Evidence 4: Regional humanitarian languages

This fourth post is dedicated to the analysis of the geographical diversity of the sector. The graph below shows the 15 most frequent terms, by region.


What do we learn from this analysis?

Firstly, 54% of the 15 most frequent terms are shared by all regions. Among them, two terms “community” and “humanitarian” – also declined as “humanitarian action” and “humanitarian assistance”- are common to all regions.

Not surprisingly, these terms were also reflected in the frequency analysis we did on the whole corpus. We could add to this list a cluster of terms linked to “disaster management” made up of terms which appear with different denominations in several regions. “Disaster risk reduction” is used in Oceania as well as South/Central American & the Caribbean whereas “disaster management” and “disaster risk management” is used in Africa and Asia.

Secondly, some terms referring to the activities of humanitarian actors are frequently used in some regions only. This is the case of:

  • “capacity-building” frequently used in MENA, Africa and Asia only
  • “service” and “service-delivery” respectively used in MENA and Asia

European and North American organizations largely refer to the term “global” when speaking about their humanitarian activities. This is illustrative of the fact that most of the international humanitarian organizations come from these regions. Yet, this does not prevent European organizations from frequently referring to the “local” level, a tendency shared by organizations from Asia and South/Central America & the Caribbean.

Lastly, the analysis provides insights on regional specificities. Two regions share opposite patterns. On the one hand, 93 % of the terms used by African organizations are also used in other regions. On the other hand, 47% of the terms frequently used in South/Central America and the Caribbean are typical to this region.

Do not hesitate to use the comment form to provide your interpretation of the results!