Confusing Asiku: how mission and development intervention in international languages works to bypass the minds of beneficiaries

By Gary Cowman, SIL International  and Jim Harries, Alliance for Vulnerable Mission

 This paper looks at the challenges faced by external holistic ministry and development workers who do not speak the local language. The implications of using the international, rather than local, language are explored as they impact the people in the local community and external workers. A conversational approach is used to bring understanding to difficult questions related to topics such as whether linguistic diversity leads to conflict, the cost/benefit of learning the local language, managing donor expectations in light of what is in the best interest of the local community, the importance of contextually relevant communications material in terms of both language and culture, and the pertinence of globalisation to the local communities we come alongside of to serve.