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Fighting the COVID-19 info-demic with facts: H2H fund awards funding to leading information and communciation expert organisations to develop global, regional and local factual information and dispel harmful rumours

February 25, 2020

GENEVA , 25 February 2020 - The H2H Network has funded four independent international organisations focused on communication and information to assist the global response to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) epidemic. The network services package will support these agencies to fight the global ‘info-demic’ that is spreading more quickly than the virus itself and putting people at risk.

Organisations funded in this response are:

  • BBC Media Action
  • Evidence Aid
  • Internews
  • Translators without Borders

The network and its fund are supported by UK aid from the UK government.

The four agencies within the service package have deep knowledge and expertise in dispelling rumours and combatting mis-information in epidemics. All four have worked on other major epidemics and outbreaks, including Ebola and cholera.

The goal in this effort is to limit the global and regional impact of COVID-19 (coronavirus) by countering misinformation and monitoring social media, disseminating factual information and the latest research to the general public and the scientific community, and working with the main response agencies to create content helpful and accessible to the broader community. The focus of information creation, dissemination and monitoring will be in countries of southeast Asia, including Thailand, Cambodia, Myanmar, Bangladesh and Malaysia, as well as India and Indonesia. All work will be delivered in the primary languages of those countries.

The scope of the activation was developed in consultation with experts based in international agencies leading the response, including the World Health Organisation (WHO), International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Background The H2H Network consists of approximately 50 organisations that provide services to support humanitarian and emergency action. The network’s members offer specialist services, developed and available to all humanitarian responders, that address cross-cutting issues to help overall response be more effective, of higher quality, and more efficient. The H2H Network is supported by UK aid from the UK government and hosted by the Danish Refugee Council (DRC).

The H2H Fund is activated by the network following a rapid needs assessment within the context of a specific emergency. The fund is intended to quickly fund independent, expert and specialty services that support the overall response to an emergency.

[Rebecca Petras], the Network’s programme and humanitarian adviser, said:

“The network package consisting of these highly capable and expert organisations takes the UK’s response to the epidemic to a new level. They represent the future of aid in action, using communication, tech and innovation to help save lives quickly.

“Due to the scale of the ‘info-demic’ swirling around the virus, we were able to activate the fund quickly, thanks to DFID support.

“This network is unique, in that it allows organisations to quickly supply their expertise direct to humanitarians, the scientific community and the general public. This allows them to be flexible and responsive, providing those on the frontline of the crisis with the tools and factual evidence and information they need.”

(Banner photo: A vendor gives out copies of newspaper with a headlines of "Wuhan break out a new type of coronavirus, Hong Kong prevent SARS repeat" at a street in Hong Kong. Credit VOA/Andy Wong)