Cotabato City—The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund has launched in the Bangsamoro Region a free online messaging tool that has broadened public engagements among adolescent and youth in neighboring countries.
The U-Report uses polls, alerts, and collects real-time responses. It is designed to empower the youth, make them aware that voices matter and that their own could be their communities’ voice in the future.
Andrew Morris, UNICEF Philippines chief of field office in Mindanao, said “U-Report will now give adolescents and young people opportunity to make their views known in a much more powerful way.”
The Unicef said that in Indonesia government high offices had responded to more than 30,000 U-Reporters asking the government about where to bring their concerns.
The U-Report in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao becomes the country’s first. It was launched Thursday in partnership with the Voluntary Service Overseas Philippines and the Office on the Bangsamoro Youth Affairs (OBYA) —BARMM.
Dr. Marjanie Mimbantas, member of BTA Parliament and OBYA executive director, said the U-Report is timely introduced in BARMM where the Moro youth is “facing the challenge of vulnerability in recruitment by the wrong forces [extremism].”
Morris noted that there were more than 4,000 U-Reporters among children, adolescents and youths who took part on the very day of its launch at the Shariff Kanunsuan Cultural Center here
The UNICEF is looking at more young people becoming U-Reporters in BARMM’s five component provinces and two cities.
“For UNICEF, we know that the passion, the ideas, and innovations of young people can transform the Bangsamoro’s future. We know that. But if young people like to do that, they need to be involved, consulted, empowered, and be equipped,” Morris said.
To become a U-Reporter, Bangsamoro youth to login to their Facebook accounts, search for the U-Report Philippines page, open the messenger app and click join. Upon joining, reporters can start participating in the polls and send reports.
“I know that the Bangsamoro young people can play the same role as the other young people in the countries around the world,” said Morris.
“Your voice matters. Sign up to U-Report and take part on the weekly polls,” he told the hundreds of youth who were present in the launching ceremony.
“For UNICEF, we will do, with our partners, whatever we are able to do to support adolescents and youth in the Bangsamoro; to have their say, to make their views known, to have strong influence over (making) decisions,” Morris said.