Funding success! Announcing a new round of Check Global work in 2022-2023

By Dima Saber on November 22nd, 2021


I am so pleased to share an exciting development with our ongoing work on the Check Global project in partnership with US-based lead partner Meedan: we have just been awarded another round of funding by the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA) for an eighteen months extension which would take us through to June 30, 2023.

Our collaboration with Meedan started in 2013 when I first joined BCU and the Birmingham Centre for Media and Cultural Research. A lot has happened since!

26 partners in 22 countries in 2022

Over the past ten years we have been fortunate to work with a number of civil society groups, grassroot organisations and independent media / activist collectives who made it possible for us to widen the reach and impact of the Check Global project across four major regions of the Global South (North Africa Western Asia, Latin America, Sub-Saharan Africa and the Asia-Pacific/APAC region).

This new phase will see us partner with 26 organisations (11 of which are new partners), in 22 countries in total. These organisations have all been working at the forefront of the fight for freedom, social justice and equality, and for a better and more equitable Internet in some of the most fraught contexts of the world. Our role is to support them through a) developing the open-access tech tools they need to achieve their goals, b) using our programmatic knowledge and expertise to help them design and implement impactful yet achievable programs, c) building around them supportive networks which they can learn from, and with which they can grow and prosper, and d) investing in research so we all are up-to-speed with the ever changing trends which govern the relations between tech and our societies. We are the facilitators.

As we started working on the extension bid, we focussed on identifying the main challenges which will form the cornerstones of the intervention logic of Check Global’s regional managers over the next eighteen months. These currently are:

  1. Access to information: media literacy online and offline; news deserts. 
  2. Democracy at risk: media security & plurality; Internet shutdowns; election monitoring. 
  3. Big tech & media freedom: content moderation; take downs; sustainability of archival records. 
  4. Gender equality & inequalities: violence against women; hate speech; LGBTQ; offline communities. 
  5. Misinformation: dealing with all aspects of digital information equity including, health, environmental, political, and social. 

Then, we spent about two months co-designing a wide rage of objectives and activities with our regional partners, with two main focuses in mind: an even more comprehensive impact assessment process, through further developing our open-source Monitoring and Evaluation Toolkit, thus anchoring the project even more solidly within BCMCR’s M&E lab, and through prioritising support for regional collaborations and cross-programmatic pollination to lay the ground for more efficient and sustainable knowledge exchange frameworks between our twenty-six partners.

A lot of the thinking and research behind this extension bid was based on the Check Global Theory of Change, which captures over ten years of media and technology support work, and which I’m very proud to share here (with a shout-out to our great designer Kipp Jones who always manages to turn our messy documents into very meaningful visualisations!)

Download the Check Global Theory of Change

 

There is probably more to say about this project than one blog post can take, so please do keep an eye here for more updates on our research and activities over the next eighteen months. In the meantime, here are a few links which you might find useful to know more about the work the Meedan team, Dr Jerome Turner and I have been doing as part of this project:

We have recently relaunched a new section of the Check Global which captures Meedan and BCU’s interventions across our four regions of focus. This website is a labour of love that reflects our impact, and resonates with our values and those of all of our partner organisations.

  • The NAWA Media website which captures our work in the North Africa Western Asia region, including the NAWA Investigative Fund, and the Check NAWA newsroom effort which we have been developing since 2014.
  • This academic article in First Monday which draws on interviews with some of our most prominent partners in NAWA, APAC and Latin America to explore the main barriers facing alternative media development in emerging economies.
  • And finally, our Check Global Impact Case study, which we submitted as part of BCU’s 2021 REF returns.

Please do get in touch if you think we can collaborate as part of this project, for access to any of these outputs or simply for a quick chat!