By Francis Chimberenga, 23, student at Malawi College of Health Sciences
U-Report Malawi is a free mobile based-platform which addresses concerns that affects the youth through text message surveys. It provides a platform through which young people send their own concerns in form of text message. One can become a U-Reporter by sending JOIN to 1177 then following the instructions that follow.
As an ambitious young man who dreams of becoming a histopathologist and owning a private medical laboratory, I feel good to be involved with the launch of this programme. It will facilitate freedom of expression, since young people will use this platform to raise issues that affect them in their daily life endeavors. I believe that as the youth express their concerns, they can help come up with positive solutions to the suggested challenges.
It is imperative for young people to join U-Report, since it targets them to air out their issues. It provides a platform so that their voice is heard by media, the government and other stakeholders that assist young people to achieve their goals.
Youth in Malawi face challenges of different kinds that need urgent attention and intervention. These include sexual abuse, lack of skills, lack of finance, early pregnancies and unemployment, all of which may jeopardize their future if appropriate interventions are not taken.
If a young girl is forced into marriage and is made to drop out of school, and the matter is reported via U-Report to the government and other stakeholders, she can be saved from this. It’s like U-Report has come to alleviate some of these challenges.
My experience at the launch of U-Report at Malawi College of Health Sciences was an awesome experience that brought back lost hope to me and other young people who dream for the betterment of this country. I believe that U-Report will benefit the youth and the whole community by providing necessary information.