Flow and UNICEF have recommitted to changing the lives of Jamaican youths using mobile technology and have renewed their partnership in support of youth empowerment through a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).
The two-year MoU was signed last week at Flow’s corporate offices in St Andrew with UNICEF’s Jamaica Representative, Olga Isaza, and Flow’s Communications Director and Executive Director of the Flow Foundation, Kayon Mitchell.
Through this support Flow is powering UNICEF’s social messaging service, U-Report, that connects and empowers youth to speak out on issues that matter to them. UNICEF then shares this feedback with decision-makers and develops services that address their needs.
Isaza, who was recently appointed to the UNICEF Jamaica Country Office, says the new expanded MoU with Flow will cover a broad area of youth development and promote stronger ties between both organisations.
“Over the next 24 months, we will deepen our partnership and work closely together to reduce the digital divide by including more young people in the conversations surrounding safe internet use, health and access to information, education and access to teaching resources,” Isaza said following the signing.
“It is rewarding that Flow, as a leading communications and entertainment provider, shares our values and principles at UNICEF, and we are pleased that you are recommitting to supporting our proven programmes that work for children in Jamaica,” she added.
Since 2018, Flow has partnered with UNICEF to use its mobile technology to create a safe space with U-Report that better meets the communication needs of young people. Both organisations have also collaborated to engage primary and high school students annually for Safer Internet Day. The new MoU will promote greater collaboration between the two organisations aimed at protecting children online.
“Flow is delighted to renew our partnership with UNICEF and to continue providing critical services as well as resources for our young people. As they are empowered, their feedback allows us to better understand their challenges and provide well-needed support,” Mitchell stated.
“Our youth are particularly vulnerable and so, through our mobile technology, we are also helping to provide a readily accessible safe space for these interactions while ensuring that our youth can access the support whenever they need it,” she continued.
The main service currently provided by U-Report is U-Matter, a mental health chatline operated in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Wellness. Named by U-Reporters, the text-based service connects youth aged 16 years-old and upwards with trained councillors 24/7 and is free, anonymous and confidential.
U-Report can be accessed via WhatsApp or SMS by texting 876-838-4897 or messaging @ureportjamaica on Facebook or Instagram.
Globally, UNICEF operates U-Report in 95 countries and has registered almost 30 million U-Reporters, including more than 14,000 from Jamaica.
UNICEF is among several organisations that Flow supports through its Foundation by leveraging its technology to provide vital social needs for children.