Widening Access

Posted in — Stories > Stories of Change
November 7, 2021
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Studies have shown that increasing workforce diversity has a variety of business benefits and additionally adds a level of richness to workforce interactions.

International development organizations more often than not have a strong global workforce who come from a variety of cultures. Still, there are barriers associated with international workforces, particularly when it comes to nuanced conversations around topics of equality, diversity, and inclusion (EDI).

In our interview with Water for People, they shared their experiences in finding solutions to ensure that all of their staff members had the ability to engage fully in the initial training and planning sessions for the EDI work. Language barriers proved to be one of the more basic and insistent issues they faced, with an employee base that do not share a singular universal language. Initially, they had tried using software which translated in real time but found that the technology did not allow for the high level of accuracy required for the nuanced conversations inherent to EDI training and discussions.

We were realizing that some of the questions we were asking weren’t understood or translated correctly across languages. So we needed to ask ourselves, “What is the foundation of knowledge we’re assuming and how is this bias skewing the information we’re collecting?”

This led the organization towards the use of translation services with specific individuals translating in real-time for country offices where English is not the first language. While this elevated the expense of translation for the organization, it was critical, particularly during the early planning phases of their justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion initiative.

​Learn more about solutions that can help make key discussions more accessible here: