Code for Africa training.
In a world where there is free access to the internet, a lot of information can be accessed and through this alot of fake news can easily be spread. A Lot of stories have been circulated all over the internet and most times it’s hard to know the source of this information or who started it. Most of us have fallen victim to scenarios where we are prone to believing such information without getting concrete evidence.
SEMA’s research program is geared towards building specific skills within departments of the organization. In addition to training from the SEMA team, the trainees have the opportunity to engage with other industry professionals for resources and experience outside of SEMA.
This year, our data analysis and research department trainees and a few staff members had the opportunity to be trained by a team from Code for Africa covering the topic of “Reporting in Research”. Code for Africa is a registered non government organization in South Africa and Kenya with the largest network of civic technology and data journalism lab building digital democracy solutions that give citizens free access to actionable information that empowers them to make informed decisions, and strengthens civic engagement for improved public governance and accountability. Code for Africa also runs an academy providing skills to empower ordinary people with digital democracy tools through CitizenLabs.
The training was facilitated by three staff members from code for africa: Mercy Karagi – Data Analyst at Code for Africa based in Nairobi, Kenya, Pius Enywaru (Verification Researcher/Fact-Checker:PesaCheck, Code for Africa), Esther Ndagire (Regional Project Manager East Africa, Code for Africa)
The training went on for two days focusing on two different topics for each day :
- Day 1 (8th April 2021) – Focus on a Basic Introduction to Fact Checking, Investigative Journalism, Data Analysis and Scraping.
- Day 2 (9th April 2021) – A practical step by step guide on how to write an investigative reporting piece factoring in neutrality and different partners.
In the first session, the SEMA team was taken through the impact of fake news and how to control the spread of fake news through fact checking. Fact checking is best described as a process seeking to ïnvesitigate an issue in order to verify the facts. The facilitator addressed a wide range of approaches and practices in social, political and cultural contexts that apply to Fact checking. The objective of addressing Fact checking was to provide evidence based information or an accurate testimony during data analysis and reporting.
In the first session, the SEMA team was taken through the impact of fake news and how to control the spread of fake news through fact checking. Fact checking is best described as a process seeking to ïnvesitigate an issue in order to verify the facts. The facilitator addressed a wide range of approaches and practices in social, political and cultural contexts that apply to Fact checking. The objective of addressing Fact checking was to provide evidence based information or an accurate testimony during data analysis and reporting
¨Misinformation can be weaponized to influence politics, economics, and social well-being, from potentially affecting elections and referendums to inciting prejudice, confusion, and violence. Deceptive content often appears to be coming from objective news sources, challenging us to work harder to stay informed and discern fact from fiction.¨ –Everfi
For the second session, we focused on writing an investigative fact report through this, the main rules guiding fact checking were shared. They include:
- Golden Rule 1: Only one claim per fact-check. Limit each fact check to one statement, or a set of clearly related statements.
- Golden Rule 2: Check every fact check. Corroborate what you’ve produced and use primary sources.
- Golden Rule 3: Clearly state your rating based on the facts presented.
The PesaCheck fact checking process was used as an illustration to help better understand the process.
At the the end of the training, trainees had a better understanding of how to protect the data, and avoid fake news this is evident from what some of the had to say
¨I highly appreciate Code of Africa for sharing with us skills in investigative reporting, data cleaning because I learnt a lot though practical sessions would be more effective and interactive.¨ Agatha : Research Trainee
” After the two training sessions, especially the second one, I was so humbled and grateful to have been part of it because in this digital era, there are so many things that I’ve seen circulate on the different media platforms but didn’t know how they come about, but through the trainings (investigative journalism, investigative reporting, fact checking using the different methods and tools) with Code for Africa, i’m able to fact check (was my favourite) and filter the content at my disposal. Also being able to join the community is another step forward because I will be able to learn a lot from the experienced team. Looking forward to more engagements. Thank you so much. #Code4Africa.”Kenneth: Research Trainee
At SEMA, we thank the team at Code for Africa for the valuable information they shared with us during these sessions. It brought a lot of things to light that will also help the trainees apply the information received during data collection, analysis and reporting. If you would like to know more about code for africa, check them out on https://cutt.ly/abTk8Ti