EEAD project aims to equip vulnerable citizens and civil society organisations with media literacy skills to critically analyse the messages conveyed through media and identify disinformation. The project focuses on European countries, including Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Portugal, and Romania.

We believe that strong civil society is a crucial ingredient to effectively counter disinformation.

For this reason, within project activities we focus not only on strengthening media literacy skills of vulnerable citizens and those working with them, but also on creating counter narratives, boosting digital activism, collaboration and mutual exchange between civil society actors and citizens.

We aim to involve those especially vulnerable to disinformation, i.e., youth, migrants, senior citizens, and general groups that lack media literacy skills, or access to education, or those at risk of being targeted by disinformation, i.e., LGBTQI people, women's rights and human rights organizations, CSO professionals, civic activists, watchdogs, and journalists.

During the project, the participants will be engaged in local training, workshops, webinars, or facilitated discussions on the Hive Mind Community platform with a goal to inspire citizen-led actions against disinformation.

We envision building a cross-national community, whose participants are learning from one another and actively working together to bring a positive change.

The project is supported within the European Commission Citizens, Equality, Rights and Values Programme (CERV), implemented by TechSoup Europe and its local partners, Czech Republic: VIA Association, Romania: Funky Citizens, Portugal: Lusofona University/CICANT, Hungary: NIOK. Project activities in Poland will be delivered by TechSoup Europe.


Empowering Europeans Against Disinformation (EEAD) - Project Training Updates: The Purpose, Scope, and Background

WP 1. Countering Disinformation Learning and Exchange Webinars

Background and Purpose

The Empowering Europeans Against Disinformation (EEAD) project, led by Fundacja TechSoup, is a collaborative initiative aimed at countering disinformation across Europe. One of its key components is organizing webinars to educate and empower diverse audiences in different countries. The training activity comprised five webinars, each tailored to a specific country and audience.

The partners and TechSoup collaborated to cover a broad spectrum of disinformation-related topics.

The methodology involved interactive workshops, presentations, and discussions to enhance participants' understanding of disinformation and equip them with practical strategies.

Webinar Participants

Total Participants: 117

Countries Represented: 10 (Poland, Romania, Czech Republic, Hungary, Portugal, Italy, Lithuania, Bulgaria, Netherlands, Germany)

Gender Distribution: Female (90), Male (27), Non-binary (0)

Event Descriptions (by Project Partner)

1. TechSoup Webinar

TechSoup hosted a webinar under a title ‘Defending Democracy: How to Spot and Protect Elections from Disinformation’ on October 5, 2023. Target audience was: activists, journalists, leaders of organizations and general public who were interested in disinformation or new to the topic and wanted to understand better the mechanisms behind disinformation targeting the election process. The webinar was held in English.

The 90 min webinar aimed to help the international target audience coming from the EU member States to:

  • Defend Democracy: Learn effective methods to protect elections from hostile foreign interference and ensure the integrity of the democratic process in your country.

  • Identify Disinformation: Enhance your ability to recognize disinformation campaigns targeting elections, enabling you to distinguish fact from fiction more effectively.

  • Counter Disinformation: Acquire practical strategies to effectively combat election-related disinformation, contributing to a more informed and resilient civil society.

The methodology of the webinar focused on gaining theoretical insights of disinformation spread during the election processes accompanied with practical strategies to recognize and combat election-related disinformation.

The outcomes of the webinar – participants gained knowledge on:

  • The key objectives of foreign election meddling and what the adversaries are trying to achieve by their interference.

  • The most common techniques and methods used by threat actors for meddling in various European elections to affect the voters’ preferences, manipulate the voting process, or undermine the legitimacy of the elections.

  • Best practices and measures the states and civil society should implement to protect the elections from external threats.

2. Lusofona University Webinar

Partner in Portugal, Lusofona University hosted a webinar under a title ‘NGOs Fighting Disinformation’ on October 23, 2023.

The 90-min webinar was held in English language in order to reach to the Portuguese and international community of activists interested in the topic.

The webinar was aimed to raise awareness of participants on disinformation and help them develop strategies to combat it.

