After 11 months racing the world’s oceans, the concluding finish line is in sight and a glorious homecoming awaits for the race’s intrepid crew. During its 40,000 nautical mile journey, the fleet has travelled the world and discovered more about Official Race Charity Unicef’s vital work from Panama to Papua New Guinea. As the race returns to familiar shores, let us take a look at Unicef’s work for children closer to home.

Many people might not know that Unicef works with schools, health professionals and local authorities in the UK and Ireland to ensure that all children have the same opportunity to flourish. Now there’s a new innovation that allows young people a greater say over the issues affecting them.

U-Report is an anonymous messaging service that aims to give young people a voice and bring about positive change. Available to anyone aged 13 or over, young people can sign up to receive regular questions via text message or Twitter straight to their mobile phone. Their responses appear instantly on U-Report’s websites, which collate and showcase the views of young people. The service is now running in Ireland, and is soon to be launched in the UK.

Through U-Report, teens can add their voices to campaigns to help children in danger, hold decision-makers to account, have their say on policies that affect them and bolster their own campaigning on issues they care about. U-Report is managed by Unicef and is free, anonymous and easy to use.

U-Report was launched by Unicef Uganda in 2011, and there are now over 2 million U-Reporters in 22 countries around the world. It has already lead to real changes for young people – from exposing a shocking ‘Sex for Grades’ scandal in Liberia, to ultimately increasing the voluntary uptake of HIV testing in Zambia.

You can find out what young people in Ireland have been discussing here. Look out for U-Report’s UK launch soon.

The Clipper Race fleet is due to arrive in Derry-Londonderry, NI, from 7-11 July.

To learn more about Unicef and show your support, click here.

Photo credit: © Shutterstock

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