TWB has been supporting humanitarian partners in eastern DRC since early 2019. This began with assessments of language in the Ebola response in North Kivu.
Effective engagement with communities is vital to communicate about health risks and ensure that people know how to keep themselves and their families safe. A lack of clear two-way communication in languages and formats that people can understand makes people affected by crisis more vulnerable. This applies especially to women, older people, and speakers of marginalized languages, often disadvantaged by limited access to education. TWB works with responders to develop tools and language capacity to provide communities with better access to information and services that meet their needs.
The Democratic Republic of Congo is one of the most linguistically diverse countries in the world, with over 200 languages spoken. We believe that everyone should have access to information, rights and services free from language barriers.
The DRC continues to face serious health challenges. The first case of COVID-19 was detected in March 2020 and the 11th Ebola outbreak announced in Equateur in June 2020. The TWB team will continue to investigate language barriers in affected areas and support responders to engage more effectively with people at risk. We will work with partners on health programs and across the wider humanitarian response, to ensure that language issues are better understood and addressed.
To learn more about TWB’s work in DRC, contact [email protected].
"For Ebola, we need [materials] even in... the local language, so that if we give a flyer to a grandmother she will understand too."
-Male pharmacist, Kanzuli, Beni
"In medicine they have very many terms... If you have never been to school, you won’t understand a thing and you get confused. It’s a reason why people no longer go for treatment.”
-Female resident, Mandrandele, Beni
Program updates and resources
In crises like the COVID-19 pandemic it is essential to communicate in language that is clear, accurate, and accessible. The following guides help responders communicate effectively about COVID-19.
How to talk about health and Ebola
Why we need to collect data on the languages of crisis-affected people (PDF)