DUBAWA, a fact-checking arm of the Centre for Journalism Innovation and Development (CJID), has launched a community verification service that will ensure a healthy information ecosystem, safeguard democracy, and promote accountability among citizens.
The Spread the Facts project, supported by the International Fact-checking Network (IFCN) and Meta, addresses the challenge of reach and access to fact-checked information to non-English speaking audiences in West Africa.
In spreading the facts, DUBAWA has created WhatsApp communities in three countries where translated verified content is disseminated. Through DUBAWA’s project, Going downstream: A WhatsApp-Focused Fact-Checking Intervention, fact-checks, explainers, and media and information literacy reports are translated into Hausa, Igbo, Twi, and Krio for the Nigerian, Ghanaian, and Sierra Leonean audiences in audio format and disseminated through WhatsApp. Community members also share claims and other information through the audio feature of WhatsApp for fact-checking and verification.
The audio feature of the messaging app enables native-speaking citizens to communicate and, by extension, allows them to access DUBAWA’s content and request fact-checking services, thereby breaking the literacy barrier.
The project’s first phase was officially launched in December 2022 after DUBAWA volunteers were deployed to marketplaces, religious places of worship, and other dense areas of the communities in Ghana, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone to register members.
Deputy Director of DUBAWA, Caroline Anipah, believes this project is innovative in reaching grassroots communities with credible information.
“Fact-checkers often worry about the reach of fact-checks and related content to all audiences who see misinformation. We’ve been innovating and exploring ways of bridging this barrier,” Anipah said. “We are hopeful this project will help us do that,” she added.
The project is expected to run for six months to amplify the truth to native-speaking audiences to help them make informed decisions and influence their democratic practices.
We encourage interested members of the public to subscribe to the service by clicking the link to join these WhatsApp groups:
Sierra Leone (Krio)
Verification and Media Literacy Practice