"Just 6 months ago we celebrated 3 million U-Reporters. This is unbelievable. U-Report is spreading like wildfire in DRC". - Joyce Masiala, 19, U-Reporter.
The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) now has 4 million young Congolese active on the U-Report platform, more than 700% growth in less than two years, making it the fastest growing and second largest U-Report platform in the world.
"As UNICEF's new representative in the DRC, I am pleased to see the enthusiasm of Congolese youth to make their voices heard peacefully. I would also like to point out that these results have been made possible thanks to the generosity of the private sector, especially the mobile phone companies (Airtel, Orange, Vodacom and Africell) without whom the enormous success of the U-Report platform in directly engaging communities would not have been possible. " said Grant Leaity, UNICEF Representative in the DRC.
"Your voice matters!"
It's not just a slogan, it's real. U-Report is an advocacy tool to address some of the issues in the community. Since the re-launch of U-Report in DRC in 2019, 36 U-Report surveys have been sent to Congolese youth and adolescents. The results are available in real time on the website www.drc.ureport.in and then shared via SMS, media, and the web, to raise social dialogue and influence the decision-making process.
It is in this perspective that in June 2022, the U-Reporters presented the results of the survey on youth and women's participation in political and decision-making processes to the DRC's Minister of Youth, Yves Bunkulu, who committed to receiving youth on a monthly basis to discuss the survey results and also link them with other decision-makers, based on the various topics, to inform their decision-making and seek innovative and sustainable solutions.
In addition to surveys, U-Report allows youth to access information anonymously 24/7 through 35 automated information centers. To access the available information centers, young people simply send a trigger word via SMS, Messenger or WhatsApp. To date, the information centers have been accessed over 9,500000 times.
Concrete actions for positive change
In the DRC, U-Report is more than just a virtual platform. It has become a movement for youth and by youth offline.
"I am quite touched when I remember that there was only one U-Report community in January 2021. Today, there are over 67 communities across the country, created by young people themselves. What is much more fascinating is that these communities are created by the youth themselves who have embraced the movement." said Mariette Mwesha, Innovation Officer, UNICEF DRC.
From environmental sanitation actions to free trainings, life-saving vaccination awareness, youth commit to voluntary actions using their own means (financial, material, etc). In addition, the automated ACTION bot via SMS, Messenger or WhatsApp allows youth to record their actions and measure the real impact in the community. So far, youth have reported more than 80000 actions.