Leveraging the Fulbright Fellowship for Advancement

In 2022, Salone Factchecker (SFC) garnered a significant boost from the United States Government Fulbright.¬†¬† Fulbright Specialist Project. Dr. Michael Epstein, a distinguished authority in law and media based in the United States, embarked on a 33-day endeavor that proved transformative for SFC’s mission. His expertise aimed to fortify the platform’s capacity to combat misinformation in Sierra Leone by delving into local, last-mile solutions both online and offline.

During his tenure, Dr. Epstein engaged with a spectrum of stakeholders. He held discussions with government ministers, esteemed university faculty, students, and prominent journalists within Sierra Leone. Dr. Epstein’s insights extended beyond formal settings, as he conducted interviews with ordinary citizens in informal locales like Ataya Bases, bus shelters, and other communal spaces. These interactions culminated in the formulation of a comprehensive blueprint and curriculum, which were subsequently shared with collaborative partners.

The training initiative led by Dr. Epstein bore a significant impact. It encompassed a diverse array of participants, including 25 journalists from various corners of Sierra Leone, mass communications students from the University of Sierra Leone and the University of Makeni, and students from Njala University. The training sessions were tailored to not only cultivate robust fact-checking competencies but also to facilitate the effective dissemination of acquired knowledge in media development. A particular emphasis was placed on reaching marginalized demographics, such as rural communities, illiterate individuals, and other vulnerable groups.

This Fulbright Fellowship undertaking served as a catalyst for advancing SFC’s role in fostering media literacy and combating misinformation. The collaboration with Dr. Michael Epstein exemplified the platform’s commitment to fortifying its foundations and expanding its reach within Sierra Leone’s diverse society. Through this endeavor, SFC continues to embody the values of accuracy, inclusivity, and progress in the realm of media and information dissemination.

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