A novel approach to reach Rohingya refugees: Speak Rohingya

4 June, 2019

Dear HIFA colleagues,

I was interested to read this news piece in The New Humanitarian, with thanks to Anne Roca. It does not refer specifically to healthcare inforamtion, but is a reminder of how communication methods sometimes lack the very fundamental requisite: to communicate in a language that people can understand.

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Extracts below. Full text: http://www.thenewhumanitarian.org/news/2019/05/29/novel-approach-reach-r...

A UN rights probe this month called on the international community to cut financial ties to Myanmar’s military, which it says could be responsible for genocide. But alongside the English-language statement was an unusual addition: an audio version recorded in the Rohingya language.

Rohingya activists and humanitarian language specialists say the rights probe’s 24-minute audio translation is a rare attempt to communicate directly with the very people affected by the crisis.

Khin Maung, a youth activist and refugee who fled to Bangladesh in August 2017, said the numerous reports from rights groups largely go unread by many Rohingya simply because they aren’t available in a language – or format – they can understand...

Krissy Welle, senior communications officer for Translators without Borders... called the UN rights probe’s Rohingya-language audio statement a “commendable first step towards including Rohingya people in the conversation”, though it remains to be seen if and how the actual recording will be widely distributed...

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Does anyone have experience of healthcare information/communication among refugee populations, whether Rohinghya or other?

Best wishes, Neil

Coordinator, HIFA Project on Multilingualism

http://www.hifa.org/projects/multilingualism

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HIFA profile: Neil Pakenham-Walsh is coordinator of the HIFA global health campaign (Healthcare Information For All - www.hifa.org ), a global community with more than 19,000 members in 177 countries, interacting on six global forums in four languages. Twitter: @hifa_org FB: facebook.com/HIFAdotORG neil@hifa.org