U-Report is an anonymous messaging service that allows young people to speak out on issues that matter to them. © Shutterstock

Introducing U-Report

For young people in the UK

Home > Young people in the UK speak out with U-Report

Last year saw the launch of U-Report, a global platform for young people to speak out on what matters to them. The answers and opinions they provide can then used by decision-makers to bring about change. We’ll be running U-Report as a pilot to see how it can best help young people’s in the UK have their voices heard.

How does U-Report work?

Young people over the age of 13 can sign up by messaging JOIN to U-Report on Facebook or by following @UReportUK on Twitter. They’ll need to register by answering a few simple questions.

Once they sign up, they’ll receive weekly poll questions on a range of issues, which they can respond to on their phone or computer. When they respond, their answers will appear instantly on U-Report’s UK website, which collates and showcases the views of young people across the country. It means they can see their answers in real time, and see how their friends are responding.

U-Report is free, anonymous and easy to use.

Through U-Report, young people will be able to add their voices to campaigns on things like protecting unaccompanied refugee children in the UK to the impact of climate change on children. They’ll be able to hold decision-makers to account and have their say on policies that affect them by giving local authorities feedback on services or commenting on policy proposals that would affect them. There’ll even be opportunities for U-Reporters to come together and set the weekly poll question, allowing them to gather information to support and bolster their own campaigning.

The pilot is being run alongside a steering group of young people ©Unicef UK

The pilot is being run alongside a steering group of young people. Photo: Unicef UK

How has U-Report helped young people around the world?

The U-Report platform was first launched by Unicef Uganda in 2011. Since then, over 2 million young people have started using it in 22 countries around the world. U-Report has already helped to change the lives of children and young people. In Liberia, for example, U-Reporters helped expose a “Sex for Grades” scandal. Working with the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Gender, we used U-Report to highlight how some teachers in Liberia were exploiting children by awarding grades or pass marks in return for sex. We asked U-Reporters if they believed this was an issue and their responses were astonishing. In less than 24 hours, 13,000 people had responded, with the vast majority (86%) saying they believed this was a problem in their school.

After the poll, all participating U-Reporters were told how to report abuse. The Ministry of Gender provided a helpline number for children, offering advice and support; it was inundated with calls. The same week, Unicef staff met the Minister of Education in Liberia to discuss the results and make a plan to address the issue. They’re now working together to improve child protection in schools.

In Zambia, young people were able to develop a better understanding of HIV and AIDS, thanks to confidential counselling via text message offered through U-Report. As a result, voluntary uptake in HIV testing increased from 25% to 40%.

Engaging young people in the UK

Look out for U-Report in the UK, where we’ll be using it to engage more young people in the decisions that affect them.

The pilot, which we’re running with the help and advice of young people, will test how U-Report can be of greatest benefit to children in the UK. We hope to engage thousands of young people in a live test period, giving them an opportunity to try out U-Report and feedback on its role in the longer term.

Share U-Report with young people aged 13–25! They can sign up by messaging JOIN to U-Report UK on Facebook, or by following us on Twitter @UReportUK

 

There are over 80,000 young people using U-Report in Liberia ©Unicef

There are over 80,000 young people using U-Report in Liberia. Photo: Unicef