On April 16, 2016, U-Report Malaysia held its first training-of-trainers workshop. 28 youths from different backgrounds, Universities and schools were invited to learn more about U-Report and meet other young people keen to create positive social change in their communities. U-Report is a mobile based app developed for young people to share their ideas and opinions on issues they care about, typically through polls. U-Report is live in over 20 countries worldwide with more than 2 million users discussing critical social issues such as HIV/AIDS, Teen Suicide, Early Marriage and more globally. Young people also get to voice out anonymously, especially if they are afraid of backlashes. Miss Soraya, Communications Manager at UNICEF, was very positive about U-Report. According to Miss Soraya, “U-Report is a great platform for young people to share their ideas and opinions on important issues safely. It has been designed to allow young voices to be heard, and it is now possible for youths and adolescents in Malaysia to join over 2 million other young people globally and start voicing out on the issues that matters to them.”
A simple game of bingo served as an icebreaker before participants were divided into groups to identify social issues affecting young people in Malaysia. Some of the topics identified include child marriage, quality education, poverty, migrants/refugees, the economy, mental health and other equally interesting themes.
A brief introduction to U-Report was given, with examples and success stories from other countries. Right after the briefing, participants then practiced developing their own poll questions to collect data on issues they care about that could be used for positive social advocacy and action. Among the selected topics for their group work were Quality Education, Poverty, Cyber Security, Voices of Minority and Political Participation. Some of the information the groups were trying to get through their polls were the awareness level on cyber security, the poverty level in Malaysia, the satisfaction level of Malaysian Education System and more. One participant, an 18 year old Female from Selangor said that “It (U-Report) helps me to interact with people from different communities and gives me a chance to speak (up)”. Another participant of the workshop, an 18 year old male, also from Selangor felt that the workshop session was important for young people. “I feel that U-Report is an excellent platform for all young people since it is open to all young people equally. The training was really what youths needed. It’s really important to make youth understand how U-Report works and how it can help youth make change. It gives us a better understanding of what we can achieve through U-Report” said the 18 year old U-Reporter.
The teams shared their polls and were then given the final task to be creative with their ideas on information-sharing. At the end of the workshop, the creativity level of the participants surpassed expectations, and each group managed to come up with some intriguing ideas!