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20 U-report ambassadors to attend training

IN preparation for the MTN Bushfire Schools' Festival, 20 young people who have been recruited to be in the first group of U-report ambassadors will attend a three-day train-ing on May 16 to 18.

The training will be facilitated by Lusweti Institute for Health Development Communication and UNICEF, and it will be funded by NERCHA and UNICEF.

According to Luswen Communications Manager Nontobeko Mbuyane, the 20 ambassadors will be trained on the U-report and social behaviour change communication.

"In total we will recruit 100 young people but this is the first group. They will be given comprehensive education regarding risks associated with early sexual debut so that they understand social behaviour change and then send the right messages," she said.

In an interview with UNICEF Communications Officer Sibongisern Mamba, he said the schools' festival event was a good platform to reach many young people.

"For UNICEF, the U-report plays two roles; it gives recipients of development services the chance to communicate with service providers.

It's a good monitoring tool. The U-report focuses on HIV but later it will expand and address other issues. We are working with Luswen and NERCHA." he said.

Mamba added that the U-report was a new concept that they were hoping to launch very soon. He said it was a project that would engage a lot of young people, parents and community leaders who will become ambassadors to their communities, through sending text messages directly to a short code and report gaps in services, get swift responses and trigger action.

On another note, Lusweti Communications Manager Nontobeko Mbuyane, also revealed that they will train artists, local facilitators and the festival ambassadors on social behaviour change communication on May 14 and 15 at House on Fire.

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