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At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Internews launched a small-grant Rapid Response Fund, recognizing that trustworthy and accurate information can save lives. We saw that as our partners around the world scrambled to report on the coronavirus, they grappled with a bitter irony: demand for information soared, but their already-strained business models were further collapsing.
With support from Luminate and other donors who recognized the immense need, we made more than 180 grants to applicants from more than 40 countries over the past six months.
We learned that making a simple, accessible application increased the range of ideas we could support – we received close to 1,000 applications. We recognized that local civil society organizations, tiny non-profit media outlets, individual journalists, and traditional media all had a role to play in informing their communities.
We prioritized projects that reached marginalized and underrepresented communities, overcoming language barriers, stigma, and disinformation.
Read more about the impact of the Information Saves Lives Rapid Response Fund.
Featured Grantee: US Food Bank News
The only publication covering the critical role of food banks expands its reach and depth
Reporter and food bank volunteer Chris Costanzo started Food Bank News, a grantee of Internews’ Rapid Response Fund, in 2019 with the goal of creating a community where those working in the charitable food system could gain access to news, information, and resources to help them achieve the goal of eliminating hunger.
Food Bank News, which is based in the U.S. state of New Jersey, is using the grant to cover COVID-19 from the perspective of food insecurity, and tell more stories that reflect the struggles of vulnerable populations, including undocumented workers.
Project Spotlight: Quizzes Help Youth Bust COVID-19 Fakes
In Central Asia, Internews launched “Fake Busters,” a series of weekly educational and interactive Instagram quizzes to help ordinary citizens, including children, identify fake information and news related to the COVID-19 virus.
Sabina, a mother from Kyrgyzstan whose daughter Dayana took one of the recent quizzes, praised the initiative as a “big help for us [parents] who are stuck at home with kids and don’t know how to explain to them what fakes and misinformation are…these quizzes are fun to play and very informative.”
About Internews: Our work helps underserved and marginalized communities access information. For nearly 40 years and in more than 100 countries, Internews has strengthened the capacity of thousands of media professionals, human rights activists, and information entrepreneurs. These partners have reached millions of people with quality, local information, improving lives and building lasting change.
Join in: OneShared.World Summit: We’re partnering with OneSharedWorld for their global summit September 17, focusing attention on how global interdependence can help prevent future pandemics, correct climate change, and address systemic global poverty and inequality. Register at oneshared.world/live.
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(Banner photo: Joyeeta Roy, photojournalist with Daily Bangladesh Pratidin. Credit UN Women/Fahad Abdullah Kaizer/CC/Flickr)