U-Report Intervention Sept 2015. Working in partnership with the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Gender U-Reporters helped UNICEF highlight the issue in Liberia of teachers exploiting children by awarding grades or pass marks in return for sex. U-Reporters were asked if they believed this was an issue in schools in their community, they were then given information on how to report the offences, and were also provided with a Ministry of Gender helpline for counseling and support if needed.
U-Reporters provided astounding feedback: in less that 24 hours, 13,000 people had responded, the vast majority (86%) said they believed this was in fact a problem in their schools.
After the Sex 4 Grade poll in Liberia, all participating U-Reporters were given Ministry of Education information on how to report abuse, showing Ministry-level adoption of the technology as an important child protection tool. The Ministry of Gender child helpline number provided in case U-Reporters needed support was inundated, connecting young people with a valuable service. The same week of the U-Report poll the Country Representative for UNICEF Liberia met with the Minister of Education to discuss the results and a plan to address the issue and UNICEF and the Ministry are now actively working together to improve protection in schools. In the space of one week a taboo issue was exposed, and the people’s voice brought UNICEF and the Ministries closer together to protect children. The Ministry of Education has since attended U-Report Steering Committee meetings led by Federation of Liberian Youth (FLY) to work on addressing the issue.
Well done U-Reporters on voicing on such urgent matters as these and bringing attention to a sensitive subject.