UNICEF and USAID review joint efforts to promote media literacy among young people in Georgia to address disinformation on COVID-19
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TBILISI, Georgia, 14 September 2022. Up to 80,000 young people were educated about how to counter disinformation related to the COVID-19 pandemic, dispel myths and further spread correct information among their peers as a result of a USAID and UNICEF joint initiative to promote media literacy among young people.
The initiative was implemented within the USAID-funded initiative “Preventing and Responding to COVID-19 in Georgia” and aimed at educating young people on media literacy through formal and non-formal education and various digital platforms. Understanding the factors contributing to the spread of misinformation related to COVID and identifying the solutions to tackle this issue is critical to support effective public health responses and save lives.
Integrating elements of media literacy into formal education has started in partnership with the National Communication Commission and the Ministry of Education and Science of Georgia. To support this process, a media literacy needs assessment has been carried out in school communities. The needs assessment will lay the foundation for further steps such as developing necessary educational resources and conducting teachers’ training.
UNICEF, in partnership with Media Development Foundation (MDF), carried out a series of trainings for children and young people under the slogan Do not get the virus of disinformation. The trainings included COVID-related media literacy trainings and webinars for children and young people, teachers and parents throughout Georgia. The main goal of the initiative was to equip children and young people with practical skills to understand how to verify sources of information, identify fake news and the specific groups spreading misinformation about COVID-19, and proactively debunk those. The trainings were carried out throughout Georgia from April through September 2022 and included in-person and online webinars. In total, 41 training sessions and webinars have been conducted for over 600 young people and more than 200 teachers and parents.
Digital content about COVID-19 has been released through youth digital platforms in partnership with Democracy Laboratory. The youth platforms shared engaging content like myths and reality posters, stories, cards, articles and quizzes on COVID-19. A series of video talk-shows “Who ate the Fake” has also been launched with the participation of celebrities combating the fake news related to the pandemic. Six episodes in total were aired in September. In total, 70,000 young people were educated about the harmful effects of disinformation.
In collaboration with various partners, UNICEF has been actively supporting the Government in promoting COVID-19 vaccination in Georgia. The ongoing project “Preventing and Responding to COVID-19 in Georgia” with financial support from USAID has further helped the Government in preventing the spread of COVID-19 and minimizing the overall impact of the pandemic through: risk communication and community engagement; improved infection, prevention, and control measures and water, sanitation and hygiene services; and provision of critical equipment and supplies to strengthen health services for the prevention and management of COVID-19, including COVID-19 vaccination and eHealth services.
About USAID in Georgia:
USAID is the world’s premier international development agency and a catalytic actor driving development results. Over 30 years of partnership with Georgia, USAID has supported the country’s transformation into a developing democracy that is increasingly integrated into Western political, security, and economic institutions. Today, more than 35 USAID programs strengthen Georgia’s resilience to malign influence, consolidate democratic gains through enhanced citizen responsive governance, and enable high-value employment through increased economic growth. For more information, please visit: https://www.usaid.gov/georgia
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.
For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org/georgia/