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Displaced people in the North of Burkina Faso, in February 2020. ©Olympia de Maismont / AFP Displaced people in the North of Burkina Faso, in February 2020.

Information to counter "infodemia" for internally displaced people in Burkina Faso

As part of a partnership with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Fondation Hirondelle's programme in Burkina Faso, Studio Yafa, has been producing specific programmes for internally displaced people (IDPs) in the country since 18 May. The aim is to provide factual, reliable and quality information to these populations, who are particularly vulnerable to the "infodemia" that accompanies the Covid-19 pandemic.

In Burkina Faso, as in other countries in Africa and in the Sahel region, the misinformation that accompanies the crisis linked to the Covid-19 pandemic further weakens vulnerable populations, such as internally displaced people (IDPs). These men, women and children have had to leave their homes and villages as a result of the violence that the country is facing. They live in precarious conditions. Their total number in the country amounts to more than 800'000 people according to official figures in May 2020. The rumours, preconceived ideas and misinformation circulating around the Covid-19 pandemic, but also the additional social, economic and political tensions they generate, hit these fragile populations all the harder.

Having access to reliable, credible and quality information becomes all the more vital. With its team of journalists working in the "Studio Yafa" in Ouagadogou, and in partnership with UNHCR, Fondation Hirondelle has been producing since mid-May a short daily news programme for IDPs and host populations, broadcast by nine partner radio stations in the regions where IDPs are most present. These productions are also made available to the entire Studio Yafa network, which has 37 partner radios across the country.

This information helps to facilitate the response of humanitarian actors and health professionals for the prevention of the pandemic, the provision of care, protection measures and the rebuilding of social ties. Through a journalistic work of fact-checking, they help to defuse rumours, combat misinformation and myths circulating among the population, and relay good practices. Studio Yafa journalists also report on general developments. They strive to create a dialogue between all the components of the country's population in the face of the risks of new conflicts generated by the pandemic. Their productions promote solidarity by highlighting constructive initiatives for displaced and host populations alike.