Within the methodology for the webinar, the "NGOs FIGHTING DISINFORMATION" webinar addressed the pressing issue of disinformation in the digital age by providing valuable insights and practical strategies for combating this challenging scenario and offered a concise and informative discussion, equipping participants with essential knowledge and resources to effectively combat disinformation.

The main outcome for the webinar is that participants:

  • Increased civic and democratic engagement among participants.

  • Enhanced citizens resilience against disinformation, with focus on individuals living in social vulnerability.

  • Raised awareness of tools and tactics to identify and counter disinformation.

  • Expanded the transnational network of civic activism.

3. VIA Association Webinar

Partner in Czech Republic hosted a webinar under title ‘Disinformation Narratives: How to Recognize and Counter Them’ on October 5, 2023.

The 90-min webinar was held in Czech language in a format of online workshop to make sure it is interactive and interesting for the participants.

This workshop was aimed to empower them with knowledge and strategies to enhance their resilience and ability to counteract disinformation effectively.

Within the methodology of the webinar, it was divided into two parts: theory and practical examples. In the theoretical section, the webinar leader covered fundamental terminology, including definitions of disinformation, misinformation, and malinformation. The workshop also delved into the methodologies of debunking and prebunking.

The second part of the workshop featured multiple examples of disinformation narratives, their origins, debunking techniques, and effective responses. Through interactive exercises, participants had the opportunity to apply their newfound knowledge. To conclude the workshop provided best practices for non-profit organizations to navigate potential exposure to disinformation.

The target group for this workshop primarily was comprised of employees of non-profit organizations, a vulnerable demographic. Non-profit organizations are often the target of disinformation and misinformation campaigns, making their employees susceptible to manipulation.

As an outcome, webinar participants gained insights into the spread of disinformation and tactics to counter narratives targeting their respective organizations.

4. Funky Citizens Webinar

Partner in Romania hosted a webinar under the title Disinformation in Romania’s LGBT+ Landscape on September 19, 2023.

The 90-min webinar was held in Romanian language.

The webinar was aimed to explore the disinformation phenomenon in the LGBT+ landscape in Romania as the community that often faces false narratives or is targeted by hate speech and empower participants with strategies to counter such disinformation.

Within the methodology of the webinar, at the first part of it, participants had an opportunity to identify the main misinformation narratives affecting the LGBT+ community in Romania, observing the impact of false narratives on public opinion towards the community and at the second part they looked into practical aspect of strategies to counter misinformation narratives and best practice examples

Target audience: groups vulnerable to disinformation: young people (high-school and university students) and members of the LGBTQ+ community in Romania. Most of the participants who took part in the event were part of the LGBTQ+ community in Romania, were high-school or university students; civic activists, CSO professionals and participants coming from low-income household/rural areas.

As an outcome of the webinar, participants:

  • Received the presentation of the Romanian LGBTQ+ context and the importance of the topic

  • Explored LGBTQ+ Disinformation Narratives

  • Were presented with methods of approach for countering disinformation

  • Discussed case studies from Romania and abroad

  • Had space for open debate and discussion

5. NIOK Webinar

Partner in Hungary hosted an interactive webinar on Media literacy on September 21, 2023. The interactive 90-min webinar was held in Hungarian language.

The key message for the webinar was that media literacy is the ability to recognise and avoid manipulative misconceptions. This interactive workshops was aimed to help target audience to acquire new skills and knowledge on topics such as how to recognise different types of misinformation, how propaganda works and what we can do to become more digitally resilient.

Within a methodology of the webinar, between the introductory presentations and the final evaluation round, the training took the form of a 90-minute interactive group workshop, with a strong emphasis on theoretical knowledge transfer and practical exercises in addition to the joint knowledge transfer.

Target audience was NGOs affiliated professionals (staff, volunteer, member of an informal organization), those who work with vulnerable groups.

