Meedan supports African non-profits, others to tackle COVID-19 misinformation

The floor of a farm full of ripen and unpicked pears and in the middle of the picture the legs and feet of someone standing wearing pants and sand. Photo courtesy of Ruda Coletiva. This picture is part of photographer Wara Vargas's work related to the impact of COVID-19 in the food chain of Latin America.

Meedan has supported twenty-five non-profit organisations as part of its efforts to tackle health misinformation, particularly those arising from the novel COVID-19.

At least eight of the non-profits are from Africa including Nigeria’s Peoples Check, a student-run fact-checking organisation based in Lagos.

A statement made available on Meedan website shows that a total of $52,000 have been awarded to these 25 organisations to carry out project in their communities.

Meedan also revealed that it received over 290 applications during the call which did not last for 30 days.

The statement reads: “While overwhelming and heartening, the large pool of applications made the selection process challenging. A few criteria guided us in this process. Originality and the innovative nature of the application were important factors in the selection. Some applications stood out for their creativity and clarity. Applications were also shortlisted on the basis of their achievability — projects that proposed activities and outputs that could be realistically achieved during the current health crisis were prioritised.

“In this round, we awarded 25 projects with funding that ranged between $300 and $2,500, for a total of $52,000. From organisations involved in relief work around COVID-19 to individuals committed to tracking the impact of the pandemic on local communities, – the range of applications was wide, rich and diverse. Given the work they do, some of these grantees face risks of political repression, and we’re not able to list all of them here.

ALSO READ: Africa Check to train Nigerian journalists on COVID-19 misinformation

“We were thrilled by the 170 applications we received from Africa, which made up the majority of our overall application pool. Due to our limited funds we were only able to support six applications from Nigeria, Somalia, Kenya, Guinee, Tanzania, Zambia. Here are highlights from four of these.

People’s Check in Nigeria is launching the ‘Verify Nigeria’ project to fact-check and verify viral health misinformation and disinformation that has affected people’s health and life in Nigeria. People’s Check will create different visual elements and participate in training students and citizen journalists on health fact-checking training.

Radio Daljir SOMALIA will support media literacy efforts in Somalia and design audio campaigns and radio reporting to bring health facts to the public, encourage COVID-19 prevention measures & make social distancing possible. Radio Daljir will target communities in Somalia’s regions of Puntland and Galmudug States of Somalia with a focus on the situation of the nomads.

Zéro Pauvre Afrique (ZPA, “Zero Poor in Africa”) will track, deconstruct, disseminate misinfodemics with support of a network of volunteers in order to reduce their impact on the management of the COVID-19 crisis in Guinea.

“Family Welfare Foundation’s project will contribute to ensuring engagement of human rights defenders and activists with local artists in documenting, information sharing, reporting and amplifying voices on injustice issues, human rights abuse and repressions associated to COVID-19 interventions in Tanzania.

“We are building on the success of the COVID-19 microgrants to create different media funds in Africa that can support more innovative projects.”