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Thousands receive life skills for free through FunDoo

Seventeen-year-old Celine Senhouse is seeing tremendous improvements in her ability to cope with stress, manage time and hone her organizational management skills in just a few months of using UNICEF’s new youth engagement tool, FunDoo.

FunDoo is a chat-based U-Report initiative that seeks to place real-world life skills at the fingertips of children and youth to help them excel in work, at school and beyond. The programme was originally created in India and scaled to many other countries reaching over 300 million adolescents between the ages 13 and 24 years who do not have access to holistic, quality education. FunDoo is available in the Eastern Caribbean area on WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Instagram Messenger.

Celine is one of 1907 young people across the Eastern Caribbean who have completed self-paced FunDoo modules.

“FunDoo's tasks have introduced an element of self-balance in my life,” said Celine, a student in Dominica. “I learned many valuable things about stress, such as what could trigger my stress and how I can lower my stress levels.

“I have also learned how to manage time correctly, deal with procrastination, and I have even learned a few teamwork tips which helped me deal with different personalities during group work exercises at school,” she said.

FunDoo was introduced in the Eastern Caribbean area last September following a U-Report poll in which 89 per cent of respondents expressed an interest in improving their critical thinking, time management, communication, banking, entrepreneurship, and budgeting skills.

The programme is available on WhatsApp, Facebook messenger and Instagram messenger to facilitate fun, engaging, and self-paced learning using accessible technology.

Celine learned about FunDoo when U-Report Ambassadors visited her school, the AcademiX School of Learning, where she is pursuing an associate degree. As president of the student government, she manages all extracurricular activities while leading a rigorous study schedule to maintain good grades.

“FunDoo has also helped me learn more about myself. Some of the tasks helped me identify my strengths and weaknesses,” said Celine. “FunDoo will continue to fill that gap left in the formal education system where students like me can learn critical life skills in a fun and engaging way,” she added.

Coleen Blache, 18, first learned about FunDoo through U-Report Ambassadors in her country Grenada. She enjoys all aspects of the programme but is especially fond of the “make your own budget” and “drop a habit” tasks.

“FunDoo has really helped me save some money these past few months as I was finally able to create a realistic budget and attempt to manage my spending,” she said. 

“As someone who loves puzzles, I also enjoyed playing the random "find the difference" puzzles, as they boosted my mental energy and assisted in my cognitive development. It was also a great way for me to relax after a stressful day,” she explained.

In Antigua and Barbuda, Cedric Park, 20, is improving his public speaking and budgeting abilities.

“The tasks allow me to gain knowledge while having fun doing the tasks. Very short and interesting," he said.

Towanda Forbes and Karen Mendoza are form 5 students at the Palo Seco Secondary School in Trinidad and Tobago. They both described FunDoo as “interactive” and “entertaining.”

“I especially like the self-awareness module because it is an innovative way to help teens like me with self-esteem and self-confidence, as we can often get caught up in the negative loop of social media,” Towanda admitted.

Karen noted that there are many options to choose from depending on the user’s individual needs.

“The activities available under the critical thinking skills were amazing," said Karen. “FunDoo can be your best friend when it comes to learning outside the classroom. When you message, the responses are so quick you never get a second to be bored.”

Each month, three new tasks are added to the FunDoo menu, categorised into primary skills such as building your thinking skills which include tasks such as “solve a problem,” “get organized,” “analyse a problem,” “make a time wheel,” and “make your own budget."

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