To counter mis- and disinformation during the COVID-19 pandemic, the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) collaborated with civil society organizations (CSOs) working in local communities in Cambodia, Thailand, and Vietnam to strengthen the media and digital literacy skills of marginalized populations, including Indigenous Peoples; older persons; members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and intersex (LGBTQI+) community; and young people. The media literacy activities conducted by the CSOs also served to foster intergenerational relationships between young people and older community members, underscoring the importance of safe online practices for all ages.
Following the development of IFES’s media literacy curriculum, Promoting Resilient and Inclusive Media Education (PRIME), IFES trained CSO partners and supported them in conducting related cascade activities that engaged the PRIME training participants across all three countries. In Thailand, IFES’s two partner CSOs promoted youth engagement and intergenerational solidarity by collaborating with young people and older persons to strengthen their media literacy, critical thinking skills, and response to disinformation, misinformation, and hate speech.
The first CSO, the Foundation for Older Persons’ Development (FOPDEV), provided stipends for older persons' community clubs to partner with students from Chiang Mai University and develop eight workshops on media literacy. Led by the students, the workshops connected older community members with young leaders to share best practices in digital spaces and ways to remain resilient against online scams or threats. A video of the workshops can be found here.
In the video, the president of the community club shared that, following the workshops, many participants expressed a desire to share their digital literacy knowledge with their peers and others in their club. In addition to this, FOPDEV and community club members also designed and distributed over 1,000 pamphlets and generated three radio announcements combating mis- and disinformation and hate speech in their larger communities.
The second CSO partner in Thailand, Sangsan Anakot Yawachon Development Project (SAYDP), also addressed digital literacy among young people, in particular young Indigenous persons and members of the LGBTQI+ community, through a media literacy bootcamp at Mae Sariang “Boripat Suksa” School. SAYDP signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Mae Sam Laeb subdistrict high school and middle school and will continue teaching and strengthening students’ media literacy skills. A video of SAYDP’s bootcamp can be found here.
The “Strengthening Digital Media Literacy in the Mekong Region” activity was funded by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. For more information on IFES’s youth engagement portfolio, follow @IFESYouth on Twitter.
Published August 11, 2022.