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The month of February has been an exciting month for the Words of Relief team. Among other things, we have been getting ready for our big launch workshop, developing a comprehensive MEL Plan and planning how to disseminate the content we will translate. Additionally, we have been networking and creating awareness of our project.

Our big launch workshop will be on the 4th of March at our offices in Nairobi. We will be seeking to understand the type of disaster and crisis messaging that should be available in local languages before, during and after a crisis, and the way in which aid workers would like to work with our translation crisis relief network. Those who are attending include communications and first-response experts from OCHA, Worldvision, Oxfam, WFP, Internews, BBC Media Action and others.

The launch will also provide a platform for the Translators without Borders Technology Committee to better understand how our technology component – the Words of Relief Digital Exchange (WoRDE) – can meet  needs of aid workers. The Technology Committee is a team of highly skilled individuals with the specific mandate of creating a crowd sourced, online (and mobile) application that connects the translation team with aid workers and data aggregators who need immediate help (WoRDE). The feedback from the launch will be included in our March blog.

Our Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning plan is finalized! The Monitoring section outlines how Translators without Borders will measure whether outputs are being delivered and the project is being implemented as planned. The Evaluation section describes how TWB will evaluate the relevance and effectiveness of the activities in achieving the overall goal of improving communication between crisis responders and crisis affected populations. The Learning section outlines the steps we will take at the end of the pilot to assess what was successful and should be taken forward, as well as what did not work. The plan will address a variety of audiences including: TWB’s donors (HIF and Microsoft), Translators without Borders’ Board of Directors, WoR Advisory Committee, project team and project participants (aid organizations and volunteer & tech committees).

We were invited by the Inter Agency Working Group for Disaster Preparedness for East and Central Africa(IAWG) for their Core Members meeting. We introduced and presented Translators without Borders with special focus on Words of Relief. In this forum we were able to get insight into who we should target for our workshop, the organizations with whom we should partner,  and, of particular importance, we created awareness of Words of Relief. IAWG very generously put both our presentation and an invitation to our workshop on their site: http://iawgafrica.org/downloads/twb_presentation_to_iawg_3-feb-2014.pdf(link is external)

Finally, our Project Manager and the Translation Manager attended the Third Pan African Conference on Interpretation and Translation, held in Nairobi, Kenya on 17–18 February 2014. This conference was interrogating the effects of multi-lingualism in Africa. The discussion centered on the effects multi-lingualism has had on translation in Africa and how these challenges are being addressed.

This conference was particularly instrumental in exposing us to the intricacies of translation, content dissemination and the latest trends and innovations in the world of translation. Of particular interest to the team was the information that Somali, a language to be used in the pilot, has already been standardized and that there is a pool of translators who are available with that knowledge.

The Translators without Borders translation team was lauded for the accuracy of their Swahili translations and the translation team was actually asked to give their experience in this field. There was special mention of the work Words of Relief is doing and the moderator had this to say: “Perhaps it is time we discussed translation in crisis.” Words of Relief was invited to look into posting on such sites as Metaglossia at http://www.scoop.it/t/translation-world(link is external).

Our focus in March is to ensure that we get the content to be translated both from our CDAC Network Partners and other aid organizations.

Stay tuned for more in March as you look at our month in pictures!


Lori Thicke, President and founder of Translators without Borders with Swahili translator, Cynthia Wambugu at the Kenyan Translation Centre.


Paul Warambo, TWB Training Center Manager gets ready to make his presentation.

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