The new coronavirus pandemic came with what the World Health Organization (WHO) called an “infodemic,” an excessive amount of information and false news that is harmful to public health and demands action. As a way of seeking solutions to slow the advance of such deceptive content, Redes Cordiais created the “Agentes da Informação” (Agents of Information), a project under which it trained leaders and community health agents online and free of charge to deal with misinformation and hate speech.
Members of the front line in the fight against coronavirus, these groups have become Redes Cordiais allies as propagators of quality information. Started in June 2020, the project has trained more than 200 community health workers and community leaders who are in dialog with communities that, added, serve more than 1.5 million people.
During the meetings, agents and community leaders were introduced to the fake news ecosystem in a way that spoke to their realities. Through the principles of Non-Violent Communications, the content also addressed important issues in this context of pandemic and misinformation, such as the quality of listening, the need for empathic responses, and the opening of space for dialog for these professionals who are in constant contact with communities and exposed to risks, anguish, and hostile acts.
The agents’ educational practices carried out daily in the territories, in contact with residents, especially during home visits, are an important means of disseminating safe information for disease prevention and health promotion. Especially in contexts of crises, in which there is a flood of misleading content, leaders and community agents become protagonists in the fight against the “infodemic” and in the dissemination of quality information.