If you are a social media active person, you may understand how highly impactful social media content can be in creating visibility in audiences’ minds. You could post texts, do live videos, share posts, and much other social media content with your friends and followers. As all this occurs quite frequently as a normal part of daily living for most people, tens of thousands of data are generated in the process. Analyzing text data can be valuable in providing meanings to the opinion of people and organizations. And this is exactly what Natural Language Processing (NLP) is developed to do. …


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Originally published on bustinker.org

THE CHALLENGE WITH MAINSTREAM AND TRADITIONAL NEWS MEDIA

In the age of information overload, how do citizens cope with sifting through the news to extract social issues pertinent to inspire civic action? What makes social issues discussed through various forms of news media memorable? How can media in modern times cater to a new crop of citizens such as millennials and generation Z whose attention span needs to be sustained by creativity and novelty content?

As the modern news media landscape is constantly reshaped through misinformation and disinformation, there is a need to explore ways to cut down on the increasing aversion to mainstream media by looking at new ways of passing on relevant information on social issues to affected communities. At Bush Tinker, we are exploring new ways of bringing social issues to the forefront of civic discussions within the youngest and most vibrant civic actor (youth) communities and beyond. One way we are doing this is by making novel news content on social issues through the mixing of community voices on social issues and instrumental sounds. We have coined a name called Social Tunez and a digital platform of the same name where anyone can access news, community discussions, and commentary on social issues. …


Addressed to:

  1. Chairman of National Security Council/ COVID-19 Presidential Task Force
  2. Public Health National Emergency Operations Center (EOC)
  3. Mayors of Local Council Governments
  4. Development Partners

Summary

Sierra Leone’s implementation of mandatory wearing of face masks in public spaces has so far resulted in low compliance by the general public. Evidence suggests that citizens’ compliance is low and is characterized by only a need-to-access-public-place basis. Although low public compliance, particularly in Freetown, is inherently due to challenges with voluntary behavior change, most, however, are attributed to lack of clear policy objective and lack of a clear-cut road map for policy implementation that is informed by research data, communication, and behavior intervention design. This analysis examines an alternative policy to ensure maximum community adoption of facemasks in Sierra Leone. The alternative is assessed on its ability to meet the following policy goals: 1) ease of enforcement that supports universal adoption of face masks 2) community ownership through an opportunity for citizen agencies to enforce the use of face masks in public spaces. …


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Who does not like a good meme? For meme lovers we know memes are the master art for conveying messages on everyday life experiences in the most sarcastic and humorous manner. This unique and even somewhat special characteristic is what makes meme pervasive on social media. Just maybe, if you are one of those people and already started wondering what the heck a Meme is; according to Oxford Dictionary, “memes are images, video, piece of text, etc., typically humorous in nature, that is copied and spread rapidly by Internet users”. Because memes are easily copied and spread rapidly, they make a good desirable communication tool albeit sarcastic and humorous. Who doesn’t like to see a picture with a text that puts a grin on their face? …


Leonard Francis Vibbi, Community Initiatives Coordinator at iDT Labs, talks about the role of West African fintechs in bridging the financial exclusion gap and what they need to thrive (co-authored by Mahrukh Murtaza)

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Fintechs can test and innovate while mitigating risks in a Sandbox Framework

In recent years, West Africa has seen the rise of various innovative solutions, particularly those offered by fintechs, to improve financial inclusion among the underbanked and underserved. Countries such as Kenya, Uganda, Nigeria and Ghana are currently among the main hubs of fintech activity owing to their highly developed mobile ecosystems.

In Sierra Leone too, mobile phone coverage is at 95%. Unfortunately, about 87% of the country remains excluded from financial services, especially the informally employed, women, youth, the disabled and the elderly, which puts these groups at great risk of remaining trapped in a cycle of poverty. What has been uplifting to note however, is the rise in financial services for the financially excluded by local fintechs which are taking advantage of the high mobile penetration rate and are fueled by the immense need for non-traditional and contextualised solutions. If these new initiatives are to thrive in Sierra Leone however, they don’t just require the right technical skills; they need an enabling environment, international connections, mentoring and representation. …


How iDT Labs incubated civic tech organization Code for Sierra Leone is working to help journalists catch-up with modern reporting techniques.

This article originally appeared on Code for Africa Medium channel.

It’s fair to say that in Sierra Leone, the availability of modern digital tools and platforms to gather and report news is still a major challenge. Newsrooms in the country still heavily depend on traditional means of finding and telling local news. Unlike many regions, media is still dominated by FM radio broadcast, print newspapers and magazine publications. The online revolution can still seem a long a way off in a country that has poor network and wireless infrastructure. …


How Code for Sierra Leone is working to help journalists catch-up with modern reporting techniques.

It’s fair to say that in Sierra Leone, the availability of modern digital tools and platforms to gather and report news is still a major challenge. Newsrooms in the country still heavily depend on traditional means of finding and telling local news. Unlike many regions, media is still dominated by FM radio broadcast, print newspapers and magazine publications. The online revolution can still seem a long a way off in a country that has poor network and wireless infrastructure. Old fashioned tools are by far the best channels for journalists to reach their audience.

Things are changing, however. Even though well over half of the population lacks access to internet services, Sierra Leonean journalists are zealous to catch up with modern digital trends of reporting the news. The audience for digital storytelling is growing day by day, and more importantly cash-strapped newsrooms are keen to train reporters in efficient, digital methods of information gathering and data analysis. …

About

Leonard Francis Vibbi

Leonard Francis Vibbi is a civic technologist and design researcher working in West Africa.

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