U-report is a free SMS social monitoring tool and real-time information system for community participation
U-report is a free SMS social monitoring tool and real-time information system for community participation, designed to strengthen community-led development, citizen engagement, and positive change.
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. Issues polled include among others health, education, water, sanitation and hygiene, youth unemployment, HIV/AIDS, disease outbreaks; social welfare sectors. Data received can be disaggregated by age, gender, States, LGAs, Wards and settlements in real time. Registration is voluntary with SMS free to the users across all networks.
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 started in Uganda in 2011 and has been deployed in 35 countries since May 2017. It has a global target.
UNICEF. U-report has been deployed in 35 countries since May 2017 and has more than 3 million active users. U-report is based on RapidSMS, a mobile polling open source software initially created by UNICEF’s Innovation Unit in 2007.
First of all, U-report is based on RapidSMS, an open source mobile polling software initially created by UNICEF’s Innovation Unit in 2007. RapidSMS is available too to use it directly or develop similar versions.
Other free services are:
Playsms: free and open source SMS management software. Comes with web-based mobile portal system that can be modify to fit services such as an SMS gateway, bulk SMS provider, personal messaging system, corporate and group communication tools.
FrontlineSMS: an interface through which users send and receive text messages. Keywords in incoming messages can trigger actions such as sending a pre-written message, adding a contact to a group or analysing answers as part of a simple survey.
Voto Mobile: is a mature SMS platform, Voto Mobile. Has also interactive voice response systems (IVR) and audio messages, useful in countries with low literacy rates. Voto Mobile focuses on Africa. However, it can be used worldwide through an aggregator or third-party Android app.
Other pay services are:
TeleRivet: system that enables users to perform all aspects of an SMS program. Telerivet has a data export options, usefull to work with survey data in other applications such as Excel. Test account (less than 50 SMS/day) is free. Standard accounts starts at 30 USD/month (limit: 5,000 SMS/day) plus SMS costs.
Magpi: Mobile data collection software with a strong data collection background which support basic two-way communication. Originally from the health sector. Cost: free account includes 10 free SMS. Pro accounts start at 500 USD/month and enterprise accounts at 10,000 USD/year.
Local and national governments. NGOs
Code available here
This product is OpenSource
Direct download from a github code repository
U-report has been deployed in 35 countries since May 2017 and has more than 3 million active users.
Connectivity requirement for the product/service to work (Mobile Internet, SMS, voice, Fixed Internet, Wi-Fi, etc)
Mobile data coverage required for the product/service to work ( (2G, 3G, 4G, LTE, broadband, dial-up, other [specify])
Device(s) type required for the product/service to work.(smartphone ,feature phone, computer, tablet, other [specify])
Permanent network connectivity required (Y/N/Other)
Is the product/service able to receive and send back information to the user?
Rates of user vs downloads/subscriptions – Compliance rate for the app/voice-SMS service
Support according to the literacy level required from the user. If no, the user is intended to be literate (If Yes, (specify))
Operating System required and Software version (Android, IOs, Windows, or other [specify])
Power supply required for the product/service to work.
Device features required for the product/service to work.((bluethooth, Wifi, camera, IVR, GPS, Accelerometers/Motion sensors, physiologic biosensors, biometric identifiers, SIM, Memory card (e.g microSD), other [specify])
U-Report is based off of RapidSMS which polls to provide polling for large number of users. U-Report adds a visualization layer to aggregate poll results exposed in as JSON in the polling app.
The user sends a text messages that is associated with his location, so the info is computed both regarding polling input and location.
This product is an opensource software. The user who deploys it will be in charge of its support.
UNICEF is using the software in 35 countries worldwide with more than 3million active users.
- Muhammad Imran, Patrick Meier, Carlos Castillo, Andre Lesa, and Manuel Garcia Herranz. 2016. Enabling Digital Health by Automatic Classification of Short Messages. In Proceedings of the 6th International Conference on Digital Health Conference (DH ’16). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 61-65. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1145/2896338.2896364
- Otto, Kate; Shekar, Meera; Herbst, Christopher H.; Mohammed, Rianna. 2015. Information and Communication Technologies for Health Systems Strengthening : Opportunities, Criteria for Success, and Innovation for Africa and Beyond. Health, Nutrition, and Population Discussion Paper;. World Bank, Washington, DC. © World Bank. https://openknowledge.worldbank.org/handle/10986/21710 License: CC BY 3.0 IGO
- Schiano, A. Chebly, J. and Ruiz, F. Sustainable Development as a Path to Peacebuilding: Finding Common Ground to Counter the Extremist Narrative. 18 Whitehead J. Dipl. & Int’l Rel. 25 (2017)
U-report has been used in communities in the latest africa ebola outbreak for citizens to provide information about their local context and, in return, provides information back to them that they can use to work for change locally. The tool was used to increase awareness of local needs, one of the most important issues in the Ebola transmission.
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