ActionAid Trains Borno Youth on How To Combat  Hate Speech, Fake News on Social Media 

Participants at the training. Photo Credit: Abdulkareem/HumanitarianTimes

Borno youth at the one-day training on digital resilience, use of technology for change and curbing fake news. Photo Credit: Abdulkareem/HumAngle 

ActionAid, an international nongovernmental  has this week trained a selected 100 young persons in Borno state, on how to positively deploy the social media and tackle the menace of  fake news, and hate speech. 

The youth participants who cut across different organisations and students had a full day’s exercise in line with the  “Digital Resilience, Use of Technology For Change And Curbing Fake News” program organised  by ActionAid, with funding supported by the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA).

Musa Gambo, a facilitator at the  workshop noted that the training was crucial due rising  concerns over the negative usage of social media. 

It was the view of the Workshop that  Borno is still struggling with the threat of insurgency hence hate speech and the spread of fake news should not be allowed to take the center stage  

 “The training is part of ActionAid Nigeria Youth Organising Leadership Project activities funded by the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA),” Mr Gambo said.

He said the training was aimed at building capacity “to develop the proficiency of youths in Borno state on how to positively use the social media space to checkmate conflicts, save data, mitigate hate speech, counter fake news and promote peace in the region”. 

The Humanitarian Times reporter was at the event and had observed how a cross-section of young persons had shared their views and concerns on the menace of cyberbullying with some sharing their sad experiences. 

Participants at the training. Photo Credit: Abdulkareem/HumanitarianTimes

The facilitator said the 100 youths who were selected from various groups like Activista,  FTM, JCI, NLC, Yiaga as well as students from higher institutions in the state have been fully drilled “on how they can use the social media space to mitigate conflicts, hate speech and fake news thereby promoting peace in their localities.”

“The daily challenges faced by young people using internet technology are issues of disinformation and that is what warranted us to come up with the idea of this training.

“That’s why the theme was carefully selected,  Technology for change ” Digital tools for engagement” so that they can engage positively and they will not share information without double-checking with the relevant organisations.

“So that they can only share what is good and discard what is wrong without people knowing. This, to us, is how to counter fake news,” he added.

Youth Share Experiences  

Hauwa Mohammed, a 24 years old staff member of Co-Development Hub, a Maiduguri-based social enterprise, said the training has opened her mind to many different ways she could deploy social media for positive change. 

Hauwa Mohammed, says she can now handle bullying in social media. Photo Credit: Abdulkareem/HumanitarianTimes

“I’ve also been able to learn how to protect my rights on the internet and the limits of my rights when using social media,” she said. 

“We have also learned how to know when my rights are violated or when I have been violated like in cyberbullying. I now have learned how to report improper usage of social media or when I am bullied.

Ms Fatima Ashemi, a young entrepreneur now has better ways to engage on social media. Photo Credit: Abdulkareem/HumanitarianTimes

Fatima Ashemi, a volunteer staff of Activista Nigeria said the one one-day training by ActionAid did not only taught her the best practices of social media usage but also gave new knowledge of how to do business using the social chat platforms. 

“I learned a lot of things in this training but what stood out for me is the aspect of Human Rights and how to use social media for positive engagement rather than posting data-wasting contents. 

“Going forward, I see the social media handles with the eyes of an entrepreneur by posting my little business of local sweet candies. Yeah, now I can always save my data for taking good pictures of my products, and listing them on my social media handles with good captions for my customers to order online. Even as an activist, I can 

post my work on social media for better engagement with others who are also willing to volunteer but lack the motivation to do so.

Ahmed Abdulkadir, a social work volunteer now knows how to navigate hate speech. Photo Credit: Abdulkareem/HumanitarianTimes

Ahmed Abdulkadir, a 22 years old student of banking and finance from the University of Maiduguri said he has an interest in volunteering for organisations working on social impact projects and the ActionAid training allowed him to deepen his knowledge in that field. 

“The training has been an eye-opener especially on the dos and don’ts of social media usage. Now I have built a mindset of being more socially responsible, away from when one will sit in a room and create contents that could destabilize peace and harmony in the society.

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