The World Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM) and the UNICEF Global Innovation Center have entered into an agreement aimed at establishing a global communications network through the U-report.
The signing of the Memorandum of Understanding was held at the World Scout Bureau – Kuala Lumpur Office in Malaysia on 18 November 2014.
Through this new collaboration, WOSM will be given access to UNICEF’s global U-report on RapidPro, an open source platform of applications.
U-report is a real-time mobile messaging programme that allows young people from across the globe to communicate, share information and opinions as well as to vote on issues. It provides a channel for strengthening communication and dialogue with communities around core development issues.
This collaboration, using the U-report as a tool to support WOSM achieve its strategic priorities and enhanced youth engagement, was endorsed by the 40th World Scout Conference in Ljubljana, Slovenia in August 2014.
“WOSM will leverage its network of 40 million Scouts in over 200 countries and territories, which it plans to grow to over 100 million by 2023, and encourage them to participate in global and national advocacy and mobilization efforts through the U-report as part of efforts to create a better world”, said WOSM’s Secretary General, Scott Teare.
The input of these young “social monitors” on community reports and polls on issues via SMS will help UNICEF and its partners gather data on community services and issues. This feedback is analysed and summarized in real-time, provided to local government and authorities to make informed decisions about social development programmes and monitor issues that matter most to young people.
The U-report is currently available in Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Indonesia, Nigeria, Mali, South Sudan, Swaziland, Uganda and Zambia. It will soon be launched in several other countries in collaboration with the National Scout Organizations. Here in South Africa discussions are in progress.
Concurrently, the UNICEF Innovation Centre is developing RapidPro as the new real-time information system where applications like the U-report can be built using user-friendly and intuitive web-interfaces, and where mobile-based messaging can be integrated with SMS-based information, as well as other media channels.
WOSM is a long-time collaborator with UNICEF and has conducted numerous joint projects worldwide for the health and welfare of children and youth.