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Yunitok is a free SMS social monitoring tool for community participation, designed to address issues that young people care about.

“U-Report” is a well-known free social monitoring tool designed for young people to strengthen community-led development and citizen engagement. First launched in Uganda in 2011, UNICEF developed the social messaging tool and data collection system to improve citizen engagement, inform leaders and foster positive change. It is now used in more than 70 countries.

There was just one problem. In Kenya, the name U-Report had already been trademarked by a media company. So, before the tool could be launched here, it needed a new identity. In partnership with the State Department for Youth Affairs, National Youth Council, Youth Enterprise Development Fund, Kenya Scouts Association, Kenya Girl Guides Association and the Generation Unlimited Kenya Secretariat, UNICEF organized a two-week online naming challenge to identify potential names for the digital platform. The rebranding also presented an opportunity to engage youth to help create a new name for U-Report localized to the Kenyan context that resonated with young people. Posters, videos, tweets and messaging were shared across all the partners social media platforms calling on young people to submit their proposed names for consideration.

Cynthia Nyongesa, Gen-U youth ambassador, was also involved in creating a buzz about the naming challenge and called on young people to participate in the online competition. At the end of the submission period, a list of names was compiled and reviewed based on the selection criteria including creativity, relevance to the youth platform and uniqueness. From more than 200 names submitted, a shortlist of five names that met the selection criteria were subjected to a second round of online voting with close to 105 votes cast. In the end, the name “YUNITOK” was selected as the preferred brand name.

Mitchelle Omumamu, the young lady who came up with YUNITOK, decided to take part in the naming competition when she saw a post on Instagram. She said she thought of several names before finally settling on YUNITOK.

“I wanted to propose a name that signifies youth talking to UNICEF and other partners. I, therefore, added a ‘Y’ for ‘youth’ as a prefix to UNICEF and dropped the ‘CEF’ and replaced it with ‘TOK’ for ‘talking,’” Mitchelle said.

A national steering committee led by the State Department for Youth Affairs is being convened and will map out the thematic areas for the year as well as support efforts in mobilizing young people to enroll on YUNITOK.

Young people and critical stakeholders are excited about the launch of the YUNITOK platform in Kenya as it will share essential information with young people and allow their voices to be amplified and inform programmes and policies that concern them.

See by the numbers how we are engaging youth voices for positive social change.