U-reporters: Engaging Young People in Real Time for Real Results
For Menstrual Hygiene Day (May 28, 2017), U-Reporters were polled regarding the impact menstruation on their work or school attendance and the level of menstrual education they had received.
Earlier in 2017 UNICEF Pakistan, working with the government and non-government partners, used U-Report to fill their data gap. Based on their success, 18 other countries followed suit. U-Report asked 170,000 girls (!!!) across 19 countries and 4 continents about issues around Menstrual Hygiene Management. Civil Society Organisation partners including the Girl Guides, volunteered to review the polls and answer anonymous, confidential questions from girls and boys about this often sensitive or taboo subject.
By listening, we gained valuable insight on how to enhance Menstrual Hygiene Management programs, guidelines and services that are being developed and rolled out in many countries. From U-Reporting girls we learned that in Tanzania, Pakistan, Indonesia, and Mozambique they were more likely to miss school or work during their periods compared to girls in other countries, particularly upper middle or high income countries.
Lack of education around menstruation was high in India; 41% of U-Reporting girls and women polled said that while growing up they knew little about menstrual health. In Cote d’Ivoire, 31% of U-Reporters did not know about menstruation before their first period.
Lack of access to basic sanitation services means that 83% of school girls polled by U-Report in Mozambique do not feel comfortable changing their sanitary materials at school. Little improves when girls leave school; 71% of girls and women polled did not feel comfortable in their work place toilets. Impact is possible as seen in
U-Report works because we listen, learn and then respond. There are 2.3 million U-Reporters – imagine what can happen with millions more!
U-Report enables young people to share their views on issues confronting them. Now available on Facebook, Twitter and Viber messengers the U-Report members, or ‘U-Reporters’, can respond to polls and submit questions to experts on a range of issues. The number of U-Reports has grown from a few thousand in 2011 to 2.3 million in over 40 countries.