Press Release

More than 72,000 young people raise their voice – U-Report is officially launched in Iraq

19 November 2021

UNICEF, jointly with the Ministry of Youth and Sports, launches officially U-Report, a social messaging platform, encouraging young people in Iraq to speak out on the issues that matter to them.

Baghdad, 18 November 2021 –The Ministry of Youth and Sports of Iraq, jointly with UNICEF, launched today U-Report, a youth social messaging platform, following the regional launch with the Kurdistan Regional Government in 2019.

This platform is possible thanks to the support of the Governments of Germany, New Zealand and Czech Republic to the digital engagement of youth in Iraq.

In Iraq, approximately 50 per cent of the population is under 18 and 70 per cent under 24 years of age. However, following decades of conflict, the potential of young people has been largely overlooked and needs have been overly unmet, leading to high levels of frustration and resentment.

To date, over 72,000 young people have joined U-Report Iraq, taking part in polls and receiving life-saving and life-changing information. With this partnership, UNICEF is supporting the Ministry of Youth and Sports of Iraq to increase the number of participants un youth engagement across the country and scale up the capacity of the platform to grow into a sustainable tool to address young people’s needs.

The launch was opened by Mr. Adnan Derjal, Ministry of Youth and Sports. In his greeting remarks, addressing the more than 50 young people in the crowd, said: “young people are the leaders of the future and they will help Iraq to achieve SDGs. U-Report will help us to communicate better with young people and listen to their needs”.

Ms. Sheema SenGupta, UNICEF Representative in Iraq also expressed her views, “U-Report is an empowering tool for young people. I would like to encourage the youth of Iraq to join the platform as the best way to amplify their voices and express their opinions”.

Young people can join the platform through a number of ways, including Telegram, Viber, Facebook Messenger and by soon by phone message, to ensure that regardless of the background or the situation of young people, they have ways to express their voice.

So far, the youth of Iraq has expressed their views in issues ranging from why young people migrate from one country to another topics focused on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, like which has been its influence in violence against children and gener based violence.

U-Report Iraq is managed by a Steering Committee with representation from young people. In addition to serving as U-Reporters, young people, along with other members of the steering committee, make sure that poll questions asked to U-Reporters are relevant, suitable and beneficial.

For 10 years, U-Report has allowed youths to amplify their voices and take part in decisions that matter to them, currently connecting over 18 million young people in more than 90 countries and growing.

How it works

U-Report allows young people to speak out via SMS and other social media platforms such as Facebook, Viber, and Telegram through polls and guided feedback features – on what is happening in their communities. It provides a forum to amplify their voices through local and national media and acts as a citizen-sourced, real-time data point for key stakeholders, service providers and decision-makers about the issues being faced in communities. The platform feeds back useful information to the U-Reporters (users that opt into U-Report), so that they are empowered to work for change and improvements in their localities themselves. 

Managed and led by UNICEF, partnerships have been developed with NGOs and the Ministry of Youth and Sports to maximize the existing and potential reach for young people and adult community members in Iraq to access information, express their opinions on key social issues and have that information amplified up to service providers, government and other key stakeholders.

Actioning the Data

U-Report Iraq is used as an office wide tool to support UNICEF Iraq programme interventions in real time to disseminate information, enhance engagement and monitor the implementation of activities. Integration to programmes, such as U-Report being used to support this year’s winterization campaign, allows continued civic engagement and demand creation among young and community members to enhance accountability. Through the U-Report Working Group (consisting of focal points from each programme section), programme sections also utilise U-Report Iraq for programme insights and pulse checks on information they want to disseminate to or solicit from young people.

U-Report relies on volunteer U-Reporters to take an active role and provide critical information to decision makers on issues affecting their communities through polls. It is also a valuable tool for sharing information through message alerts.

To become a U-Reporter, young people only need to log into their Facebook accounts, look for the U-Report Iraq page, open the messenger app, and click “JOIN.” Upon joining, U-Reporters can start participating in polls and send reports.

Learn more about U-Report here.

Join U-Report from the links below:

More than 72,000 young people raise their voice – U-Report is officially launched in Iraq

Miguel Mateos Muñoz

Miguel Mateos Muñoz

UNICEF
Chief of Communication – UNICEF Iraq

UN entities involved in this initiative

UNICEF
United Nations Children’s Fund

Goals we are supporting through this initiative