EDUCATION
U-Reporter from Abim travels to New York for Malala Day!
Jan. 6, 2016
BY MARIA NABATANZI
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“One child, One teacher, One pen and One book can change the world.”- Malala

Joyce Nakia is a young 25 year old women who works as a Marketing Manager with Luo FM. Born in Abim
District, she is a proud U-reporter who joined the program during its launch in 2011. The U-report
program is a free social SMS program designed to raise issues that young people of Uganda care about.
With over 215,000 members nationwide, young people are able to use the platform to discuss a number
community issues, as well as participate in nationwide campaigns which improve their country. Joyce is
very vocal about issues that affect young people and children in Uganda and she says, “My favorite thing
about U-report is that young people’s voices are being heard regardless of where they come from, all
young people are treated equally and they are transparent in everything that they do.”

As a result of Joyce’s active participation, she was chosen to represent U-report Uganda at the United
Nations Headquarters in New York on the 12th July. She attended Malala Day where over 500 young
people from all over the world, came together in support of the UN secretary General’s Global Education
First Initiative, to campaign for better access to education for all children. Joyce says, “ I happened to
shake hands with Gordon Brown, The UN special Envoy for Education, I told him all about U-report, and
how we using it to ensure the voices of the voiceless and vulnerable are heard.”

Malala Day celebrates the miraculous recovery and triumph of Malala Yousafzai a Pakistani school girl
who recently turned sixteen on the 12th July. Last year in October, Malala was shot in the head by a
Taliban gun-man, for speaking out in her community in support of girl child education. Joyce says “ I
remember being in tears when I first heard her story because I understand, I understand what it’s like to
be that girl, the girl who’s facing the challenges of accessing and completing school every single day.”
The Office of the UN Special Envoy for education and the Office of the President of the Youth Assembly,
co-hosted a series of events where Malala addressed young leaders and urged them to take action to
ensure that all children are able to learn in safe environments, protected from violence and conflict.

Like Malala, many other school children across the world risk their lives on a daily basis to receive an
education. Joyce recalls an incident during her primary school days growing up in Karamonja with her
grandmother, She says “In those days when cattle rustling was still very prevalent, one morning while I
was walking with my friends to school, two of them were shot by cattle rustlers, who were angry and
frustrated over a previously failed mission. Two children lives taken in an instant, in front of my eyes!”
Today she is extremely grateful that the government implemented the disarmament exercise which has
now brought peace and stability to the region and it is much safer for children to go to school.

Joyce says the challenges faced by girls in regards to access to education still remain and need to be
addressed especially in the region where she lives, “Malala said that where she comes from, if they don’t
send children to school, if they don’t give them pens, the Taliban will give them guns. Although we now
have peace in Karamoja, Malala’s story has reminded me of the importance of keeping children on the
right path to education, we should never give up, we should continue to ensure that girls especially in my
community remain in school, and play an active role developing their communities.”

Clearly still motivated by her trip to New York, Joyce promises to continue to be an active U-reporter and
speak up for girls in her community,”Long live U-report! I now urge the young people to join U-report by
texting ‘join’ to 8500 today.”