FAQ

I am not too sure if U-Report really is free. Can you explain?
U-Report is accessible from both Airtel and TNM mobile networks providers. Every communication within 1177 short code SMS is Free of Charge. The only thing that you have to make sure is that you have at least minimum credit in your balance so that you can start interacting on the platform. 

How can U-Report create change by just collecting data?
It is easy to ignore things that are not seen or heard. Making the issues that you care most about visible –to the public and decision-makers - is an important first step in creating the awareness and action that leads to lasting positive social change.


So, you’ve said data-collection is the first step in creating change. What’s the second?
Creating lasting social change takes time, and involves the energy, actions and decisions of many different actors and groups. U-Report works hard to create change on two fronts:
1)   Our project partners work to make sure that the responses and results that you provide are shared with the media, government and civil society so that your voices are heard and considered during their decision-making processes.
2)   We also aim to provide results and other important information with our U-Reporters, to help equip you to take your own steps towards creating positive changes in your own lives & communities.


How is the U-Report platform different from other social media platforms?

U-Report allows you to join other young people and share your opinions and ideas, but keeps you and your identity safely hidden. It also allows you to listen to the opinions of young people outside of your regular social networks. U-Report has over 5 million users worldwide.


What benefits do people get from joining U-Report?

U-Report allows you to share your opinions on issues you care about and find out which things matter most to others around you. Regularly receiving poll results and information via U-Report might also give you some new ideas that can help you create change in your own life and community. 

What kind of issues can we discuss on U-Report?
The social issues that matter to you, except politics! So you can discuss employment, education, gender equality, drugs & alcohol, reproductive health, climate change, mental health, child marriage, refugees, cyber security, volunteerism, bullying, disability and more.

But isn’t this all kind of political?
U-Report focuses on social issues and not national politics. As a UN agency, UNICEF upholds the principle of neutrality which extends to the projects we support. This means that U-Report will never be used to encourage support for a specific political party or figure. Similarly, we won’t ask you for information on your political affiliation or whether you endorse a specific political party or programme – that’s your business.

Who sees the responses U-Reporters share?
Our messaging platform is hosted in the cloud, and connected to a secure offshore server. All responses appear in a back-end dashboard that is hidden from the public. We have a couple of project staff who regularly interact with the dashboard, but no identifying details appear there beyond those you’ve shared to create your profile. Your responses “appear” publicly only as part of a map or graph generated by the total incoming responses.

Do you share or sell your contact database?
Definitely not, and U-Report will never be used as a marketing channel for specific products or for-profit brands.


Who chooses the poll questions and how is the selection made?

Our questions are a combination of suggestions made by our partners, as well as the suggestions you make via the U-Report channels. Our platform is able to track key word trends to help us identify emerging issues of importance. Sometimes we also coordinate our polls with other countries - usually when there is opportunity to present the results (your voices!) in really high-level forums (like the UN General Assembly and other global forums).

How do we receive the results?
General poll results will be shared back with you – via your U-Report channel of choice (UNICEF Facebook or SMS) – a few days after we’ve sent out the initial poll. You can also check on U-Report Malawi website for a more detailed breakdown of the results (and also to see the results of other polls we have ran in the past).

Can we leave U-Report once we’ve joined?
Of course (though we sincerely hope you don’t). You choose which polls to respond to and, if you’d like to stop receiving messages, just send the word “STOP” via your regular U-Report channel. Before you do though, we’d appreciate if you could send us a quick message explaining why so we can do our best to improve the experience for all U-Reporters. And, if you decide you miss us after all, we would love to have you back!