With support from the United Nations Democracy Fund (UNDEF), Africa Check, the continent’s leading independent fact-checking organisation, will implement a four-year multi-pronged project to fight misinformation and strengthen democracy. The project, Media Literacy for Evidence-based Decision-making in Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa, aims to bolster media literacy and fact-checking skills.

The project will deploy Africa Check’s 360-degree approach to fighting misinformation, partnering with crucial role-players, including journalists and the broader public.

With UNDEF’s support, Africa Check aims to:

  • Empower the public – in particular the youth – to be more critical about the information they see and share.

  • Increase access to accurate information.

  • Strengthen the fact-checking capacity of students, journalists and bloggers.

Media literacy programmes “show great promise” as a proactive strategy to fight misinformation, recent research conducted by Africa Check, Full Fact and Chequeado found.

The project’s media literacy intervention aims to inoculate people against false information proactively and support them to critically understand, analyse and evaluate information, instead of simply consuming and sharing it. Significantly, to reach new audiences and connect with them more deeply, the media literacy campaign will be created in different formats and local languages such as isiZulu (South Africa), Hausa (Nigeria) and Kiswahili (Kenya).

The youth will be a key focus group. By building media literacy skills at a young age, we believe young people can be empowered to be lifelong informed users of information. The intervention will reach an expected 4,800 learners through “infotainment” events at secondary schools across the three countries.

This project will also increase access to accurate information on key issues such as health, finance, education and politics that the public and policymakers can use to participate in public debate and make evidence-based decisions. Africa Check will amplify its fact-checking work via news media and social media channels to increase access to reliable information for a wide range of audiences across the three countries.

Another key focus of the project will be fostering and building fact-checking skills amongst communication and journalism students, journalists and bloggers, or citizen reporters, who are key role-players in the information ecosystem. In the fight against misinformation, it’s crucial that fact-checking is not confined to specialist organisations such as Africa Check.

By strengthening the fact-checking abilities of current and future journalists, the project aims to foster a culture of fact-checking in newsrooms, ensuring that information that goes out to the public is accurate and verified.

Although the training in fact-checking skills is an essential first step, we believe it needs to be a catalyst to build a broader fact-checking culture amongst journalists. For this reason, participants will also receive structured post-training support to entrench learning. There will also be a focused mentoring programme for selected participants, through our Africa Facts network which brings together fact-checkers from across the continent.