Jargon Hurts the Poor
This article discusses the extensive use of jargon in conversations and reports of international development. It argues that communication filled with jargon such as ‘green growth’ and ‘stakeholder consultation’ discriminates against those in poverty and excludes many people. This is especially an issue for the international development industry where jargon may be incomprehensible to ordinary citizens trying to become more involved in the process of helping their communities.
|blog||4 minutes||FLOYD WHALEY||01-21-2014||https://blogs.adb.org/|
|floyd whaley||2019-03-19 00:00:00 UTC|
SummaryThis article argues that communication about international development that heavily uses jargon, discriminates against the poor. It begins by asking readers if they understand the following sentences: “Gender-sensitive multi-sectoral capacity building facilitates knowledge sharing and engages stakeholders in inclusive green growth.” If yes, they probably work in international development, if not, they are everybody else blocked from understanding how most of publicly funded international development works. In the age of digital communication and information sharing, this type of language is equivalent to “writing in a secret code that can only be read by the wealthy, powerful and educated.”
Whaley goes over the following various drawbacks of using jargon in international development communication:
- Makes information inaccessible for students and researchers without expertise in international development.
- Prevents journalists from seamless information-sharing.
- Excludes the young and elderly interested to learn.
- Excludes women and girls in “less developed” countries facing educational barriers.
- Makes Google searches inaccessible.
- Hides the ignorance of ‘experts’ who cannot explain underlying concepts.
- ‘Green growth’: Countries growing their economy while protecting the environment and helping the people in poverty.
- ‘Gender’: Empowerment of women and children in disadvantaged countries.
- ‘Stakeholder consultation’: engaging people of a neighborhood in solving problems.