In response to Cholera Outbreak that has claimed 45 lives to date, UNICEF Zimbabwe tasked its communication section to work towards informing the population on the disease, resulting in the launch of a free interactive cholera information hub.
According to UNICEF: “The hub allows any mobile network subscriber to SMS “cholera” to U-Report short code (33500) to receive cholera messages that we feel are critical at the household level to mitigate against the disease.
The U-Report, where the platform sits, is a free SMS social monitoring tool for community participation, designed to address issues that the population cares about. SMS polls and alerts are sent out to U-Reporters, and real-time response information is collected. Results and ideas are shared back with the community.
U-Report relies on volunteer community members serving as U-Reporters on a free entry, free exit basis to provide information on issues in their communities. U-Report allows citizens to speak-out on what is happening in their communities, provides a forum to amplify their voices through local and national media, sends alerts to key stakeholders about the issues their constituents are facing, and feeds back useful information to the U-Reporters, so they are empowered to work for change and improvements in their localities themselves.