Coronavirus (762) We're listening! Survey findings on COVID-19 language and information gaps

19 June, 2020

Dear HIFA colleagues,

TWB recently carried out a rapid global assessment of language and information gaps in humanitarian organizations' communication with affected people about COVID-19. Through a remote survey, we heard from 53 humanitarian program staff from 32 countries. Many thanks if you shared this with your teams.

The survey highlighted challenges for program teams:

A quarter of respondents felt they did not have enough information on COVID-19.

Up to half didn’t feel the available information was sufficient or accessible enough.

When asked what further support or resources they needed, the most common answer was “information materials in local languages.”

You can read the full survey findings here.

We have used these findings to tailor our language support services, but we recognize that we are late in getting them out to partners - for reasons I’m sure you can imagine! We are sorry if that makes them less immediately useful today. Things may (hopefully) have changed in the meantime. We think it’s important to monitor those changes, in order to ensure teams have the support they need to communicate effectively.

So we are proposing to survey teams again, and inviting your organization to take part. The survey [] is available in English, French, Spanish and Arabic. The questions are the same as before, to enable a comparison over time, and should take no more than 15 minutes to complete. Would you be able to fill it in and/or share it with relevant colleagues in country programs? We can also provide a printable version for program teams if you’d prefer. (Write to

We hope you find the findings of the last survey of value, and thanks in advance for your input on updating the findings. We have taken steps to ensure we can communicate the findings faster, so we can continue to improve collective risk communication and community engagement efforts. If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to let us know.

Many thanks and best



Mia Marzotto

Senior Advocacy Officer

Skype: miacrocetti

WhatsApp: +39 333 743 9807

TWB’s COVID-19 Resources: Read about TWB's global response and glossary

Donate to TWB

Follow #LanguageMatters on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.

TWB takes accountability seriously. Click here to report misconduct or fraud.

HIFA profile: Mia Marzotto is Advocacy Officer at Translators without Borders. She is based in New York City, USA. She is a member of the HIFA working group on Multilingualism.

mia AT