SDG 9: Industry, innovation and infrastructureSDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • Year: 2014
  • Award: World Summit Award
  • Category: Government & Citizen Engagement
  • Producer: Mr. Erik Frisk
  • Country: Uganda
  • URL: http://www.ureport.ug/

U-report: Community-led Development through Social SMS Technology U-report is a text message programme designed to give young Ugandans a chance to voice their opinions on issues that they care about. Users opt into the programme at no cost across all networks by texting the word “JOIN” to a short-code. Registration entails answering a series of demographic questions such as age, gender, how one heard about U-report, district and village. This information allows for polls to be target districts, region, gender etc. Launched in May 2011, there are now 260,000+ U-reporters in Uganda with a balanced regional distribution, over one third of whom are women, average age of 24 years. Each week an SMS poll or alert is sent to all of the U-reporters soliciting opinion on a given, for example: - “FREE vaccinations, birth certificates, antenatal care will be provided on the Family Health Days at mosques & churches on Friday & Sunday by Ministry of Health.” - “[We] want to know what can be done for children who have dropped out of school; let us know what you think. Best answer will be shared.” Combinations of quantitative and qualitative questions are used when required. Responses from each are analysed in real time by the U-report data platform. Responses are mapped to each district and aggregated to a national level. Results are then shared with all U-reporters and often the issues arising are explored further with additional questions and responses continuing the dialogue. U-report has multiple uses, such as raising awareness on certain issues, community-led development and information sharing as well as issue advocacy at a national level. This well written strong mobile app tackles the challenge of youth engagement in the simplest and most versatile way, via SMS which is accessible via any phone be it feature or smartphone. By sending out a single question to large group of respondents, it is possible to collect information responses on almost any topic or subject. Website images give a good sense of what the app is about. The utility of U-report as an SMS application has been likened to Whatsapp. Even the feedback to its users is done through SMS. The web site is just a way of reporting to the outside world whats happening in the mobile app. U-report is an obvious force for social change - if the public, including those not wealthy enough to have access to the internet, can exchange information, then it influences governments to better serve their people. This mobile app has obvious evidence-based positive impact on grassroots participation, especially among African youth.