#defyhatenow Launches #FactsMatter Fellowship in Cameroon

#FactsMatter237 Fellowship

Monitor, Collect, & Analyze

Three months paid fellowship  with a focus on peacebuilding, research, media, and digital rights.


#DefyHateNow is an urgent community peacebuilding, training and conflict reconciliation project aimed to strengthen the voices and support the actions of primarily youth-oriented civil society organizations to counter social media based hate speech, conflict rhetoric and incitement to violence both online and offline. The project idea was initiated in response to the South Sudan political and civil crisis which erupted in December 2013 – a conflict, which has resulted in a humanitarian catastrophe of around 4 million displaced people and massive loss of trust amongst communities. 

Cameroon has been in conflict since 2016 which has led to the loss of  trust between communities and divided people along Ethnolinguistics and political lines  . Social media has been used to fan the conflict flames and a greater part has contributed to the incitement of violence and the propagation of hate speech.  The role of social media influencers, the diaspora exemplified Cameroons multiculturalism as rhetoric shifted from Anglophone/Ambazonia to Bulu/Bamelike (Tontinard/Sardinard). 

The program aims at giving fellows the opportunity to develop and lead an original Facts Checking Platform that could be implemented within the framework of #defyhatenow operations. 

About the fellowship 

#FactsMatter237 Fellowship aims at monitoring and mapping viral trends on the social media related to the thematic mentioned above in selected regions for two months. The fellows will identify and evaluate the potential reach of the stories online and the impact if any offline. This pilot phase will be focused on how to cultivate the skills needed for creating a healthier and safer online experience for all users devoid of toxic ideologies, hate speech, misinformation, disinformation and fake news which are ingredients for violence.  All fellows shall contribute to a bi-monthly briefing that will be aimed at evaluating their awareness level of information as they give an analysis that could help institutions and social media users to be less susceptible to hate speech, fake news and incitement to violence.

The program will be based on a dual approach, first, the Fellows will work independently and summit results based on their targeted domains and towns to a Google drive for evaluation.  Also, Fellows will be called upon to interact with each other and an expert as they collectively seek ways of addressing challenges linked subjects raised through a face to face meeting with #DefyHateNow Expert giving them adequate training. 

This methodology of the fellowship requires fellows to have good and relevant experience working in the areas of media, policy, activism, youth engagement, media, and digital rights. 

Target Beneficiaries

  • Youth who have an influential presence in traditional media and/or Social Media
  • Activists and community leaders 
  • Journalists, lawyers and, artists  
  • Individuals who are willing to work towards creating a positive change in society through digital media and advocacy 

Theory of change 

The theory of change here is based on creating a sustainable and
robust Facts Checking Database nationwide that will harness the social media
ecosystem in Cameroon. This at the long run will lead to the creation of Facts
checking platforms that would be run by these fellows.  This will
definitely change rhetoric at three main levels; 

  • Individual  
  • Institution 
  • Society 

Throughout the program, fellows are encouraged to create
cross-disciplinary collaborations between the various groups and individuals
within the larger spectrum of media, research and advocacy.

Program Objectives

  1. Train six Cameroonian bloggers and content creators on Fact-Checking, Information Verification and Hate Speech Mitigation.
  2. Produce weekly and monthly Social Media Health Reports that aims at assessing the health of public discourse on social media.
  3. Verify stories posted online to get its potential outreach and ascertain the level of hate speech, fake news, and misinformation within the targeted areas.
  4. Build a fact-checking platform for social media health reports.
  5. Social media literacy and exposure of users to new tools.   

Since the #FactsMatter237 Fellowship aims at monitoring and mapping viral trends on social media related to themes such as Hate speech, Fake News, Misinformation in selected regions, the fellows are required to have monthly meetups in their communities to discuss the stories they have identified. During these meetups, fellows will take photos, videos and attendance on the number/function of persons present. The fellows will identify and evaluate the potential reach of the stories online and the impact if any offline to ensure that a healthier and safer online experience devoid of toxic ideologies, hate speech, misinformation, disinformation and fake news is created for all users.