SMS As a Tool for Tracking and Countering Misinformation in the Tana Delta

The Una Hakika?project, which iHub Research is proud to support,focuses on creating an information system in which crowdsourced data is used to map the origins and flow of misinformation within the Tana Delta while also testing the effectiveness of countermeasures in order to reduce the influence of misinformation.

MORE ABOUT THE UNA HAKIKA? PROJECT HERE.

The team spent the last two weeks of November doing an impact assessment of the project on the ground, by conducting focus group discussions in a number of villages in the Tana Delta, where Una Hakika has been able to establish itself and be adopted by community members. The objective was to gain direct feedback from the users and engage them in better improving the service.

Here are some insights from the sessions:

  • [Una Hakika?] gives us hope because the messages shows us what action has been taken concerning some rumours”, indicating that the counter messaging and quick feedback filled an essential need which was not being met by existing measures.
  • Una Hakika ensures that counter messaging is quick, from trusted sources, in context, and sometimes with action to be taken by both rumour reporter and relevant authorities leading to an effective response.
  • Most people claimed to join Una Hakika so that they can get accurate and trustworthy information. Those who did not join or had not yet joined emphasized that they did not understand exactly what the program entailed, indicating a need for renewed efforts to spread the word about Una Hakika and its goals.
  • Akey idea that was noted across all areas was having a financial or economic aspect during the awareness campaign as this would attract more people to use the system. This can be understood in the context of Tana River County being one of the poorest regions in Kenya; the Tana Delta conflict has scared off potential investors as well as NGOs leaving minimal developments taking place in the area.

For more on the feedback and next steps, check out this blog post. We will continue sharing progress on this groundbreaking project. To keep up with Una Hakika?, find them on Facebook and Twitter.

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