This Friday is d'Arcy's last day in UNICEF Ireland - for a while at least! d'Arcy's last hurrah will be our Introduction and Visionary Workshop for U-Report. If interested you can sign up here to attend: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdsBgLnJK4rFw3azz6vxhHjlpg-JJQTpNEdttFKUiff-vG1-Q/viewform
We asked him to give you the lowdown on U-Report!
What is U-Report essentially?
U-Report is an online community engagement tool designed for young people to give their thoughts, ideas, opinions, needs and solutions to topics and issues that affect them.
People join for free via Twitter and/or Facebook; entre their basic details of age, location and gender; and are then polled on questions around once or twice a week.
What is the benefit after young people have answered polls?
U-Report is an online platform that allows young people from anywhere and everywhere across Ireland to use ‘voice’ which is then captured with others and can be put towards advocacy goals and creating positive change. Polls are conducted with an advocacy goal in mind with desired results based on findings from U-Report. Previously and currently most choices, decisions and actions are made for young people without much or any consultation and in their best interest by people and organisations who don’t always know what their best interest is.
Who benefits from U-Report and how?
Ultimately young people themselves. As Gandhi is quoted ‘Be the change you want to see in the world’ U-Report Ireland give young people the opportunity to collectively share their opinions and experiences in order to create the change they want to see in the world and not be told, or having to wait, till they are older.
If young people are being listened to and findings acted upon then the rest of society will benefit in more youth engagement, greater participation and creating an Ireland that is firmly looking towards the future not just waiting for it to happen.
Does it cost anything to access this information?
No, U-Report is completely free for participants answering polls through Facebook and Twitter and for anyone who wants to access the data, findings and information captured in the comprehensive U-Report Ireland website: http://ureport.ie
There is also the free U-Report Global platform which sends out U-Report polls to an international youth audience and is open to everyone everywhere. Sign up through Facebook or Twitter and keep an on eye on U-Report Global stats here: https://ureport.in/
Can people request a specific poll to be run on a particular subject?
Yes, why not. Generally, there are two polls a week. One of those polls is produced by a Youth Steering Committee which meets three times a year to work towards advocacy goals and set polls to learn more. The Youth Steering Committee is a group of young people asking questions to young people.
Then on top of this there is usually a second poll a week and this is left open to address immediate topics or issues, to add some light-heartedness and in particular to allow partners from youth organisations, the government and others to find out more from young people.
How do you ensure you have a good cross selection of young people answering the polls?
A major aim of U-Report Ireland and globally is to capture the ideas and experiences of as many young people as possible from as many different circumstances as possible. Generally U-Report signups are via word of mouth so we try to engage with as many sectors of society as possible to get young people involved. This includes from GAA, schools, universities, attending events and in any way possible for a young person to see and understand what U-Report is and how they can participate.
Is it anonymous for young people to participate?
Absolutely and this is one of the biggest advantages to U-Report, its anonymity and intimacy. U-Report allows young people to give honest answers knowing it is anonymous and that they can do it in their own privacy by phone or computer. This then really gives authenticity and unabated answers to topics and issues that have an impact on their lives.
How do young people get involved?
There are two options:
Go to the U-Report Ireland page on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ureportIRL/ and send a message with the word ‘JOIN’ where you will be prompted with some simple questions of age, location and gender
Go to the U-Report Ireland Twitter account: @UReportIrl https://twitter.com/UReportIRL and send a direct message with the word ‘JOIN’ where you’ll be prompted with the same simple questions
People can also sign up for U-Report Global doing the same as above at the following links: Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/ureportglobal/; Twitter: https://twitter.com/UReportGlobal
How does a youth organisation or an individual interested in youth topics and causes?
There is a parallel platform to U-Report called U-Partner where people connected and interested in youth engagement can sign up.
U-Partner gives access to polls, the data and analytics of the data. We encourage any potential partners to get in touch with UNICEF Ireland if they want to engage more young people with U-Report and if they wish to add a poll.
There is also an Advisory Panel for U-Report Ireland that supports the Youth Steering Committee with experience and expertise and has connections with decision makers.
Why would a young person want to get involved?
With a relative small amount of time and effort young people can express their thoughts, views, opinions, feelings, needs, experience and perspectives that will reach influential people making decisions on their behalf.
The other big benefit of U-Report is the learning that will come with participating in polls. Along with answering questions there are links to more information, connections with experts in associated fields and the opportunity to direct message with a request or suggestion.