The UNICEF Gambia office and Gambia’s largest GSM company, Africell, have signed an agreement to support youth engagement and participation in decision-making processes through the U-Report platform.
Under a memorandum of understanding signed at the UNICEF offices, Africell will provide free SMS services to U-Report, a free social messaging platform developed and deployed by UNICEF and its partners.
Representatives from the Gambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the National Youth Council graced the event.
“Young people constitute a critical mass of the Gambian population and their voices are fundamental in shaping development policies and programs,” said Gordon Jonathan Lewis, UNICEF Representative in The Gambia.
“We see signing this partnership today as a first step towards a lasting relationship that will demonstrate the added value businesses can bring to building partnerships for accelerated results for children and youth,” said Lewis.
U-Report is a social messaging tool that allows users to respond to SMS surveys and participate in discussions on issues of interest to them. Survey results are automatically generated and shared with relevant partners to inform decision-making.
Since the platform’s launch in The Gambia in March 2019, it has registered more than 12,700 members, known as U-Reporters. U-Report is currently in use in 68 other countries and has more than 11 million users worldwide.
“Africell is proud to help bridge the gap between policymakers and the next generation of leaders,” said Hussein Diab Ghanem, CEO of Africell Gambia. “We remain committed to supporting the rights and development of young people in The Gambia. “
“This moment represents one of the biggest milestones I have witnessed in my U-Report journey,” said Ebrima M Touray, U-Report Ambassador. “I firmly believe that this partnership will make a huge difference in the way young people engage with decision-makers and contribute to the national discourse. “