UNICEF, in collaboration with World Vision in Ghana, has launched its U-Report initiative at New Konkompe, to create a platform for young people in the Atebubu-Amantin Municipality in the Bono East Region to communicate and share issues affecting them.
The U-Report is a digital platform to engage young people to share and receive information on issues that are of great importance in their communities, country and the world.
The launch coincided with fun games organised for young people from eight selected communities in the municipality.
The communities included Akokoa, Abour, Garadima, Sanwankyi/Afrefreso, New Konkompe, Boniafo, Kokofu and Atebubu.
Games played at the event were football, Oware, Ludo, Snooker and others.
Ms. Ruth Pappoe, the Digital Communications Officer and Member of the UNICEF U-Report Team speaking at the event, said the U-Report was a global initiative to create convenient platform for young people to share their views.
She said the focus of the U-Report platform was to help bridge the gap that existed particularly between young people and decision making bodies and authorities at the local and national levels.
Ms. Pappoe said the U-Report, which operated on SMS and other digital platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, among others, allowed the youth to speak out on issues that bothered them or existed in their communities in order for UNICEF to relay those issues to the relevant government departments and agencies for necessary action.
She said bi-weekly polls on the U-Report indicated that issues such as unemployment, climate change, teenage pregnancy, education, disease outbreaks, abuse and violence against children, among others, were at the heart of the youth and provided strong backgrounds to facilitate government and non-state actors’ interventions to address these challenges.
Ms. Sunyoung Hwang, the Adolescent and Youth Engagement Officer of UNICEF-Ghana said the initiative, which began in August 2018 in Ghana has over 55,000 U-Reporters across the sixteen regions.
She said the U-Report was not owned by UNICEF, but by the young people adding that UNICEF was just the facilitator of the process and the platform.
UNICEF motivation, she said was to create and sustain the enabling environment for the active involvement and consideration of the views and voices of the young people who formed the larger population in Ghana.
Ms. Barbara Asare, the Campaigns Coordinator of WVI-G commended the government and other key stakeholders for showing greater concern to issues affecting young people.
She, however, stressed the need for the country to do more to address issues such as early child marriages, teenage pregnancy, and other forms of abuse and violence against children, especially young girls in society.
Ms. Sophia Torreson, a 15-year-old form two student of the Abour Roman Catholic Junior High School, on behalf of the youth in the area, commended UNICEF and World Vision Ghana for providing space for young people to participate in the decision making process.