REALIES – Strong civil society for a healthy information ecology. is a betterplace lab program where we support actors from Ukrainian civil society who work to combat disinformation and promote a healthy information ecology and a pluralistic information landscape. The digital program runs from October 2022 until December 2022. 15 selected Ukrainian actors (organisations can apply with max. two representatives) will discuss challenges in their line of work and also work on their project ideas for better dealing with disinformation and propaganda or a format idea to support networking in Ukraine against disinformation and propaganda.
They are supported by (external) input, a peer-learning format and an international network to help bring their work to the next level. Apply until 21.9.2022 here.
REALIES – Strong civil society for a healthy information ecology. is a program by betterplace lab.
At REALIES, we want to bring together innovative minds that have an idea to combat disinformation and promote a healthy information ecology. The participants of the program will come together digitally several times in the course of September to December 2022 – to discuss their challenges and to sharpen and scrutinise their ideas. In addition, the program aims to impart knowledge and facilitate a process of reflection to become aware as part of the information system (more specifically: as part of the "system of disinformation")
The program serves as a space for further capacity building, networking and reflection in the participants' line of work and project/format idea – continuously creating a playing field for mutual inspiration and network building. We pursue a collaborative approach throughout the program, providing a mix of expert input, peer-learning and constant feedback loops ensuring the program is catering to the needs of the participants. Facilitated by appropriately trained trainers, we offer participants a space for reflection in small groups in order to be able to talk about their individual situation and challenges in the face of war. The participants will receive mental support from the trainers as well as the exchange of experiences in their peer group.
Digital communication channels and the reach they can achieve have changed the dynamics and landscape of actors in public discourse. Traditional journalism no longer functions as a gatekeeper; the attention economy rewards polarising content and disinformation. Authoritarian to anti-democratic forces are strategically exploiting the dysfunctional structures of the new digital media landscape - this has been particularly evident since the war of aggression on Ukraine in the form of war propaganda, which is rapidly and widely disseminated via digital channels.
We can counteract this by working for a healthy information ecology and with fact-based work based on journalistic quality standards. To do so successfully, we need to better understand the digital dynamics of the attention economy, understand our leverage in it, and join forces as a civil society to use it.
For this it is essential to acquire competencies that are appropriate to that new reality. In addition to the trained and critical handling of information, it is much more important to become reflexively aware of one's own role in the system of disinformation. This starts with the question of how/where information finds its way into the public sphere and how it is disseminated and received. In order to get beyond the siloed fight against disinformation, we need a systemic view of the problem, a localization in the field and an exchange with fellow campaigners.
You are an activist promoting a healthy and pluralistic information ecology and/or a member of an organisation working in that field, e.g. investigative/non-profit journalism, fact-checking initiatives or other civic tech approaches related to the topic area (e.g. cyber hygiene, educational programs on information and/or media literacy) and formulate an idea for sustainably strengthening media diversity and pluralism in Ukraine.
You are Ukrainian and either based in Ukraine (unoccupied territories), or in exile.
You have a project or format idea for better dealing with disinformation and propaganda or promoting a healthy and democratic public discourse.
We strongly invite activists that are not aligned with any organisation to apply (being part of an organisation/institution is not necessary to qualify for the program.
The program creates a safe space and is neutral to the political spectrum as long as it is aligned with the German and Ukrainian constitution.
We would like to emphasise that we highly engage solutions for local contexts as much as national level to apply.
Also, we are highly encouraging for participants to apply regardless of their origin, age, religion, gender, disability and all people with a migration background and people of colour.
If all that sounds good for you, please apply here.
Glad you asked! We’d love to give you a few arguments at hand why investing some time and brainpower at REALIES is definitely worth it:
You will receive professional assistance in discussing challenges of your line of work and fine tuning your project / format idea! betterplace lab has relevant experience in creating and implementing (digital) learning processes in the fields of anti-disinformation and healthy information ecology (and digital democracy in the broader sense). Check out demokratie.io and Das NETTZ.
You will have access to an (inter-)national network of activists who strive for a healthy information ecology and/or work against disinformation. As part of Europe’s largest donation platform betterplace.org we have relevant expertise in the field of social change. Our project partner is SocialBoost. One of its flagship projects, 1991 Accelerator, is the first accelerator in Ukraine with the most highly-focused and deep pipeline. It assists entrepreneurs on their business journey, from a flash of inspiration to real startups, that provide services to citizens, businesses, and government agencies.
