Kumasi – More than 2,000 people including university students, adolescent girls and boys and well-known artists such as M.anifest, MzVee and Cina Soul joined UNICEF and partners to celebrate the first-year anniversary of U-Report in Ghana. Other popular figures who attended the event were Gary-al Smith, Ameyaw Debrah, Worlsai and Jay Foley. During the event, which took place at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), UNICEF announced that within a year 60,000 people across Ghana had joined the social innovation platform. This has given them a chance to have their voices heard and to be kept up to date with vital information.
U-Report is a social messaging tool and data collection system that seeks to improve citizen engagement, inform stakeholders, and foster positive change. The program sends SMS polls and alerts to its subscribers, collects real-time responses, and subsequently publishes gathered data.
As part of efforts to strengthen youth participation, UNICEF introduced U-Report in Ghana in August 2018, with support from Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) and Global Affairs Canada.
Ghana has a young population. One person in every three – about 9.6 million people - is aged between 10 and 24 years. Building on their creativity and innovative thinking, U-Report is intended to allow young people to respond to polls, think about issues that impact them and make suggestions. The platform also provides essential information to its subscribers.
Speaking at the event, the UNICEF Representative in Ghana, Mrs. Anne-Claire Dufay, said: “In 2019, as we mark the 30th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which Ghana was the first country to ratify, we are also delighted to celebrate the first anniversary of U-Report. The 60,000 people who have already signed up have shown that this tool is popular, relevant and youth-friendly. We look forward to more young U-Reports joining, so they can share their opinions, access information that is relevant to them, and ultimately become more empowered.”
UNICEF is currently working with partners across the country to increase the number of young people who are signed up to be a U-Reporter, in particular adolescent girls who, in many communities across Ghana are given neither a chance to share their opinion, nor to directly access important information on issues such as nutrition, early marriage, or sexual and reproductive rights. More recently, U-Report shared an update on ways to protect oneself against polio.
During the event, Abigail Mamle Teye, one of four U-Report champions said, “U-Report presents young people a fantastic opportunity to reach decision makers with our perspectives in a very easy way and to have our opinions featured in decision making processes."