Sahana Software Foundation investigates the use of pictographs in disaster information systems to understand the challenges for implementing a pictograph-based disaster communication system on mobile phones with the capability to save life and livelihoods in disaster situations.
30% of the Asian and Sub-Saharan populations are low-literate. Present day ICT-driven disaster and climate change communication does not provide the means for sharing risk information with and receiving risk information from low-literate or linguistically challenged populations. There is no established pictograph dictionary and semantics. Our challenge is to validate the concept of pictographic disaster communication and to stimulate feedback on design requirements.
Pictograph enabled communication will empower communities of practice in disaster and climate change to include all linguistically challenged populations. It will bring about change in ways which risk is perceived and communicated by the low-literate and linguistically challenged. Moreover, pictograph enabled communication empowers interconnection of these marginalised populations for knowledge mobilisation in the given context.
This project will develop a first version of a dictionary and semantics for pictographic disaster communication. This will allow for initial testing and confirming with practitioners on their requirements for national implementations.
Sahana Software Foundation website
Microsoft Research India website
ExCiteS, University College London website
“Help, Pirates!” – An Exercise with Disaster Communication ExpertsView
In its current state of practice, early warnings still marginalize various populations: Low-literates, migrant workers, children, elderly, people with disorders, and tourists – all of which might be unable to read and comprehend text-based notifications.View
SSF explore what disaster managment professionls think about pictograph based communication, what their ideas are, and how they understand pictographs in their own field of expertise.View
In general it was observed that low-literate community members, in Sri Lanka, struggled with comprehending the Sri Lanka Meteorological Services text bulletins. Simpler visual indicators are easier to digest and help them with deciding on the safety and response measures they need to activate.View
After reaching out to low-literate communities in rural and urban Sri Lanka, we addressed another marginalized group in the Philippines: Deaf people. According to UNESCAP, people with disabilities have a 400% higher risk to die in hazard situations.View
What kind of pictographs are suitable to be used for natural disaster alerting? To find out, we were addressing marginalized communities with reading and writing problems in Sri Lanka and the Philippines last month which he have reported on previouslyView
Sahana’s Pictographs in disaster communication project is considering two disaster communication work flows; thus, downstream “alerting” and upstream “reporting”.View
Unfortunately, the low-literate and functionally-illiterate communities, in Colombo and Ratnapura Districts, who took part in the previous exercise, were severely affected by the flash floods from the unpredicted heavy rains.View
The European INTERACT project is part of a Migration Policy initiative. The project is studying how nations set emergency communication policies and plans to support multi-linguistics and crisis management.View
The UN Sustainable Development Goals commit to “leave no one behind!” However, the illiterate, functionally illiterate, and situationally-illiterate are highly marginalized. There is very little or no addressing of inclusive disaster communication.View
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