As an outcome for the webinar, participants:

  • learnt about the concept of media literacy

  • understood the role and forms of communication noise, role and responsibility of the media in the democratic functioning of society

  • raised awareness on the human factors that distort information

  • gained perspectives and useful tools for the foundations of critical thinking

  • acquired theoretical foundations needed to combat misinformation

WP. 2 Digital Activism Learning and Exchange webinars

The implemented work package 2 on Digital Activism Learning and Exchange webinars consisted of 5 webinars organized by partners and TechSoup covering wide variety of topics related to digital activism in the project countries and beyond:

  • 1 Webinar in Romania in Romanian language for the Romanian audience hosted by Funky Citizens;

  • 1 Webinar in Hungary in Hungarian language for the Hungarian audience hosted by NIOK;

  • 1 Webinar in Czech Republic in Czech language for the Czech audience hosted by VIA Association;

  • 1 Webinar in Portugal in Portuguese language for the Portuguese and international audience hosted by Lusofona University;

  • 1 Webinar in Poland for the international audience hosted by TechSoup.

Participants

  • Female: 80; Male: 17; Non-binary: 2; Preferred not to say: 2

Distribution per country:

Romania - 15, Hungary - 26; Czech Republic - 24; Portugal - 20; Spain - 2; Poland - 9; Germany - 1; Greece -1; Italy - 1; Belgium - 2

Total number of participants: 101

From the total number of countries: 10

You will find a short description of each of the online events below.

TechSoup

TechSoup hosted a Digital Activism webinar under the title ‘How To Keep Hope Alive In The Darkest of Times: Communicating Ukraine’ for an international cohort of participants on December 14, 2023.

Target audience were activists, journalists, leaders of organizations, general audience who are interested in building positive narratives or new to the topic and want to become a master of storytelling that sparks change.

The 75-min webinar was held in English and led by Val Voshchevska, a Ukrainian human rights activist and digital strategist based in London, champions global change through social media.

The webinar was aimed to help participants to learn to create narratives that inspire action and change by immersing themselves into a real-life examples and refining their ability to craft narratives that foster hope and offer solutions. The methodology of the webinar focused on combining theoretical part on basics of creating hope-based communications and practical real-life examples of campaigns that succeeded to create positive narratives and had impact within the communities.

The main outcomes of the webinar is that EU member states residents gained practical knowledge and skills on:

  • How to develop own recipe for success in communicating your story with wider audiences.

  • How to master and better understand hope-based, solution-focused storytelling.

  • Tools and knowledge to craft and amplify narratives that resonate on a global scale.

▶️ Link to the webinar's landing page with resources, description, and video replay link: LINK

Lusofona University

Partner in Portugal, Lusofona University hosted a webinar under title ‘Political and Civic Empowerment – ​​community experiences’ on September 25, 2023.

The 120-mins webinar was held in Portuguese language by two speakers who shared their valuable experiences in promoting democracy and civic engagement. Andreia Martins, from Democracia do Bem Comum and Alexandre Venceslau, representing Rádio Sintoniza.

This online event was aimed to address the challenges posed by the rapid spread of false narratives and hate speech in the age of technology and digital platforms.

Target audience: Civic activists and people from groups vulnerable to hate speech and disinformation.

The methodology was based on combination of raising awareness on EU member states residents on avenues of engagement into the civic life within spread of false narratives and hate speech, and providing practical examples of those initiatives and projects that succeeded in engaging young audiences and migrant communities into exercising responsible citizenship using various digital platforms.

The main outcomes of the online event:

  • It promoted democracy and civic engagement.

  • It addressed the challenges posed by the rapid spread of false narratives and hate speech, particularly through technology and digital platforms.

  • It empowered citizens from diverse socio-demographic backgrounds to deal with these narratives and exercise responsible and enlightened citizenship.

  • It shared experiences of initiatives and projects aimed at promoting democratic and civic engagement, especially among young audiences and migrant communities.

VIA Association

Partner in Czech Republic, VIA Association hosted a webinar under title ‘Twist with disinformation narratives with positive narrative and storytelling’ on November 7, 2023.

The 90-min webinar was held in Czech.

