By Catherine N Makumbi, Communication Specialist UNICEF Uganda
U-report from Uganda ranked into the world’s top 40 in mobile content excellence, shining a light on mobile innovation in the m-Government & Participation category.
Amidst the world’s best mobile application developers U-report was honoured with the global UN-based World Summit Award mobile (WSA mobile) at the WSA mobile Global Congress in Abu Dhabi from February 1-3.
“This award is a recognition of the role U report plays in giving a voice to individual citizens, especially the young and most marginalized, to affect change on issues that matter to them. We now look forward to maximizing the enormous potential U-report has to enhance social accountability and strengthen good governance to realize the fundamental rights of all children in Uganda,” said UNICEF’s Representative to Uganda, Ms. Aida Girma, before she travelled to Abu Dhabi to receive the award.
Girma received the award amidst 39 projects from 30 countries, and in front of UN representatives, ICT ministries and the private sector.
Selected from 480 entries from over 100 countries, U-report was selected in the Category m-Government & Participation.
“To drive meaningful and relevant innovation in mobile technology, you have to connect smart minds. With the WSA mobile we dive into the status quo of mobile content and showcase the momentum of development all over the world. This year’s winners are an excellent selection of the most important factor of development – matching local solutions to local needs. Abu Dhabi will be the special stage to highlight the swing of state-of-the-art mobile content serving to develop local communities, national social strategies and meaningful use of mobile technologies”, says WSA Chairman Peter A. Bruck.
The WSA-mobile winners were selected by a Jury of international ICT experts in two democratic rounds. Each UN Member State was eligible to nominate one product per category for the World Summit Award, ensuring that nomination results came from a national pre-selection prior to the international WSA Jury.
The m-Government & Participation category focuses on applications that deliver content rich solutions to significantly improve service depth and quality as well as democratic processes; strengthening public policies, fostering efficiency of information exchange, increasing transparency and facilitating participation of citizens and public services clients; using public access to data for innovative products and services on a commercial or non-commercial basis.
U report in Uganda
Having launched in May 2011 there are now 287,868 U-reporters spread across all 112 districts countrywide. The average age is 25 years of whom 36% are female and 64% male.
U report enables those who register – known as U-reporters – to receive and respond to weekly SMS questions about Ugandan social development issues as well as send SMS messages on specific matters that concern them – all at no cost to themselves.
More partnerships will be built with NGOs, Government, youth organisations, Faith Based Organisations and private companies to further community development goals at the grass roots.
About World Summit Award-mobile
The World Summit Award Mobile is a global initiative within the framework of, and in cooperation with, the United Nations World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), in collaboration with UNESCO, UNIDO and UN GAID. The WSA-mobile is the only ICT event worldwide, that reaches the mobile community in over 170 countries. Abu Dhabi, as the city of the award’s key partner ADSIC (Abu Dhabi Systems & Information Centre), is host for all WSA-mobile Awards.