An assessment report evaluating Penplusbytes’ Media and Information Literacy initiatives undertaken from 2019-2021 has revealed that Penplusbytes has become the front and centre of Media and Information Literacy advocacy in Ghana.
At the launch of the evaluative report titled “Making inroads: Learnings from Penplusbytes/DW Akademie’s Media and information Literacy initiatives in Ghana”, the Executive Director of Penplusbytes, Mr. Jerry Sam said, it has become necessary to build the MIL competencies of young people to help combat challenges such as misinformation and disinformation, hate speech, infringement of online privacy which have been on the rise as a result of the proliferation of modern communication technologies and online platforms.
“Penplusbytes with its partners like DW Akademie over the last three years have set the pace for Media and Information Literacy activities in the country. The various MIL initiatives implemented over the past three years have helped addressed the MIL needs of young Ghanaians and also promoted responsible media use among citizens which is a prerequisite to transforming the country digitally” he said.
The scope of the evaluation which encompasses all MIL projects undertaken by PPB with the support of DW-Akademie focused on the accessibility, relevance and effectiveness of the MIL initiatives undertaken by Penplusbytes from 2019-2021.
As captured in the report, it was found that from 2019 to 2021, Penplusbytes and its partners undertook a total of thirty-six (36) distinct MIL initiatives or projects online/virtually and offline/in-person. An analysis of annual project reports also revealed that a total of one thousand, three hundred and sixty-seven (1,367) people participated directly in the MIL initiatives such as youth trainings, stakeholder engagements, research conference and MIL Seminars.
The report also indicates that the figure could be several times more when online participants and indirect beneficiaries are included. For instance, a webinar held by Penplusbytes on the theme “MIL for public good” in 2021 reached over 29,000 people and was viewed by 15,000 people alone on Facebook.
Joining Mr. Sam to launch the report, Project Manager at DW Akademie Ghana Office, Ama Kodjo affirmed that the evaluative report shows how far Penplusbytes and DW Akademie have come as partners in pushing the MIL agenda and how farther they can go.
The launch happened alongside the opening ceremony of the 2022 Global MIL week in Ghana which took place in Accra on Friday, October 21, 2022 where Penplusbytes officially outlined activities to commemorate the week from October 21st to 31st, 2022.
Touching on the theme for this year’s Global MIL Week celebrations – “Nurturing Trust – A Media and Information Literacy Imperative”, Secretary General of the Ghana Commission for UNESCO, Mrs. Ama Serwah Nerquaye-Tetteh said this year’s theme aptly calls for a renewed effort from all stakeholders to gain trust from the public.
“Trust is deteriorating among people because of hate speech, misinformation and disinformation and is as a result of the proliferation of online platforms. It has therefore become necessary that we work with a renewed effort to gain trust from the public. Let us look inward and make MIL education accessible to all”.
Thereafter, the Head for the Department of Communication Studies at the University of Ghana, Dr. Abena A. Yeboah-Banin, admonished media and communications educational institutions and organizations championing media and information literacy education in the country to do it the right way.
“Let’s do our jobs well to have the facts right. In the absence of MIL literate audience, we are in danger, considering the world we live in right now” she said.
Other activities outlined by Penplusbytes to celebrate this year’s MIL week include; an online awareness campaign using the hashtags #ThinkCritically #ClickWisely aimed at reaching people with the message of critical analysis of media content, Regional Youth Agenda Forums in 4 regional capitals, MIL training for students with hearing impairment in special schools and a Market Road Show to climax the week-long activities.