The conflict between Herders and farmers for scarce resources in Nigeria has been an age-old one that has seen both sides destroy lives and properties in deadly battles, attacks, and reprisal attacks. Mid-2016 we happened upon a discussion on twitter where a popular radio personality had tweeted that the conflict between the herders and farmers was greatly exaggerated. For a social media influencer to have said this to his huge thousands of followers without having facts to back up his position as we eventually found out, we were extremely disturbed. Influential people have the ability to shape opinions and perspectives, and in situations where they share non-factual information, they mislead thousands as a result.
Our strategy and process
First we consulted series of journals to understand the issue. Then we went in search of data on the as it had occured over the years. We discovered that a local geospatial startup CMapIT had collected data on the crisis from 1980. We reached out to them and partnered on making analytical and visual representations of the data. These information products were using to dispel the misinfromation by going back to the same thread where the conversation was being had and re-engaged them with this new information. We made sure to tag as many influencers and participants as possible. This led to a full blown advocacy project.
Outcomes and learnings
We learned the importance of countering fake news or misinformation from the source and quickly. Using visual representations of the truth ensured that the truth travelled quicker, farther and wider, especially as it allows for multi-platform democratization.