Young people in the country have expressed optimism that the newly launched U-Report mobile based tool is contributing to their participation in community development.
U-Report is a free short message system (SMS) social monitoring tool for community participation, designed to address issues that the population cares about.
With U-Report, young people who are called U-reporters send their opinions and ideas about important topics that matter to them including health, education, sanitation and hygiene among others which are later relayed to decision makers.
One of the U-Reporters, Davie Banda said: “U-Report has become one way where we can raise our voices.”
“Through short messages we are able to convey what we face and feels that it is not right in our societies,” he said.
Banda said the key issues are sent to key stakeholders in their constituencies such as members of parliament which informs them of the needs in their communities and amplified through various media outlets.
U-Report Manager, Charlie Horton stressed that the tool brings positive change to the country and urged all the youth across the country to become U-Reporters.
“U-Report is to contribute to a better Malawi, we are still doing our marketing campaign to make sure that all the youths in all the districts in the country become u-reporters and I urge every young person to join U-Report so as to participate in community developments to develop Malawi,” he said.
U- Report Malawi was launched by UNICEF Malawi on March 29, 2018 in Lilongwe in partnership with Action 4 Adolescent and Youth (A4AY).
The report is being championed by Fredokiss who is Malawi’s Ambassador. One can become u-reporter by sending a free text message written “Join to 1177” using both networks.