Target groups. The target group for this workshop primarily comprises employees of non-profit organizations, a vulnerable demographic. Non-profit organizations are often the target of disinformation and misinformation campaigns, making their employees susceptible to manipulation. This workshop was aimed to empower them with knowledge and strategies to enhance their resilience and ability to counteract disinformation effectively. To reach the objectives, methodology was covering theoretical insights on disinformation narratives and how they influence the communities accompanied with best practices and case studies of local non-profit organizations and their positive narrative campaigns.

The main objectives were to provide practical tools, hints and tips on how to incorporate the positive narratives and storytelling into a strategic communication to prevent the negative impact of disinformation. As the main outcome for the online event, the participants gained practical knowledge on such topics: psychology of disinformation; positive inspiration from the propaganda and advertising techniques; emotions in the communication; how to build up persona; how to create positive narrative for the NGO.

The workshop welcomed participants from a diverse range of non-profit organizations, representing various profiles and scopes of work. Attendees included representatives from both small and large organizations, civil society organizations (CSOs), public servants, and individuals employed by public libraries.

Funky Citizens

Partner in Romania, Funky Citizens hosted a webinar under title Civically viral - How to make yourself heard on the internet’ on October 24, 2023.

The 90 min webinar was held in Romanian.

This online training was an entry level and it was focused on building participants’ media literacy skills and empowering them to take action against disinformation through digital activism tools. The speaker of the event was Rareș Antal, representing Forum Apulum, an NGO focused on civic education for the youth. Rareș had demonstrated experience in working with social media tools and platforms to design digital activism campaigns as part of his work as video producer for Gen, news - a media platform dedicated to informing the Romanian youth. The speaker focused his presentation on offering practical examples and tips on how to keep communities engaged online, but also how to be successful on TikTok - one of the most used social media platforms by the youth. The webinar was moderated by Ana Mocanu, researcher on countering disinformation at Funky Citizens.

Target audience: groups vulnerable to disinformation: young people (high-school and university students), civic activists/journalists or CSO professionals and LGBTQ+ community members.

Within the methodology for this online training, it was organized around the topics of best tools to create impactful change through digital activism ; of how to keep the online community engaged ; of how to use social media to promote certain messages. In addition, as part of raising their capacity participants were provided with practical advice - how to start communication efficiently, examples of best practices in social media for digital activism; examples of case studies of digital activism as well as effective strategies to reach the online audience.

The outcomes of the online training are:

  • Participants built media literacy skills and to empowered them take action against disinformation.

  • Participants built disinformation resilience.

  • Participants raised their capacity in using social media tools to create digital activism campaigns.

NIOK

Partner in Hungary hosted a webinar under the title ‘Fighting against disinformation’ on October 19, 2023.

The 120-min webinar was held in Hungarian and led by Brigitta Varga, communication consultant, communication and fundraising expert of the HospitalSoul Foundation.

Target groups: CSO representatives (staff, volunteer, member of an informal organization) who are working with or work of their organisation helps vulnerable groups.

Within a methodology used, the webinar was conducted as an interactive online group workshop, where, in addition to the theoretical knowledge transfer, there was a strong emphasis on the joint knowledge transfer and practical exercises.

The webinar was aimed to provide the participants with knowledge on phenomena of disinformation and what are the risks as well as motivate citizens to fight it.

As the outcomes of the webinar, participants:

  • Distinguished between misinformation, disinformation, malinformation, propaganda and fake news.

  • Learnt about the characteristics of unintentional and intentional disinformation.

  • Distinguished between 7 common forms of disinformation.

  • Got more aware of the human factors that contribute to the spread of disinformation.

  • Identified sources of disinformation more effectively.

  • Understood the interests of the actors involved in disinformation.

  • Learnt about global and domestic examples of disinformation.

  • Understood patterns of spread of disinformation in social media (bots, trolls, algorithms).

WP 5. Training of Trainers (ToT) on Countering Disinformation and Creating Positive Narratives, Poland, Warsaw; 20 – 21.04.2023

Training of trainers on Countering Disinformation and Building Positive Narratives was intended to grow and support the European network of trainers/CSO workers/educators/subject matter experts on media literacy so they can carry out more countering disinformation and digital activism activities in their respective countries and communities.

