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As the World Health Organization (WHO) announced the COVID-19 outbreak as a pandemic and a global health crisis, health misinformation and rumors have multiplied across platforms, thus undermining efforts for producing reliable and factual information around the virus. This is particularly challenging for civil society organisations and grassroots collectives who are still struggling to make sense of, and to counter the effects of, the outbreak on their own local contexts.

In an attempt to support independent media, fact-checkers, citizen journalists, activists, and technology and digital literacy enthusiasts in their efforts to cover the outbreak, Meedan’s Check Global program is launching the COVID-19 Microgrants, specifically aimed at groups working within the context of emerging economies (North Africa/West Asia, Africa, Latin America, Asia-Pacific region).

The grants are aimed at supporting fact-checking and verification projects, local watchdog initiatives, documentation of the local reality under quarantine, media/digital literacy campaigns, tracking the impact of lockdowns on democracies, and examining digital surveillance and surveillance capitalism, civil rights, and violence against women related to COVID-19. We encourage applicants to be creative in their proposals. We  are keen to support the production of different kinds of outputs, including podcasts, videos, documentaries, written pieces, campaigns, toolkits, digital archives, and blogging. We are also looking to support proposals that are not only focused on covering misinformation about the pandemic, but also looking at people’s lives and experiences under quarantine.

We are accepting proposals in English, Arabic, French, Spanish and Portuguese at the moment. Applications will be considered on a rolling basis.

  • Individuals can apply for up to $500
  • Organizations can apply for up to $2000
  • Collaborative projects can apply for up to $2500

Application process

  1. Applicants should fill out an online form detailing their proposal
  3. The fund advisory board meets weekly to review all applications
  5. Successful applicants are then notified within a period of 5 to 10 days from submission

Selection criteria

  • Originality & significance: The quality of the written application. What are the challenges it suggests to address? What is its geographic area / focus?
  • Achievability: Will the applicant be able to deliver on the promises made in the application? Is the work plan realistic within the suggested timeline? Does the fieldwork represent any ethical or health and safety issues that need to be taken into consideration?
  • Impact & Dissemination: Does the application identify a relevant audience for the work? How does the work set out to transform perception on COVID-19? Is the application clear in terms of why this work is important now? Projects that serve local and underserved communities, women, gender non-binary individuals, vulnerable people and rural populations will be prioritized.
  • Rigour: Do you adhere to a fact-checking methodology? How will the applicant check their sources as accurate? Are the resources used for your media literacy campaign reliable?

Please be advised, if you haven’t heard from us within 3 weeks of your application, this means it was not successful. Unfortunately we are not able to respond to each unsuccessful applicant due to the numbers of applications we receive.

Accepted applicants will publish their projects on their own platforms and will be referenced on the Check Global page. They will later be highlighted on our blog at the end of this funding cycle.

Apply Here

Please send all questions to checkgrants@meedan.com. We support encrypted e-mails.

Check Global is an initiative  from Meedan that supports and facilitates journalism and human rights work, including research, in developing countries. We provide software, training, and support to a group of independent media organizations, journalism schools, and human rights researchers in Latin America, East Africa and the NAWA region.

Meedan is a non-profit that focuses on improving the quality and equity of online information. We do this by building software and designing human-powered initiatives for newsrooms, NGOs and academic institutions.

  1. Online conversations are heavily influenced by news coverage, like the 2022 Supreme Court decision on abortion. The relationship is less clear between big breaking news and specific increases in online misinformation.
  2. The tweets analyzed were a random sample qualitatively coded as “misinformation” or “not misinformation” by two qualitative coders trained in public health and internet studies.
  3. This method used Twitter’s historical search API
  4. The peak was a significant outlier compared to days before it using Grubbs' test for outliers for Chemical Abortion (p<0.2 for the decision; p<0.003 for the leak) and Herbal Abortion (p<0.001 for the decision and leak).
  5. All our searches were case insensitive and could match substrings; so, “revers” matches “reverse”, “reversal”, etc.
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Published on
April 7, 2020
October 18, 2022