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Africa Check mentors the future of fact-checking

Africa Check’s four-year partnership with the UN Democracy Fund aims to help the public be more critical of information seen and shared, and improve the fact-checking skills of students, journalists and bloggers.

In 2021 Africa Check and the United Nations Democratic Fund (UNDEF) launched a four-year project to fight misinformation and strengthen democracy. The project has adopted Africa Check’s approach to fighting misinformation, partnering with crucial role players such as journalists and the broader public.

With UNDEF’s support, Africa Check aims to:

  • Help the public – in particular the youth – be more critical of the information they see and share.

  • Increase access to accurate information. 

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

The media is a significant role player in Africa’s information ecosystem. Fostering a culture of fact-checking in current and future journalists ensures that information shared with the public is accurate and verified.

123 journalists trained in fact-checking

In the first year of the project, 123 journalists were trained in fact-checking. To deepen learning from the fact-checking workshops, a total of 23 journalists were selected to take part in a mentorship programme.

The current round of the mentorship programme has participants from Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa. Fifty-two percent of the participants are female. The mentees are selected by invitation as well as from those who show interest in the programme. 

‘Emphasis back on accurate reporting’ – mentee

Mentees have completed the programme with an understanding of the importance of fact-checking and the skills needed to integrate fact-checking into their work. Several of them have shared their experience of the mentorship: 

“The fact-checking process surprised me with the advanced technology involved that can authenticate any image or information all around the world with just a click in the search. I am still imagining how some bloggers and writers compose, doctor and share non-factual information. I was also surprised with the dedication the organisation took to coach journalists without asking for any material payback.” – Samuel Odhiambo, Kenya

“Now I always start with asking ‘Is this fact-checkable?’ It also puts the emphasis back on accurate reporting and I am a lot more focused on getting the facts and not just opinions.” – Shahista Rohan, South Africa

“The major highlight from the training is having a compendium of all the professors in Nigeria, which aids my news production, and having prominent experts to speak on a particular issue, which makes my news bulletin richer than before. Also sharing the knowledge gained from the mentorship with my colleagues is also a good highlight for me as I don't hoard information as I became a trainee trainer, which makes me excited too.” – Yemisi Dada, Nigeria.

Mentorship and training made possible through support from the United Nations Democracy Fund.

UNDEF

Further Reading

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