Program Office: Public Diplomacy Section, US Embassy, Kathmandu
Funding Opportunity Title: Surfing Securely
Announcement Type: Grant
Funding Opportunity Number: PAS-KTM-NOFO-23-04
Deadline for Applications: June 9, 2023, 17:00 hrs., Kathmandu Time
Total Amount Available: $10000- $30000
Based on funding availability, this project will train around 150 young journalists on mobile journalism, using multimedia tools to produce quality content that has undergone fact checking. Another component of this training would be to sensitize users on digital privacy and data protection to prevent cybercrime, blackmailing, and online harassment.
Current Situation & Problem Statement: Mobile penetration has surged dramatically in Nepal in the recent decade. Sharecast Initiative’s survey shows 90% of individuals above 18 years own a handheld phone. As per the Nepal Telecommunications Authority, there are 36 million internet users in Nepal, more than Nepal’s official population of 29 million. While these are good data, there are also daily reports of people committing crimes via online platforms. The Cyber Bureau of Nepal Police publishes news of how people, especially women, are victimized. The trend of impersonating celebrities to ask for money is also on the rise. There are also reports of important accounts being hacked in Nepal.
Review of Past Projects: This project will build on the successes of past Embassy supported countering mis- and disinformation projects. For example, PAS implemented its first-ever grant on curbing misinformation and disinformation that reviewed newspaper articles that were found to have misleading headlines and trained journalists on the ways of spotting misinformation, ways to fact check, and promoting responsible journalism. This will be a continued effort to support young journalists on producing quality digital content, following fact-checking procedures, and promoting safe use of internet.
Proposed Project Introduction: This funding opportunity seeks to equip and empower young journalists with tools needed to produce multimedia content such as podcasts and short videos on misinformation and disinformation, digital data privacy, safe use of internet, online harassment, and online theft among others. Adolescent girls and women will know how to report if they think they are being victims of online harassment, fraud, or blackmailing. Project implementers will create and deliver training as well as awareness materials to key audiences to learn the critical thinking, technical skills, research skills needed to fight misinformation and promote responsible use of online platforms.
Project Goal: The goal of this project is to build on the efforts to address challenges posed by social media such as misinformation and digital privacy.
Project Audience(s): 150 journalists, vloggers, bloggers, and social media influencers from all provinces of Nepal. The participants should be represented from all castes, gender, ethnicity, religion, and geographical diversity.
Project Objectives: The implementing partner is required to design a six-month training program on producing multimedia content, using tools of factchecking, techniques to protect online data, and ways of addressing misinformation and disinformation. There should be at least 20 participants at each training from diverse groups. Based on feedback from and in close collaboration with the U.S. Embassy, the partner will implement these trainings in all provinces. The goal is to help journalists and bloggers/vloggers, social media influencers to create digital content that can sensitize pubic on responsible use of online platforms and prevent misinformation and disinformation.