Leading children’s organization UNICEF and mobile service provider TNM have signed a new partnership designed to harness the power of technology and innovation to advance children’s rights in Malawi.
This includes collaboration on U-Report Malawi, a youth engagement tool launched in Lilongwe last week.
“At UNICEF, we believe in the power of technology and innovation to shape and change children’s lives for the better,” UNICEF Malawi Representative Johannes Wedenig said. “We have already pioneered the use of drones for humanitarian purposes. Now, working with TNM, we hope to use mobile technology for education and youth empowerment.”
Speaking on behalf of TNM, Acting Chief Executive Officer Eric Valentine said “TNM is happy to partner with UNICEF on this project which aims at enriching and changing the lives of Malawian youth. The youth are the future of this country and that is why TNM being a truly Malawian company is proud to use technology to advance the agenda for the rights of the youth in the quest to build the great nation Malawi”.
“TNM will support this campaign by providing connectivity that will allow the youth to raise issues that affect them in their daily lives by interacting with the U-Report platform”, he said.
U-Report Malawi is a free mobile-based tool for community participation, designed to address issues that young people care about. It includes regular opinion polls sent by SMS. Anyone can join U-Report by texting JOIN to 1177. Since the launch on 28 March, more than 1,000 people have already registered as U-Reporters.
TNM’s support for U-Report includes marketing and promotion through mass SMS broadcasts, events and social media. TNM will also promote U-Report during the TNM Super League. Spectators will be encouraged to join the platform, and well-known TNM football players will endorse U-Report.
The partnership will also include the forthcoming Internet of Good Things (IoGT), a set of tools and information made available to mobile phone users free of charge. IoGT helps to bridge the digital divide and connects the unconnected to information and tools that improve their lives. Topics include preventing diseases like cholera, HIV and malaria, sexual health advice for adolescents, Internet safety and positive parenting techniques.
Moving forward, UNICEF and TNM will also explore other areas of collaboration, such as bringing schools online through the use of 4.5 G technology.
“This partnership enables UNICEF to expand our capacity to reach more young people in Malawi – especially in hard-to-reach areas and widen the window of opportunity for youth participation,” Johannes Wedenig added.
UNICEF has however commended TNM for its support in improving the lives of Malawians across the country.