Digital Monitoring in support of National eSystems Strengthening: Lessons from UNICEF’s RapidPro Scale Up Initiative
Lessons learned on our journey to scaling results for children

Technology and young people assisting communities

Authors: Sophie Chavanel, Head of Communications, UNICEF Côte d’Ivoire and Daniel Ouedraogo, Youth Engagement Strategist, UNICEF Côte d’Ivoire.

Natural disasters can have devastating effects in urban areas. In many countries, such as Côte d’Ivoire, during rainy season, intense rainfall can cause floods, landslides and it is often the most vulnerable people who are most at risk.

Photo credit: Magic System Foundation

To alert families, UNICEF Côte d’Ivoire used U-Report, a messaging system via SMS and social media, to share vital information. Accessible 24/7, a BOT or automated information center, provides information on actions to be taken before, during and after floods, as well as contacts in case of emergency.

“In a moment of emergency, the U-Report platform served as a virtual helping friend offering useful and life-saving information to keep our U-Reporters and their family safe. The tool leverages community engagement in an emergency context, when most young people need more answers and fewer questions.” Norman Muhwezi, Innovation Specialist, UNICEF Côte d’Ivoire.

The information center launched during the floods that struck Abidjan in June 2018 was consulted more than 25,000 times by young people in less than two weeks.

“The use of U-Report in an emergency context allowed us to alert families, disseminate vital lifesaving information using mobile phones that have a penetration rate of more than 85% in Côte d’Ivoire. The information was then amplified by young people in their community to raise awareness and help affected families. Technology has allowed us to act quickly and share information at a large scale. Then the network of engaged U-Reporters amplified the message and took action.” Sophie Chavanel, Chief of Communication, UNICEF Côte d’Ivoire.

U-Reporters take action to assist victims

In Côte d’Ivoire, there are more than 278,000 U-Reporters registered on U-Report platform. They engage at different levels according to the community guidelines for being a U-Reporter (Some people participate in the bi-monthly survey, others take concrete actions for a positive change in their community.)

Following the flooding disaster that hit Abidjan in June 2018, U-Reporters went out on the streets and assisted the affected families. They helped them clean up and save their remaining belongings, cleaned the clogged drains and sensitized people around them to do the same.

Mory Diomandé, 21, is one of the U-Reporters who help families: “I am committed to assisting my community because I believe that each individual is responsible for what goes on around him. So I took action to help without waiting for the support of someone because the greatest good that can be done in the world is to assist others. “

Aicha Seynou, 20, came from Yopougon, another municipality in Abidjan, to help. “After seeing the damages caused by the flood on television, I wanted to do something to help. If my voice counts as a young volunteer, my actions too must follow. That’s why I left my municipality to reach those affected by floods, in order to provide them with my modest assistance.”

And young people were not alone. Private companies supported them by distributing supplies to help them clean up and better prepare their community.

The U-Reporters of Côte d’Ivoire come from every region of the country. To know more about the U-Report movement in Côte d’Ivoire, click here :

Digital Monitoring in support of National eSystems Strengthening: Lessons from UNICEF’s RapidPro Scale Up Initiative
Lessons learned on our journey to scaling results for children