Just a few months after U-Report launch in March, UNICEF has hailed Malawians for responding overwhelmingly to the new mobile service.
U-Report Malawi is a free mobile based tool for community participation designed to address issues which affect the youth.
According to U-Report manager Charlie Hartono, Malawi has so far registered more than 100, 000 U-Reporters with a 54 percent response rate while there are 5.5 million U-Reporters globally.
“The response rate is one of the best in the world. We did the first poll which was broadcast on 15th April. In addition, we have also visited Parliament and we were at Civo Stadium for Ufulu Festival on 6 July. We also partnered with Super League teams,” he revealed.
However, Hartono bemoaned unequal statistics of male and female U Reporters in the country.
He disclosed that currently Malawi has 68 percent male U-Reporters while their female counterparts are at 32 percent.
He then challenged the media to report issues which attract female participation.
U-Report which is for free on both Airtel and TNM includes regular opinion pools sent by SMS by texting the word “JOIN” to 1177.
U-Report was first launched in Uganda in 2011. Opinion polls and alerts are sent out to U-Reporters via SMS text messages and real time response information is collected.
Polling is conducted on issues such as access to education, health services and safe water, ending child marriages, HIV/AIDS and violence against children.
All poll results are made publicly available on U-Report Malawi website www.ureport.mw
Meanwhile, Hip Hop artist Fredokiss, Footballers Lucky Malata, Esau Kanyenda, Brighton Munthali and 130 members of parliament and staff have already signed up as U-Reporters.