An innovative online learning course to support the reporting of Covid-19 in Sudan has reached nearly 2000 people across all sectors of media.
The course, designed to be easy to access on mobile phones, has been delivered by Thomson Foundation in partnership with British Council Sudan, funded by UK Aid and backed by the Ministry of Information and Culture.
Abdelwahab Gumaa works as an economics editor at Alwifaq newspaper and also online.
He says what set the COVID-19 course apart is that it is available through WhatsApp, easily accessible and very flexible.
“Taking the course was like rubbing Aladdin’s lamp, each time a genie would come out and I would get something new,” he says. “I was able to not only take the course, but be assessed and receive a signed certificate in less than an hour!”
The course in Arabic is tailor made for Sudan with Sudanese examples and case studies and it addresses fake news.
“It taught that journalists should never take information at face value before fact checking,” says Abdelwahab. “I did learn this long ago but being asked questions about it on the course reminded me about it.”
Mohamed Abdelaziz is a senior reporter at Alsudani Newspaper and credits being able to access the course on WhatsApp as a good way of delivering training.
“There weren’t any long videos that ate up all my mobile data so it wasn’t costly,” he says. “And I liked the flexibility and the fact that I could pause and come back to it whenever I wanted.”
Thomson Foundation has been working in Sudan in partnership with the British Council since 2012.
“I think our deep understanding of the media landscape and the very particular challenges there helped inform how we approached the design of the course.” says Helen Scott, Director of Thomson Foundation’s Sudan programme.
“We knew connectivity is a major issue, and that the course material needed to be localised, in Sudanese Arabic, with Sudanese case studies and examples.”
“We’re also delighted the course has been accessed across the country, not only in Khartoum, with groups in Darfur enrolling. We also know it has reached bloggers in displaced people’s (IDP) camps.”
The course can be accessed through the following link which is also published on the Sudan Ministry of Information and Culture’s platforms and shared through WhatsApp.
About: Helen is an experienced trainer, consultant and project manager with a background in programme making and management. She is the Director of Thomson Foundation’s Sudan programme.