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.


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...


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

Best wishes, Neil

Coordinator, HIFA Project on 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