Empowering children and communities to advocate for a quality education: U-Report

Launched: September 2016

Powered by RapidPro, U-Report is designed to enable young people and communities to voice their opinions around issues that they care about. In aggregate, their voices are amplified through media and transmitted to the highest levels of government. U-Report also sends feedback and pertinent information to its users, creating positive feedback loops to encourage speaking out and working for change in their communities.

In Liberia, the Ministry of Education and UNICEF joined forces to look at the problem of teachers exploiting children by awarding grades in return for sex. Within 24 hours, 13,000 children responded, of which 86% said that this was a problem in their community. The users were then sent a Ministry of Gender helpline for abuse counselling. The hotline was inundated with calls within the day, and additional phone lines were set up within the week to deal with the influx.

Alarmed, the UNICEF Representative took these results to the Minister of Education. Within a week, a joint statement was released on a national strategy to make teachers more accountable, the story was widely covered by national and international media, and a taboo issue was opened up for public discussion – and Liberian children saw that their voice mattered.

U-Report is present in 24 countries, with an additional 15 in the pipeline.