You are at the start of a learning journey! We will provide you with relevant input, expertise and experts in your field of interest. We collaborate with experts depending on your needs and connect you with peers that are working on various ways against disinformation and a healthy information-ecology. Together you can learn, exchange knowledge and experiences, and collaboratively scrutinise your project / format idea.
You will have access to mental support and wellbeing components. Facilitated by appropriately trained trainers, we offer you a space for reflection in small groups in order to be able to talk about your individual situation and challenges in the face of war.
We have identified relevant selection criteria (see below), which we will apply to select up to 15 of the most eligible participants (note: organisations can apply with max. two representatives, which will be counted as one participant) for the program. The selection of participants is based on the criteria below – betterplace lab will review the applications and discuss with the project partner SocialBoost for a final decision.
To apply the selection criteria, we will rate every aspect with a certain number (from 1 to 5), 5 being the highest (translating to “Strongly agree”) and 1 being the lowest (translating to “Strongly disagree”). The full scale rating from 1 to 5 looks as follows:
Neither agree nor disagree
The assessment of the applications will help guide the discussion with the project partner, the ultimate and final decision will be made during that discussion.
The following selection criteria and questions will guide the assessment:
Is the described line of work relevant to the topic area?
Is the idea’s reference to the topic of disinformation / information ecology distinct?
Does the proposed solution seem adequate to contribute to a healthy information ecology and counteract disinformation?
Could the project/format idea have an impact? (Can this idea enrich information ecology?)
Does the applicant's overall work show impact orientation?
Do we believe the project/format idea can reach a point of readiness for implementation (with the support within the program)?
Do we believe the candidate can otherwise contribute positively to the topic area?
We are looking for 15 Ukrainian civil society actors (max. 30 people, you can also live in exile) that want to be part of the project from September until December 2022.
We will host the kickoff call on Monday, 10.10. From 17:00-18:30 Ukrainian time (updated date), where we will get to know each other and the program.
The first content call will take place on Friday that week, 14.10. from 12:00-13:30 Ukrainian time - please mark your calendars already!
3 content calls (Oct/Nov), in which we deal with the value chain of disinformation, the media system in Ukraine in the current situation and another additional topic according to the needs of the attendees
3 group calls for scrutinising your ideas (project / format) and discuss mental challenges (facilitated by a coach)
One debrief-call (just before the holidays)
Contingent of 1:1 check-ins with psychologically trained coaches (mental health support)
We kindly ask all participants to attend all calls/digital meetings. We will discuss with the participants the working schedules and concrete dates. We understand that you might not be able to make it to every single digital meeting, however we’d like you to generally provide the capacity to work with us in the digital sphere of the program. In case you apply with two people from an organisation, you can represent each other in the meetings if necessary. We’re happy to provide you with a certificate for completing the program - the prerequisite for this is continuous participation.
What happens next?
Well first we are inviting you to apply for the program here until 21.9.2022.
We will look through the applications as they come in also before the date of the deadline. As you know, we are looking for 15 candidates for the program. Therefore we advise you not to wait until the very last minute to send in your application.
We might approach you during September to clarify some specific questions we might have on your application. Please check your email especially the time after the official deadline so we get the chance to speak to you shortly.
We will inform all 15 final candidates shortly after the application deadline. Please remember: To be a participant at the program, it is mandatory that you will take part in the kickoff call on Monday, 10.10. From 17:00-18:30 Ukrainian time (updated date).
Please also mark your calendars for the first content call on Friday, 14.10. from 12:00-13:30 Ukrainian time.
betterplace lab is a Berlin-based think-and-do-tank striving for a digitisation that benefits humanity through research, experiments and collaboration. As part of Europe’s largest donation platform betterplace.org we have relevant expertise in the field of social change. As part of betterplace.org, Germany's largest online donation platform (active in 127 countries), we carry out studies, disseminate our knowledge in innovation workshops, and work for the positive use of digitization worldwide. Further information can be found at www.betterplace-lab.org.
SocialBoost is an Ukrainian non-profit civic tech NGO that develops tech solutions with social impact. SocialBoost promotes synergy between civil society, government and startup community to solve national challenges and create breakthroughs for developing economy. One of SocialBoost's flagship projects, 1991 Accelerator, is the first accelerator in Ukraine with the most highly-focused and deep pipeline. It assists entrepreneurs on their business journey, from a flash of inspiration to real startups, that provide services to citizens, businesses, and government agencies.
REALIES – Strong civil society for a healthy information ecology. is sponsored by the Federal Foreign Office (grant approved preliminarily).
In case you have any questions, don’t hesitate to write to Katja: firstname.lastname@example.org