Curtailing Hate: Cohort 3 AFF Fellows- DefyHateNow Set To Move Out of Comfort Zones


By Rosaline Obah

Fellows of the Cohort 3 Africa Fact-checking Fellowship (AFF) Cameroon made up of  journalists and bloggers have been challenged to move out of their comfort zones and be of veritable service towards a Hate-free Cameroon. This was at the end of a two-day “Discovery,” session in Douala November 20 -21, 2020.  While baptizing the 3rd batch  at the end of the session, the Country Director of DefyHateNow, Desmond Ngala, remains hopeful that the media professionals will dare to be different after embracing professional skills  that will enhance their reporting and also ensure a hate-free society. 
Desmond Ngala went further to encourage the Fellows to work together on issues around fact- checking, misinformation, disinformation, mal-information and hate speech, concerns  according to him, are timely especially with the effect these have had on the escalating nature of the crisis especially in the two English speaking regions of the country that has affected virtually all other parts of the country. “We are here to encourage you all to work together towards contributing to peace in the country through  reinforcing your capacity and how you can shift the narratives not only in your reporting but also online actions in the days ahead,” Desmond Ngala intimated. 

Media Persons At The Two-Day “Discovery,” Session In Douala

The discovery session was an opportunity for  the Fellows and the Association of Bloggers in Cameroon ABC  to  receive hands on introductory lessons on fact-checking, data journalism, fake news on and offline as well as various human and digital technical tools that can help the media professionals to come up with different social media health reports and data reporting articles with mission, to help communities take informed decisions for a Hate-Free-Cameroon.
The training was facilitated by the DefyHateNow team in Cameroon led by Desmond  Ngala with main resource person, Paul J. Kamtnchang in collaboration with  former AFFCameroon Fellows now Trainers and Experts.

Desmond  Ngala

According to one of the Cohort 3 Fellows, Shing Timothy, Journalist/Blogger from Buea South West Region of Cameroon, the session was quite challenging as it was encouraging. “ It challenged me to get more inquisitive by leaving my comfort zone and exploring new horizons. Going back, I have been prepared to face the new emerging challenges presented by fake news and hate speech in the country,” Shing noted with optimism.

To Wanchia Cynthia, Bamenda based  Journalist, she remains grateful to have been selected as a fellow of #AFF Cohort 3, noting that the Discovery edition was an enriching session and challenges her  to leave her  comfort zone. To corroborate this,  Bambot Valentine Samgwa, Journalist and blogger, another Cohort 3 Fellow from Buea was positive and said he is now aware of his responsibility to combat fake news on social media and also will endeavour to think and check before sharing information circulating whether on or offline. 

Wanchia Cynthia,Bamenda based  Journalist

Ndi Tsembom Elvis, Journalist/Blogger is presently bracing up for the challenge ahead. “ I must confess it is engaging. Together let's fight against hate,” Elvis Ndi on a positive note. Doh Bertand Yaounde based journalist/blogger on this note promised to implement the skills and knowledge gained towards a hate-free society.

Ndi Tsembom Elvis, Journalist/Blogger

Fellows are expected to, in the days ahead get to work immediately, become more productive with the shared vision and mission of the Defy Hate Now family in mind.  It this expected that, Fellows will also put on the garment of transparency, responsibility, accuracy, credibility, professionalism while being proactive  on the social media with publications , working to ensure, tolerance, mutual respect and community engagement towards a hate- free Cameroon and society. 
#defyhatenow is an initiative by rOg_agency for open culture and critical transformation, funded by the German Foreign Office in partnership with UNESCO.

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