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COVID-19 : Fighting rumours and helping audiences cope

Fondation Hirondelle is working across 17 countries to help media and audiences cope with the new coronavirus crisis.

Our projects aim to provide reliable, accurate, useful information on the virus and its wider impacts, as well as offering editorial, financial and technical support to media to help them share high-quality programming throughout the crisis. Countering dangerous mis- and dis-information is also a fundamental part of our work.

Fondation Hirondelle’s Editorial Teams in Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Madagascar, Myanmar and Bangladesh are producing content for broadcast in multiple languages, including dedicated programming for the most vulnerable, such as displaced people and women.

We are supporting partners in Benin, Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Sudan and Uganda. This includes editorial guidance on how best to cover the emergency, the provision broadcast equipment such as antennae to reach more audiences, and funding for content production and broadcast.

A central “COVID-19 Editorial Hub” of highly-experienced journalists and a health specialist is offering support across all countries with fact-checking, content production and guidance.

Through a partnership with the Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD), our COVID-19 Editorial Hub will be fed with systematic mapping of (dis)information trends on Facebook in 6 African countries (Mali, Niger, Burkina, CAR, DRC, Cameroon).

A partnership with the social enterprise Viamo is enabling us to reach and interact with audiences via mobile networks in innovative ways. In a number of countries, we are able to gather data on the coronavirus-related concerns and perceptions of populations, using SMS and Interactive Voice Response services. These insights enable us to better meet the needs of our audiences. The partnership also allows us to share potentially life-saving information through audio with hundreds of thousands of people using Viamo’s 3-2-1 Service, where users dial into a country-specific toll-free number to access relevant, credible and actionable information on demand using any kind of mobile device.

Objectives

  • Audiences have access to trusted, accurate information regarding the new coronavirus and its wider effects
  • Local and national media outlets are able to survive the financial impacts of the crisis and continue serving audiences
  • Potentially harmful false information is prevented and countered
  • Journalists are better equipped with tools and knowledge for fact-checking and for communicating about the Covid-19

Results

  • The broadcast of thousands of hours of locally-relevant local language multimedia content on the Covid-19 crisis, including content aimed at debunking harmful rumours, across 17 countries
  • Training and guidance for hundreds of journalists on fact-checking and communicating about the new coronavirus
  • Production, equipment and financial support provided to 16 media partners in Africa and Asia

Resources

Amount : CHF 6 million

Sources of funding:

  • European Commission’s department for International Cooperation and Development, as part of the project "Covid19 Response in Africa - Together for reliable information";
  • The European Union Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace;
  • The H2H Network’s H2H Fund, which is supported by UK aid from the UK government;
  • The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation

 

For more information: Jacqueline Dalton, Program manager, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.