By Chioma Obinna

Barely one week after COVAX delivered its billionth dose in Rwanda, UNICEF has launched its first ever U-Report Challenge calling on all 13.3 million U-Reporters in Africa to help get vaccines to the unvaccinated.

Through improving access and confidence in COVID-19 vaccines, the #GiveitaShot challenge aims to activate young people in motivating those eligible in their community to get vaccinated. Covid-19 information and advocacy messages have been packaged and disseminated via SMS, Facebook Messenger and other communication channels.

With an initial focus on six countries on the continent (Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Zimbabwe), the U-Report #GiveitaShot challenge will be rolled-out for eight weeks.

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Weekly messages will be sent on U-Report to encourage young people to learn about COVID-19 vaccines. They will be engaged in community actions (both online and offline).

Nigeria and South Africa celebrities, also U-Report supporters, Kate Henshaw and Maps Maponyane are teaming up with UNICEF on this initiative.

Speaking on the development, Henshaw said: “Africa has been battling COVID-19 for two years now.  At a time of Omicron, it is more important than ever to get vaccines to the unvaccinated.

Also, Maponyane said: “If we want to combat misinformation, it is key to mobilize the continent’s U-Reporters and provide much-needed information on Covid-19 vaccines to save people’s lives.”

It is estimated that about 10 per cent of the adult population on the African continent is vaccinated.

U-Report is a messaging tool that empowers young people around the world to engage with and speak out on issues that matter to them.

Today, U-Report is active in 88 countries worldwide, with 19.3 million U-Reporters all over the world, and works with SMS, Facebook Messenger, Viber, Telegram, and Whatsapp.

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