By Lilian Kaoza,23, Community Development student at Pentecostal Life University
I was brought up in a community where there are so many issues affecting young people as well as the community. I like working with fellow young people as we share different ideas on issues that affect our lives. I am a social worker and I have been to the field and see what young people’s lives are like in the villages. My dream is to join an organization that works with young people or start my own so that I am able to contribute to youth empowerment.
I am also one of the young people who attended the U-Report Malawi launch at Malawi College of Health Sciences in Lilongwe. I feel great and honored to have been part of this event because I have learnt a lot. What inspired me most was the speech delivered by the Minister of Labor, Youth, Sports and Manpower Development, which encouraged young people to join the U-Report platform as it is very beneficial to them. I heard that with U-Report, young people can ask questions and be given answers, wherever they are, by just sending a text message.
I understand U-Report will enable young people to report on issues affecting them using a free mobile-based tool. I also heard that it will be addressing issues that young people care about through regular text messages. I will be sending messages and receiving feedback according the issue being discussed. I believe that U-Report is there for us young people to express our views and ideas on issues that affect us.
I feel that young people should be involved in U-Report because the platform has been launched for them. They will be able to have a say on issues affecting their day-to-day lives and that of their communities. If young people are participating by being involved in the platform, it means they will be able to come up with ideas which will help other young people solve the problems that affect them. I also believe their participation will help them learn how they can improve their own lives and become good leaders of tomorrow.
I also believe U-Report is very important to young people as they will be able to get information to help them and their communities on issues affecting them. As young people come together, they can identify issues that affect them and share these via U-Report. If they have a question, U-Report will help them with the necessary information. U-Report will help young people find out what other youth in Malawi think about various issues, which I think will also help stakeholders in coming up with relevant information to resolve these issues.
U-Report is also important because it leads to youth empowerment. This is because as young people express their ideas, their voice will be heard and in so doing the youth will be empowered. They will be able to come together in an open space and discuss with other young people. Their voices will be heard by media, the government and others.
Lastly, now that I am a U-Reporter, I am ready to share with my fellow young people what I have learnt about U-Report, what U-Report is all about, and how important it is to us as young people!