An official website of the United States government

Debunking COVID-19 Myths Starts with You
April 14, 2020

Photo of Moussa Kondo


Growing up in Neguela, Mali, Moussa Kondo always looked forward to time spent with loved ones.

“It was one of my favorite childhood memories,” Moussa says. “Just spending hours with friends by the river in Diabaly.”

Moussa, a 2015 Mandela Washington Fellow, is no less social today and is using his wide network to counter misinformation across the state.

“We started the Accountability Lab to engage citizens and to unleash a positive social and economic change,” he says.

Today Moussa’s work with the Accountability Lab focuses squarely on countering misinformation surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, namely myths about the new coronavirus’s origin and transmission.

“Some people think Africans are immune to the virus or that it doesn’t spread in warm weather,” Moussa says. He’s making a concerted effort to counter these and other COVID-19 myths.

As Moussa sees it, changing minds in Mali hinges on access to reliable information from medical experts.

“We are sending out daily updates in French and local languages with COVID-19 prevention strategies,” Moussa says. His information campaign reaches nearly 20,000 Malians daily.

To other young leaders faced with misinformation, Moussa recommends a vigilant approach and encourages youth to review carefully an author’s credentials, relying on the advice of health experts over other voices.

“You always have another option,” Moussa says. “Even if everyone is sharing misinformation, you can choose to be accountable, to be responsible.”

For Moussa, it’s the role of young leaders to challenge the myths surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. Doing so, in Moussa’s view, is a practice built over time and rooted in a personal conviction.

“Accountability should be at the core of everything you do,” Moussa says. “It’s never been more important that we stand for integrity and for making a difference.”

“To me, that’s what a leader is,” Moussa adds. “Someone who uses his skills to uplift those around him.”

Interested in Moussa’s work? Learn how you can stop, reflect, and verify on our YALIChecks page.

The views and opinions expressed here belong to those interviewed and do not necessarily reflect those of the YALI Network or the U.S. government.