Humanitarian organizations responding to acute and widespread food insecurity in Somalia lack data to understand and address language–based exclusion.
Together with Minority Rights Group International and others, we also researched how far Maay Somali speakers understand critical health information in Mahaa Somali. Publication pending.
We worked with REACH to analyze data from the 2021 Joint-Multi-Cluster Needs Assessment (JMCNA). Our findings highlight the marginalization of minority groups from humanitarian assistance, and the role of language as a compounding factor of exclusion. See our quantitative research findings here.
Our research findings challenge a widespread perception that Northern Standard Somali (Mahaa) is used and understood by all, and mutually intelligible with Maay and Benadiri Somali.
To further understand the language challenges internally displaced people (IDPs) face in Somalia, we talked to humanitarians and academics who speak either Maay, Benadiri, or Mahaa as a first language about the mutual intelligibility of these languages and dialects and the resulting language barriers. Continue reading.