Africa-Press – Lesotho. U-Report Lesotho gave awards to four essay competition winners from the 40 participants that took part in the essay writing last Friday. Entries were open for Primary, High School and Tertiary students. The topic was on their experience on using the U-Report.
U-Report Ambassador Ayesha Khuele explained that the U-Report platform is an initiative by the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) as it is known for dealing with children’s rights and responsibilities. She added that the platform is a free messaging platform that allows anyone from anywhere in the world to speak out on issues they care about.
Khuele emphasized that UNICEF developed the platform to capture voices and opinions on critical development issues and it enables adolescents and young people throughout the country to become U-Reporters and text in their opinions and ideas about the important topics that matter to them.
U-Report already exist in more than 71 countries globally and was established in Lesotho last year. She added that it was introduced to the children and youth and their target was to reach 3 000 youth and children but they managed to reach over 5 000, which is a massive number.
”We would like to thank everyone who took an initiative to invite friends to join U-Report and tell others about it,” she said. She further said the four winners who received the awards wrote about their experience as U-Reporters.
Meanwhile, U-Report Ambassador Sekonyela Qaitsane explained that U-Report social media platform was intended for the development of children and youth directly.
He added that the purpose has always been to challenge the youth’s understanding towards U-Report by hosting campaigns to educate them about U-Report and the opportunities it brings. Qaitsane added that the essays, were also expected to unveil the loopholes in the platform so that they can be addressed.
He noted that for an essay to qualify, it had to indicate the strengths and weaknesses of the U-Report platform so that Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Lesotho and UNICEF can attend to them.
For his part, MISA Lesotho National Director Lekhetho Ntsukunyane said as MISA Lesotho, their biggest assignment was to introduce U-Report and make it popular across the country. He noted that the platforms are for children and youth from the age of 8 to 24.
“The reason why we chose children from the age of 8 to 24 is because the researches made by UNICEF indicated that those people do not have formal platforms where they voice out their views such that they can influence policy making,” he said.
One of the award winners Lebohang Lephoto thanked MISA Lesotho, UNICEF and U-report for affording them the opportunity to share their experiences with U-Report.
“I am overwhelmed as this was a great journey for us and we really learnt a lot,” he said. The winners were Lebohang Lephoto, Lemohang Lesenyeho, Monare Moeletsi and Paballo Kabi.