Having first appeared at the end of 2019 in Wuhan, China, COVID-19 rapidly spread to all four corners of the world during the first quarter of 2020. Africa was not spared, either by the pandemic itself, or by the information chaos that this health crisis is causing. Having been overrun by a flood of information of varying quality, the peoples of the Sahel and young people in particular, sometimes find it difficult to distinguish what is true from what is false and to identify what is useful and what is superfluous.
Information from professional sources is, however, vital in order to keep track of the pandemic, to relay health advice and details of the measures taken by governments, to analyse the data and also to track any fake news. People also need hope (positive initiatives, solutions) and amusement in order to escape those aspects of the crisis that provoke anxiety and to make sure that they comply more closely with the various awareness-raising messages they receive.
MediaSahel COVID-19 supports the production and broadcasting of reliable and quality content on the coronavirus, by adapting media content already produced through the MediaSahel project and by offering new information and content to increase awareness.
The organisation benefits from additional funding from the French Development Agency (AFD) as part of the French "COVID-19 – Health in Common" initiative.
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- Citizens of the six countries of the Greater Sahel and marginalised youth in particular
- Journalists (radio, web), bloggers, influencers, young CSO representatives
Production and broadcasting of content on a regional level
- Conception and broadcasting of 20 humorous videos that raise awareness of coronavirus with the Burkinan press cartoonist, from the network Cartooning For Peace. Those videos, which have been translated into 13 local languages, are being distributed via social networks thanks to the help of African influencers and, several times a day, by a number of public and private television channels in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger.
- Conception and broadcasting of 20 video spots by the Priorité Santé [health priority] programme produced by RFI, aimed at raising awareness of and dismantling false information associated with coronavirus. Those videos, issued under the title of “Coronaverif” and subtitled in five languages (French, Fula, Mandinka, Hausa and Swahili), are broadcast on RFI’s site and on social networks. Each subject is also explored in greater depth on air.
- Production of 12 weekly programmes by RAES (African Network for Health and Citizenship Education), broadcast by the network of radio stations working in partnership with MediaSahel and the Alliance Droits et Santé, and the provision of support to local radio stations in their efforts to produce programmes about the pandemic.
Combating COVID-19 by drawingApril 28, 2020
Young people, key allies in preventing COVID-19 in Burkina FasoMay 15, 2020
Overcoming COVID-19: Radio stations get involved: the new special programme launched by UNALFAJune 11, 2020
RFI’s “L’Atelier des Médias” presents MédiaSahel’s COVID-19 activitiesJune 11, 2020
Combating COVID-19: call for initiative projects in Burkina Faso, Mali and NigerJune 17, 2020
COVID-19 in the Sahel: Fondation Hirondelle adapts its content to Mali and NigerJune 17, 2020
Production and broadcasting of content on a national level
- In Burkina Faso, 36 special programmes on coronavirus, produced by the Union nationale de l'audiovisuel libre du Faso (UNALFA), are broadcast by some 60 private and public radio stations covering the entire country (in French and in local languages: Moore, Dyula, Fula and Gourmanché).
- In Mali, 12 synchronised radio programmes about coronavirus that have been produced by the Union des radios et télévisions libres du Mali (URTEL) in five languages (French, Bambara, Fula, Songhay and Tamasheq), are broadcast by a network of 120 radio stations in the regions of Kayes, Koulikoro, Sikasso, Ségou, Mopti, Timbuktu, Gao, Kidal and the district of Bamako.
- All broadcasts are supplemented with programmes that combine cultural and psychosocial aspects, in order to help the populations to manage the stress associated with the pandemic and to support the initiatives taken by young people wishing to combat the spread of the virus through actions such as local awareness raising in individual districts or providing assistance to vulnerable people.
- Support for youth-led initiatives in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger: local awareness raising, the provision of support for vulnerable people, the production of media content, participation in radio programmes, etc. (around ten activities per country).