Africa Check has launched a new programme to reach more people with accurate information. The programme will see a network of Africa Check supporters – called Fact Ambassadors* – sharing fact-checking and media literacy content with their friends, family and colleagues.
The content will be shared on social media platforms in local languages. These include English and isiZulu in South Africa, Kiswahili in Kenya, Wolof and French in Senegal, and Pidgin and Hausa in Nigeria.
This content, created in a variety of formats from infographics to podcasts, will empower people to interrogate and evaluate information instead of simply consuming and sharing it.
Communities will receive this information from their Fact Ambassadors, who are their peers: people they trust and can relate to. According to communication science and social psychology theories, the use of peers as a trusted source of information is a successful strategy in behaviour change campaigns. Our experience also shows that people are open to correcting their peers and being directed by them towards accurate and reliable information.
To recruit Fact Ambassadors, Africa Check put out an open call for people who stand up for accuracy. Key to the nomination process was a passion for the importance of accurate information: we were looking for people who put facts first and pause before they share information.
We received almost 700 applications. After a careful selection process, 100 Fact Ambassadors from Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa have joined the programme. Senegal is soon to follow.
'It is the idea that facts matter'
Our Fact Ambassadors are from a diverse set of backgrounds: public health, journalism, engineering, statistics and development. Here are a few of their motivations for becoming a Fact Ambassador:
“I am from Kenya and I have been a great follower of Africa Check. I also love facts. We are heading to an election in Kenya … I believe that it is the right of my fellow countrymen to always have facts at hand, about our country and the world.” – Erick Odhiambo Langi, Kenya
“I’m a journalist and I owe it, not only as a sense of responsibility but as a matter of patriotism and good conscience, to rightly inform the public accurately on issues of interest and global occurrences.” – Matthew Adesuyi, Nigeria
“I am an engineer who is currently completing my MSc degree. I have a lot of respect for research and always check facts before sending out any information. This is important to provide people with access to good information and to ensure fake news is not spread.” – Udhav Maharaj, South Africa
“It is the idea that facts matter. That having reliable information and letting experts guide us is what is needed in our daily life. That data is better than opinion. Having someone who will play the role of deciphering myths and misinformation is what makes me want to be an ambassador of fact-checking.” – Simanga Mchunu, South Africa
Keep an eye out for the work from our Fact Ambassadors. And please engage and encourage them!
*The Fact Ambassadors are volunteers. They will not be paid, but will receive data vouchers to help them to share our content and engage with their networks.