Audiences Vulnerable to COVID-19 Disinformation in Sudan

Key findings and recommendations to target audiences vulnerable to COVID-19 disinformation in Sudan.


Survey data demonstrate that although Sudan is the most informed and concerned about the coronavirus pandemic compared to its neighbors in the broader Sahel region, it is also the most vulnerable to COVID-19 disinformation.

Paradoxically, the World Health Organization (WHO), scientists, and health workers are trusted by almost 8 out of 10 Sudanese people, but only a minority of the population use them as a source of information about COVID-19. Despite the Sudanese being more informed and concerned about COVID-19, this is not reflected in changes in behavior to prevent the spread of the disease.

Finally, disease control measures are particularly difficult to implement in Sudan due to social, economic, and structural challenges – such as cultural background, absence of a safety net, poor adherence to mask wearing, limited access to water, and crowded living conditions.

Based on the survey findings, Sayara’s recommendations on how to spread the right messages (based on accurate information) about COVID-19 in Sudan include the following:

  • Communicate through radio and TV first.
  • Ensure that messages reach populations with the lowest education level and those in rural areas.
  • Rely on trusted voices (health workers, doctors, or scientists, as well as religious and community leaders) and amplify WHO messaging.
  • Build upon people’s existing knowledge and focus on wearing masks and handwashing.
  • Do not emphasize physical distancing, which could have a counter-effect and antagonize the audience – this measure is nearly impossible to implement in Sudanese society and is incompatible with the culture.


To read more about the survey and the resulting findings and recommendations, view/download our research paper on Audiences Vulnerable to COVID-19 Disinformation in Sudan here. Also available in Arabic here.

“The Truth About COVID-19”


Sayara International conducted this survey as part of its 9-month program “The Truth About COVID-19” in partnership with the Timbuktu Institute which aims to tackle disinformation around COVID-19 by amplifying truthful narratives and addressing false messages. The program does this through influencer engagement, training for journalists and media outlets, and strategic influence campaigning across the Sahel (Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso, Senegal), Lake Chad Basin (Southern Niger, Northern Cameroon, Chad), and Sudan.

For more information about The Truth About COVID-19, visit the program hub to view all content (including videos, audio, research papers, and more) and to sign up to the program newsletter. Journalists/media can also find additional materials ready for use here.