

It was a well-received exercise and illustrated the things we love about U-Report. Receiving real-time information, voicing our opinions and learning about where we fit in amongst our peers (even when it’s only about breakfast).

This also got us thinking about other RapidPro activities which could be used at a launch event or a youth camp. Here is my attempt, this is something I really would encourage others to try too. Its great fun, and a good way to practically display U-Report to a new audience. If the RapidPro community designed a few ‘launch games’, emerging countries that are running U-Report events can pick from games that suit their audience size, needs, themes etc.

This activity is a game for everyone with a phone. It combines question and answer using SMS and collecting your own clues by asking the people around you. We have called it AgentX (for lack of a better name) and the rules to be explained to the group, are below.

Agent X featuring RapidPro


  • Each participant starts by choosing one free, correct clue, A B C or D
  • The participants must find, and expose AgentX,
  • Amongst the crowd you have arranged a spy called AgentX who will sit in the audience and pretend to along with their phone
  • You only get one chance to expose agent x – if you falsely accuse someone you’re out
  • Clues are given by a format of question and answer – questions are usually trivia style/knowledge based.
  • Clues are descriptors of AgentX
  • Correct clues are given for correct answers. Misleading clues are given for incorrect answers participants will not be informed if their answers are correct or misleading. (This needs to be communicated to the audience – NOT ALL CLUES ARE TRUE, BE CAREFUL!!!)
  • The flow can only be run once/phone number
  • There is an envelope hidden in the room with the Identity of AgentX in it. Only by answering the right questions will someone be told about the envelope.

You will need:

  • To arrange an agent from the cohort of the audience, this would best be done with one of the members as a UNICEF or other staff member will stand out too much.
  • Discretely hide the envelope with the name of the Agent (under a seat is good – you can then share the seat coordinates i.e. 10th row, 4 across)
  • A crowd between 20 – 50 people. Each participant needs their own phone.
  • Ideally the rules would be projected onto a screen.
  • To build an AgentX flow – using your own questions, clues and rules in the format of something similar to the following format:

Screen Shot 2016-03-28 at 10.44.51 AM


Building the Flow

It does take a few hours to do but hopefully you can put some twists into it to make it your own. The work comes in creating the questions, and paths for correct and incorrect answers. you’ll need to be aware of your audience before you set questions and it will be tricky finding the balance between too easy and too difficult. I like throwing a maths one in there to keep things interesting, one with plenty of common errors. 4+6*2-5+4*(10-3)… (Don’t forget your order of operations 😉 )

Finding your AgentX

Because you may not know your agent X it is best to build a flow that has gaps you can just fill in on the day. A quick way to do it would be to have your AgentX fill in a sheet with the clues that you are going to give something like:

Name : ……

Do you have a brother? Yes/No

Are you wearing a watch? Yes/No

What color are you wearing? …..

What pets do you have? ….

Do you like Pizza? Yes/No
This way it is a matter of filling the gaps when it comes to updating the flow.

The envelope

I like to reserve it one for someone who has answered all of the questions correctly, and a tough one at the end. The easiest way to filter the respondents is to add everyone to a ‘No incorrect responses’ group at the start of the flow, then after every incorrect answer add respondents to an ‘incorrect answer’ group. Then before the end split the users by group and ask a tough question to lead them to the envelope. All other users can have a different correct clue. For more clarification on how to filter the participants based on incorrect responses, look under ‘creating No-groups’ here.

You gotta sell it!!!!!!

The real trick will be making the audience think that one of their own has betrayed them, so they don’t focus their attention on the handful of organizers that are at the conference. Whomever is running the game should keep a microphone on, and stay active and amongst the group, cast false aspersions, ask security guards if they are agentX, keep the mood exciting and the audience engaged.

Like anything this will be a game that never looks the same twice. Keep to your testing and other RapidPro keys to excellence found here, and don’t be afraid to ask the brains around you for input.

If you have any other ideas or ways to improve the above – I’d love to hear about it. Hit me up.


Stay weird,


U-Report Ireland Officially Launched
Tsinghua University and UNICEF launch innovation partnership to help reach some of the world's most disadvantaged children