Do you want to help counter misinformation, disinformation, and hate speech in Kenya?

Code for Africa (CfA) is offering four mythbusters fellowships for digital creatives or alternatively data scientists or open source intelligence (OSINT) researchers interested in analysing election trends in Kenya. 

The part-time fellowships are part of the joint initiative between CfA and four United Nation agencies in Kenya to fight disinformation and hate speech in Kenya. This non-partisan project seeks to combat the trolls that often attempt to amplify disinformation or hate speech as a way to incite extremism ahead of the Kenyan elections this year.  

The successful candidates will work with CfA’s PesaCheck fact-checking team & iLAB forensic investigation team to conceptualise and/or investigate projects, and will receive ongoing technical support and mentorship. 

The data science fellows will use their skills, along with access to CfA’s machine learning/AI tools and data, to investigate toxic tropes, malign influence operations, hate speech or conspiracist campaigns. The digital creative fellows will use their visual storytelling skills, or large social media followings to help amplify the resulting debunks through compelling GIFs, animation or social video.

The fellows will be mentored by a team of international experts, supported by Kenyan-based fact-checking team from PesaCheck, investigative analysts from the iLAB, UN hate speech specialists and social media engagement professionals.

The fellowship package will consist of :

  • Mentorship : All fellows will receive ongoing mentorship from CfA and UN experts, including technical insights into how to use ML/AI tools and natural language processing or social listening technologies to build actor watchlists and lexicons to improve early detection of toxic content. The influencer fellows will receive mentoring on how to improve their audience engagement strategies, and multimedia production skills.
  • Projects: Both sets of fellows will partner with CfA technical teams at PesaCheck and the iLAB on capstone projects that could run up until November, with syndication into mass media in Kenya and elsewhere in the world.
  • Networking: The fellows will be part of the African Fact Checking Alliance (AFCA), and will be showcased to the 240+ newsroom members in 20 countries by being invited to speak at network events or to present at major continental conferences.
  • Stipend: Fellows will receive a substantive monthly stipend, depending on their project proposal and experience.

Are You Eligible? 

The Mythbuster Fellowships are intended to give mid-career pioneers a chance to use their deep skills/insights and networks to fight mis/disinformation and hate speech during this election period, and the period after the election results are announced.

Therefore applicants must meet the following criteria: 

  • If you have a data science or OSINT (open source intelligence) research background, you should have a portfolio that demonstrates your investigative analysis of social media actors/narratives or other digital content.
  • If you have a social influencer or other digital creative background, you should have a substantive following/audience or a compelling portfolio for viral visual content creation that has built meaningful audience engagement.
  • You must be non-partisan, without any link to political parties or government agencies or paramilitary organisations or state-affiliated media or other bodies that might create the perception of partisanship in the elections.
  • You must commit to publish/broadcast your work on an appropriate public platform. CfA will assist with partnerships/syndication if appropriate.
  • You must be fluent in English and, preferably, Kiswahili as well as other Kenyan languages.
  • You must have access to a reliable home laptop/computer with stable internet connectivity, to be able to participate in programme activities and online classes/mentorship.
  • You must commit to sharing your new skills and insights within your organisation, followers and wider journalistic/research fraternity by demonstrating your projects and techniques to peers.
  • You must commit to using your social media channels to amplify the activities and work produced during the fellowship.

Upon ‘graduation’ you will be inducted into the AFCA, CfA’s pan-African community of professional fact-checkers, with members currently in 20 countries. 

The deadline for applications is 18 July 2022

To apply, complete this form

About the Partners:

  • Code for Africa (CfA) is the continent’s largest network of digital democracy laboratories, with over 90 full-time data scientists, forensic researchers, technologists and digital storytellers working in support of investigative media and watchdog CSO partners in 21 African countries. CfA builds digital solutions that provide actionable information to citizens to encourage informed decisions, while also amplifying voices to strengthen civic engagement for improved public governance and evidence-driven accountability. CfA provides the technology/data support for Charter Africa. CfA will give fellows access to support from its openAFRICA data team, commons.AFRICA open source team, its source.AFRICA evidence research team, and a string of wider communities that CfA manages including the africanDRONE community of civic drone/mapping pioneers, the sensor.AFRICA community that uses remote sensors to monitor air/water/radiation and other environmental information, the PesaCheck fact-checking team that debunks misinformation, the iLAB forensic investigation team that tracks and exposes hate speech or other toxic content, the CivicSignal media monitoring and content analysis team, and the WanaData network of women data scientists/storytellers who liberate and amplify feminist data.
  • PesaCheck is currently Africa’s largest (non-profit) fact-checking initiative, with full-time teams in 14 countries (in Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Guinea, Kenya, Mali, Niger, Senegal, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia). PesaCheck also supports independent CheckDesks in 28 newsrooms across the continent. Together, the network currently produces over 250 fact-checks per month in two international languages (English and French), as well as in Amharic and Swahili, with additional African languages including Oromo and Tigrinya scheduled to launch later this year. PesaCheck’s fact-checking resulted in an average of 400,000/month posts on Facebook being labelled as misleading/harmful, with Instagram, Twitter and Reddit also using PesaCheck reports to identify misinformation on their platforms. 
  • iLAB is Africa’s largest forensic analysis lab using artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) tools to fight disinformation and hate speech across the continent. It has full-time data analysts and cybercrime investigators in eight countries (in Burkina Faso, Côte d’ivoire, Cameroon, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Sudan and Zimbabwe), who help expose digital campaigns designed to mislead the public in the run-up to elections and other democratic processes. 
  • The United Nations (UN) is an international organisation founded in 1945. Currently made up of 193 Member States, the UN and its work are guided by the purposes and principles contained in its founding Charter. Its purpose is to maintain international peace and security, develop friendly relations among nations, achieve international cooperation, and be a centre for harmonising the actions of nations