Surprisingly, in humanitarian response, there is often little information available on the languages spoken by the crisis-affected people. Humanitarians called in to assist are forced to develop communication programs based on old or inadequate data on literacy, languages spoken, and even the most effective means of communication. The result too often is that crisis-affected people do not understand the information they get from humanitarian organizations. Women, children, and older and disabled people are often at the greatest disadvantage because they will be less likely to speak or read a lingua franca used in the response, limiting their capacity to receive timely and appropriate information.
We intend to fill the data gap by giving humanitarians maps and better information on languages spoken, literacy, and best means for communication.
The designations employed and the presentation of data on the maps produced by our TWB Maps project do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.
Starting with data already available and enriching it with new information from TWB and partners, our language mapping project will provide freely usable, verifiable datasets on language and communication. Humanitarian organizations will have full access to the information to plan and refine their communication with affected people. They also can input into TWB Language Maps with data they collect and share themselves.
Watch this space as our language mapping project is developed further. Current language maps can be accessed here:
For more information on language support in humanitarian action, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.