The U-Report Barbados team worked tirelessly in 2022 on the frontlines and behind the scenes to maximize the impact of the platform. We have expanded user-base, presented real opinions to policymakers, and launched a new tool to teach young people valuable life skills. At the core of U-Report’s activities is the mandate to empower and connect young people around the world to engage with, and speak out on issues that matter to us. Barbados is one of 86 countries with an active U-Report Platform, and we work with local NGOs, government, and young people to guide impactful and meaningful policy change.
In the last year, we’ve capitalized on relaxed Covid-19 restrictions to increase our physical presence in schools — an activity that had been halted for over a year. By showing up in schools we are able to directly engage with the youth to drive U-Reporter sign-ups and hear about issues that school children are passionate about. On October 19th, members of the U-Report Steering Committee visited Ellerslie Secondary School, where we gained 66 new U-Reporters. On October 26th, we visited the Barbados Community College where we gained close to 300 new U-Reporters. These school visits are transformative for the programme, as expanding the platform’s user-base allows us to report more opinions to policy-makers, and thus give young people a louder voice at the table.
As a U-Reporter, individuals are given the opportunity to share their opinions on different topics by responding to the polls that we release. A recent poll developed in conjunction with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Accelerator Lab for Barbados investigated the potential impacts of climate change on mental health. The results of that poll are available here.
In addition to community outreaches, we launched a new tool — ‘FunDoo’ — which teaches young people real-world life skills to help them excel across the board, including in work and school. The FunDoo tool leverages the chat platform used by U-Report to share monthly educational tasks with U-Reporters, and takes a ‘learn by doing’ approach. Since September, FunDoo has offered ‘life skills’ lessons on public speaking, calling a helpline, teamwork, stress management, and budgeting. The programme has seen considerable success in India, and we hope to see similar positive impacts on Barbadian youths. To take part in a FunDoo life skills lesson, simply message ‘FUNDOO’ to +1 (246) 832-6775 on WhatsApp.
We will continue to provide updates and plans about our work for 2023 on this page, and more frequent behind the scenes peaks on our social media (@ureportbarbados). Give us a follow to stay informed!
Writer: Hannah Gill
Hannah is a member of the U-Report Barbados Steering Committee with responsibility for Reporting and Data Analysis.