The training modules were designed to equip these multipliers with skills to train, lead, and inspire citizens on the local level to leverage media literacy and build resilience to disinformation based on our existing training curriculum targeted for civil society. Participants chosen for participation here were well suited and situated to initiate, promote and implement actions and interventions at local or regional level as part of their already existing ongoing work as a civic activist.

The training’s objectives were to:

  • Strengthen trainers’ capacity in delivering training on countering disinformation and building positive narratives to adult target audience.

  • Introduce trainers to training curricula on countering disinformation and building positive narratives developed by TechSoup.

  • Provide opportunity for the international group of trainers to learn from each other and to exchange experiences in providing training on countering disinformation and building positive narratives.

  • Strengthen confidence in implementing actions and interventions at local or regional levels focused on media literacy and building resilience to disinformation.

The training covered two major blocks:

  • Countering Disinformation

  • Building Positive Narratives

Based on open call, we had invited 26 individuals from 7 EU countries who:

  • Possess prior experience in delivering training activities in the field of media literacy (preferably in subjects Countering Disinformation and Building Positive Narratives)

  • Are acting as or willing to become an active multiplier of skills on grass root levels with an opportunity to be engaged in delivering local activities (curricula localization, trainings, supporting local action plans) within scope of the EEAD project)

  • Are comfortable in going through training in English.

The list of participants was gender balanced and compiled of professionals affiliated with NGOs from different countries, of various ages, with different experience levels in conducting training and target groups: students, Roma youth, participants from low-income households, LGBTQ+, seniors, women, journalists, activists, immigrants, refugees etc.

Within 2-days long training (12 h in total), the participants participated in interactive sessions, received to perform on practical assignments and brainstormed ideas of future training interventions with target audiences. By the end of the training, participants received ready-to-use training curricula on Building Resilience to Disinformation prepared by TechSoup. The package of materials was comprised of training outline; trainer slides and additional resources for trainers to be used during the training. All materials are easy to adjust to the interventions with various target groups and localized to the needs of specific communities as well as local contexts.

At the end of this training, participants:

  • Received comprehensive overview of the curricula on Countering Disinformation and Building Positive Narratives to be used with their prospective trainees.

  • Strengthened their trainers’ capacity in delivering training on Countering Disinformation and Building Positive Narratives to adult target audience.

  • Became familiar with the process of curricula localization.

  • Learned how to integrate practical scheme of Local Action Plans into their work with their prospective trainees as a method of multiplication of knowledge into the local communities.

  • Got confidence in implementing actions and interventions at local or regional levels focused on media literacy and building resilience to disinformation.

EEAD Training Activity Summary in 2023

The EEAD project's training activity in 2023 successfully addressed disinformation challenges across diverse European communities. By leveraging webinars in various languages, the project fostered a comprehensive understanding of disinformation, empowering participants with knowledge and strategies to combat this growing threat. The diverse geographical and demographic representation highlighted the project's commitment to inclusivity and its impact on building a resilient and informed civil society.

Conclusion

The EEAD training activities carried out in 2023 display the project's comprehensive approach to addressing disinformation challenges across diverse European communities. The project's commitment to equipping a broad spectrum of professionals with the skills needed to combat disinformation and promote positive narratives is evident throughout both initiatives.

From Warsaw, Poland, to diverse European locations, the EEAD project strategically equips professionals to combat disinformation. The initial ToT event laid a robust foundation, while the following webinars disseminated targeted insights to varied audiences.

Stay tuned for ongoing updates as EEAD continues to shape a digitally literate and resilient European society.

Event Results - detailed reporting

  • WP 1. Countering Disinformation Learning and Exchange webinars: SEE THE EVENT DESCRIPTION HERE

  • WP 2. Digital Activism Learning and Exchange webinars: SEE THE EVENT DESCRIPTION HERE

  • WP 5. ToT on Countering Disinformation and Creating Positive Narratives: SEE THE EVENT DESCRIPTION HERE


👉🏽 Follow us on social media to keep track of the latest Digital Activism Program developments: