Updated: Jul 30, 2020
Expansion of initiative against COVID-19 disinformation now provides humanitarian aid to areas facing exploitation by extremist organizations.
New York, NY, Apr 29, 2020 -- Ideas Beyond Borders (IBB), a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to education and empowerment initiatives in the Middle East, is expanding their campaign to combat disinformation among Arabic-speaking youth to include a significant humanitarian outreach effort. This effort includes working with local distribution partners to deliver 20,000 N95 masks to public hospitals facing dire PPE shortages, as well as 120,000 surgical masks and more than 300,000 meals to communities in need.
Humanitarian efforts are focused on communities plagued by sectarian violence, lack of access to education, and poverty. These conditions exacerbate pandemic outcomes and leave populations more vulnerable to believing targeted disinformation.
“The COVID-19 pandemic is being exploited by extremists and authoritarians alike, both digitally and offline. I’ve seen it before when my own community was taken over by extremist groups; they hand out blankets, they give water bottles on severely hot days in Baghdad, and in the case of COVID-19, they hand out masks and food to build trust. When the pandemic is over, that’s what people remember, and it makes them even more vulnerable to believing extremist ideas. Ideas Beyond Borders is beating extremists to it. We’re handing out food and masks simply because it’s the right thing to do, and we ask nothing in return,” says IBB founder Faisal Saeed Al Mutar.
The Stop the Spread campaign combats misinformation and dispels conspiracy theories surrounding COVID-19 and provides accurate public health information from trusted sources. It launched in early March to IBB’s network of over 4.5 million MENA-region youth, and includes dozens of videos, infographics, and articles on the virus. The recent campaign expansion also expands these efforts, including translation of mental health resources, as well as a significant increase in video production.
About Ideas Beyond Borders
A 501(c)3 organization dedicated to fostering an Enlightened Middle East
Ideas Beyond Borders champions a positive alternative to the extremism, authoritarianism, censorship, and violence that plagues the Middle East. We share, translate, and promote ideas that foster critical thinking, civil and human rights, science, pluralism, and more. IBB wants to ultimately bring to life a modern, pluralistic Middle East, led by the people of the region.
Coronavirus: the student translators battling Middle East misinformation | April 29th, 2020 | The National
By translating Wikipedia pages into Arabic, he offers access, hope | February 5th, 2020 | CSM
COVID-19 Disinformation Briefing No. 1 | March 27th, 2020 | ISD
Lisa Pirovano, Communications Director at Ideas Beyond Borders