At least 50 stakeholders have received smartphones from #defyhatenow South Sudan after successfully completing a three-hour follow-up training on Social Media Rumour Management and Reporting on Tuesday in Juba.
The phones were supplied by Internews under the Rooted in Trust project, an initiative aimed at gathering COVID-19 and health-related rumours and countering misinformation on critical health issues.
Beneficiaries were mainly participants in the workshop organized by #defyhatenow South Sudan through its two flagship projects 211 Check and SafetyComm in partnership with Internews under the Rooted in Trust project.
Speaking during the event on Tuesday, John Ngor Arok, #defyhatenow South Sudan Project Lead, advised beneficiaries to use the gadgets appropriately.
“Take care and make good use of the phone. This is just like your personal property except that we would require you to send us rumours for the next three months for us to assess whether to grasp the concept of what you were taught or not,” Arok said.
He encouraged the participants to send at least five rumours in a week or one per day as the organization supplies data bundles on a monthly basis.
Emmanuel Bida Thomas, 211 Check Coordinator, told participants to practice what they learned and reach out in case of any setback.
Beneficiaries were given three tip lines through which they can share rumours from their various geolocations. The tip lines include WhatsApp, Google Form, and SMS.
Meanwhile, the trainees hailed #defyhatenow South Sudan and its partner organization Internews for the training and appealed for the training to be extended in all states and administrative areas in South Sudan.
This, they said, could help sensitize citizens outside the capital Juba to make informed decisions on critical health-related information.
The training was one of the many being undertaken by #defyhatenow South Sudan across different states in the country. So far, the organization conducted similar training in three states; Jonglei, Eastern Equatoria, and Central Equatoria under the Rooted in Trust project.
The Rooted in Trust 2.0 project in South Sudan is funded by the USAID Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance (USAUD-BHA) through Internews.
It aims to respond to rumours, misinformation, and fake news that shape negative public perceptions of the COVID-19 response in South Sudan.