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Global HealthInternational Development
Middle East and North Africa

Combating misinformation in Morocco using digital technology

Solution: Digital CampaignDigital SurveyDigital Training

In association with


In early 2020, Morocco faced an unprecedented health crisis due to COVID-19. While public health officials and the government grappled with containment measures, another alarming phenomenon emerged. The spread of the virus was accompanied by a wave of misinformation, provoking fear and exploiting vulnerabilities. 

Morocco is no stranger to misinformation. Even more problematic is the low literacy rates in rural areas, low proportion of the population who can access credible sources of information and high levels of distrust of authorities. In the wake of World Health Organization (WHO) COVID-19 alerts, a surge of unverified information surfaced, creating panic and leading to a number of arrests for ‘spreading rumors about the coronavirus,’ according to Moroccan police.

The Ministry of Health implemented a comprehensive health communications plan, in addition to a state of emergency and a series of health measures, including the deployment of a national monitoring and response program. With UNICEF and guidelines from WHO, the plan focused on five key areas of intervention, including strengthening communication and community engagement, providing essential medical supplies, ensuring that access to essential health services continues, supporting educational opportunities and gathering and analyzing data. UNICEF-Morocco and Viamo were tasked to harness the power of digital technology to support the government’s communication interventions.


people reached on mobile phones & online


people contacted through multiple IVR digital services


people picked up calls


messages listened to


Socio-economic inclusion of young people holds a special place in Moroccan society. The COVID-19 crisis came at a time when young people were in need of education, health, protection and socioeconomic inclusion. It has remained a top priority to address the high rate of unemployment among boys and girls (approximately 30% of young people aged 15 to 29 are unemployed or out of work).

In response, the government launched a survey, developed by UNICEF and Viamo, with the aim of exploring young people’s experiences and fears during the COVID-19 lockdown and the health crisis in general, and also to understand their behavior.

“Situation of young people during the COVID-19 Pandemic” – A Digital Survey

The survey examined youth approach to education during the crisis, their behaviors during the lockdown and whether they have access to their civil rights post-pandemic. The results of the survey would ultimately allow authorities to craft more appropriate communications messages tailored to meet the specific needs of young people.

Viamo created a mixed model digital survey that combined phone calls with Interactive Voice Response (IVR) technology and online solutions to reach this specific audience. Our teams provided technical support at every stage of the process, from the development of the methodology to the analysis of the survey results.

What we did

Our multi-channel approach targeted relevant audiences to meet established project objectives. Participants included single mothers, immigrants, educators, parents and youth, all of whom came from vulnerable backgrounds or interacted with vulnerable communities. Viamo’s Digital Trainings, Digital Surveys and Digital Campaigns were used to disseminate information. All digital services were delivered using IVR on mobile phones and on Facebook. 

As part of the training of community health agents, a Digital Training project was implemented to test the knowledge of 300 participants on COVID-19 and promote the continuity of basic social services. Participants learned about the role and responsibilities of community health agents. To disseminate accurate information and counter misinformation, we worked with UNICEF-Morocco to develop accurate messages, which were approved by the appropriate ministries. 

Topics included: 

  • Child rights and protection, 
  • Vaccination, 
  • Migration, 
  • Good health practices, 
  • The effects of COVID-19 on children, 
  • The role of community health workers.
The six Digital Campaigns provided information on:

  • Recognizing the symptoms of COVID-19, 
  • Taking preventive measures, 
  • Receiving appropriate healthcare, 
  • Getting vaccinated. 

Parents were also informed about ways to support their children during the quarantine process, including violence prevention, education, healthcare and psychological support.  

Participants of the Digital Training for community agents learned: 

  • How they play a crucial role in informing communities about COVID-19 prevention and vaccination, 
  • Facilitating community dialogue, 
  • Accessing relevant support 
  • Dispelling rumors locally.

Training young people – UNICEF


As the virus was relatively unknown to most people, active education and community messaging were considered a priority to stop its spread. 

In distributing critical information in real time to citizens’ mobile phones, the Moroccan government was able to establish a two-way affordable source of information quickly and effectively, assisting people in finding trustworthy information about COVID-19. By utilizing Viamo’s digital services to target local communities, they provided a de facto source of credible information.

A variety of digital communication services were used to inform primarily young people, immigrants, single mothers and community educators.

  • 9,959 people were reached online and on their mobile phones through Interactive Voice Response (IVR) to complete surveys.

  • 570,300 people were contacted through multiple IVR Digital Campaigns, Surveys and Trainings.

  • A total of 2,738 people picked up calls for the various IVR Digital Campaigns, Surveys and Trainings.

Results of the Viamo Digital Campaigns on Acute Viral Bronchiolitis

71 percent of people participated in the IVR survey. Over 87 percent of participants finished the survey, and 62 percent completed it, indicating their interest in the information provided.

Results of Viamo Digital Survey: Key indicators (Pick up and response rates)

83 percent of community agents who completed Viamo’s Digital Training said the content strengthened their knowledge and assisted them in acquiring new knowledge.

What we learned

IVR can be an excellent channel to reach out to people from vulnerable backgrounds due to its flexibility, simplicity and the ability to personalize messages. Using a multichannel approach in the same project supports reaching out to a wide variety of audiences and giving them the information they need using the devices they already have. This is evident in the larger number of participants accessing the services, with a higher number completing survey questions.   

More people accessed the information services thanks to the use of UNICEF’s database of active beneficiaries of their field partners.  This shows that people have more trust in receiving information from an organization that they have already dealt with and are more likely to find information from them credible.

Shorter messages of one minute led to people listening to the whole message and not hanging up mid-call – which met the government’s communication plan objectives.

Findings show that people faced a number of significant challenges during and immediately following the COVID-19 lockdown. This was due in part to their lack of awareness about this coronavirus, to unemployment and to frustrations from being inactive for days. For this reason, the transparency of this project helped boost morale and direct them to sources of support. 


Based on feedback from people who took part in Viamo’s Digital Training, 93 percent of participants said they were interested in receiving new training in the future. Our success in this project led us to develop an integrated communications strategy that is being used in new campaigns.

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