bmobile sponsors UNICEF U-Report Secondary Schools competition
TSTT Corporate Communications
The best way to understand youth's challenges in the 21st century is to ask them. But UNICEF has gone one step further. An even better way is to empower youth to share their own stories through the technology already in their hands and this is exactly what the fund is doing through U-Report.
U-Report is a web and app-based platform that supports adolescents and youth, working as a tool to share information, raise awareness and collect quantifiable data that UNICEF can action. Established in 2011, the platform has continued to grow and is now in over 95 countries, including Trinidad and Tobago, with more than 28 million users.
At the recent launch of the U-Report National Secondary Schools Competition at East Mucurapo Secondary, Bertrand Moses, UNICEF, Mental Health and Psychosocial Support Specialist, who recently served as National Coordinator of Child Affairs in the Office of the Prime Minister of Trinidad & Tobago, called on students to participate in becoming avid U-Reporters. "Mental health, bullying and discrimination are issues that young people face every day. We at UNICEF, in collaboration with the Office of the Prime Minister, Gender and Child Affairs, worked on creating U-Report - a dynamic, important, powerful tool designed to ensure your voice is heard. I want you ALL to join and stand up and be counted as young kings or young queens."
He also told the student audience, "You have the opportunity to win prizes, but the important thing is to be heard. Today, this ground-breaking launch of the U-Report Secondary Schools competition means that your school can win prizes sponsored by bmobile. Thank you to bmobile for graciously partnering with us to motivate young people to make their voices heard."
bmobile, T&T's leading and only native telecommunications provider, has long supported youth development, particularly in education. The company is offering the top school $25,000 and an upgrade to the school's broadband platform and second and third-place prizes of $15,000 and $10,000 awarded to school projects. To enter, students simply Direct Message the U-Report Instagram page (@UReportTandT) with the word ‘JOIN’ to register. After registration, they must complete the poll on Inclusion and Discrimination to qualify their school for the prizes. Each student can only enter once as they are assigned a unique ID. The schools with the greatest number of entries by percentage will win.
Gerard Cooper, General Manager Operations and Administration, TSTT, noted that this social mobilisation of the youth through technology perfectly aligned with the bmobile’s CSR vision. "We are happy to see that social media channels are being used productively to meet the youth where they already are. We are motivating them to make use of this opportunity to have their voices heard not only in T&T but globally. The students of today are the ones who will be charged with the responsibility of building on and executing the necessary work behind the UN's Sustainable Development Goals in order to meet the challenges we already face and the ones yet to come. We hope this whets our students’ appetites to be of greater service whether via diplomacy or by solving challenges in their own innovative ways."
Priyanka Lalla, UNICEF Youth Advocate, who was interviewed by U-Report four years prior at the age of 12, also spoke to students. She shared a story of her friend from Sudan who emerged from malnutrition in a refugee camp to win a scholarship and would soon become a medical doctor. "We must not be daunted by our circumstances,” she advised the student audience. “We must learn to speak up on the issues that affect us. U-Report allows young people to have equal say as the politicians and policymakers and I encourage you to make use of it," Lalla added.
U-Report is available now for students and young persons via Facebook and Instagram (@UReportTandT) and the competition is open.
More about U-Report
U-Report is a free social monitoring tool for community participation, designed to address issues that young people care about. Polls and alerts are sent out to U-Reporters and real-time response information is collected. Results and ideas are shared back with the community.
Issues polled include climate change, health, education, water, sanitation and hygiene, youth unemployment, disease outbreaks, social welfare sectors and others. Data received can be disaggregated by age, gender etc. in real time on the website tt.ureport.in.
In addition to being a two-way communication channel, U-Report provides life-saving information to users during times of emergencies such as hurricanes and floods to help educate people on prevention, mitigation and recovery. U-Report also offers personalised U-Bots, or Infohubs, which are designed to deal with a specific issue, harnessing UNICEF and partner programme knowledge and making it widely accessible to U-Reporters throughout the region. Bots available through U-Report T&T have included those on mental health, nutrition and presently available is FunDoo – a chat-based learning solution delivering 21st century skills through real world tasks. Catering to young people from 14 to 24 years of age, it enables access to quality skilling opportunities and career exploration through byte-sized gamified content that follows learning-by-doing principle and can be completed at home, simply through WhatsApp, Instagram or Facebook!