Language diversity is just one of the riches of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Yet other riches - its store of precious natural resources - have been a trigger for widespread violence going back to the colonial era, bringing suffering in its wake. And the 200 languages spoken are a challenge for international responders, providing assistance and protection in DRC since 1997.
DRC’s 10th Ebola outbreak, declared in North Kivu province in August 2018, brought that challenge into stark relief. Containing this deadly virus depends on ensuring people at risk know how to keep themselves and their families safe. That calls for clear two-way communication in the languages people speak and understand.
Yet little detailed information has been available to inform communication strategies. In February 2019, TWB did a rapid language assessment in Goma to help fill that gap. We found that existing Ebola risk communication materials are not fully understood, especially by women and older men.
In August 2019, the outbreak crossed the one year mark with no end in sight. TWB deployed to investigate language barriers in other affected areas and support responders to engage more effectively with people at risk.
To learn more about TWB’s support in DRC, contact [email protected].
"Someone needs to change these messages into [local] Swahili so that everyone can understand and not be confused by standard Swahili."
-Female focus group participant, Goma, February 2019