UReport Uganda

UReport Uganda is an initiative to do SMS-based polling among a large number of Ugandan citizens on different topics weekly.  The service boasts an impressive subscriber base of over 2,50,000 people as of Oct 2014.  While the base is large, the poll data on the website indicates that SMS polls are sent to a smaller subset of participants each week with responses ranging from 20-50% in the polls I reviewed.

The website provides a word cloud on the basis of responses and it also provides charts in case the question of the week had multiple choice responses.  Samples of text sent to the users are copied below.

The overview of the project and its scale are impressive.  It would be interesting to find out what model they used to create such an impressive subscriber base.  In my experience with using SMSes in India, I found that most low income people do not use SMSes for a variety of reasons.   Based on this experience, I have been asking others engaged in such projects in other parts of the world about the social class of membership in such projects.  Given that this is a text based project, that too in English, it would be interesting to learn more about who the users of the project are, and what implications that has for interpreting the results of such surveys.

A sampling of messages sent to the subscribers

Child Days Plus take place every April & October to strengthen routine immunisation. Make sure all children under 5 in your family & community take part in CDP.

Hi U-reporter! We are working together to be better prepared when or IF an emergency happens. Can U help by telling us: What emergencies are u concerned about?

Hi U-reporter. You told us that Security is important to u. What would u like to discuss on this topic?

Dear U-reporter: What topics would you want to discuss on U-report? a) Education b) Security c) Health d) Employment e) other (Specify)

U-reporter! Final question for this week is: What are the 3 common cases of Violence in your community? your reply is shared directly with the CPCs and CDOs


About Vivek Srinivasan

I work with the Program on Liberation Technology at Stanford University. Before this, I worked with the Right to Food Campaign and other rights based campaigns in India. To learn more, click here.