How to Communicate More Effectively with Illiterate Populations
According to the 2016 UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization survey, 40% of adults in low income countries are illiterate. This does not take into consideration the number of innumerate adults, which can be higher in some situations.
It is important to remember that as you are reading this you have an unintended bias toward communicating and interacting with literate people. However many of the populations we work with have limited degrees of literacy and numeracy. We live in the same world, but approach this world quite differently. And sometimes the way we approach this world can be the difference between widespread behavior change versus excluding a significant amount of the population.
Today’s guest Brett Matthews is the Executive Director of My Oral Village and has years of experience working with these populations. This episode will present you with some ideas about how to build bridges between these two worlds, so we are more inclusive and respectful of the way they receive and understand information. Only by understanding this “code” of illiterate and innumerate people can we truly communicate with them, and thereby make a broader impact.
Among other useful tips in this episode you will learn:
- Two thirds of all illiterate people are women
- How you can provide valuable support and be more inclusive of illiterate populations through simple methods
- Many times people who are literate are not numerate
- Most literate people can read one digit numbers, but are unable to read after two or three digits
- How aid organizations often ignore or unknowingly ignore innumerate and illiterate people
- Why drawings are more effective than photos for trainings
- How storytelling can help convey your message
- How to be more inclusive of oral populations in focus group discussions
- Skill sets to look for when hiring staff that will frequently communicate with oral populations
- How illiterate populations used traditional means of memorizing vasts amount of information: The Memory Code - The Secrets of Stonehenge, Easter Island and Other Ancient Monuments
How to Connect with Brett:
- Twitter - @myoralvillage