Tuvalu Language Week 2021: Pacific languages key in fight against Covid-19 misinformation

The communication of Covid-19 messaging in Pacific languages is key to helping people better understand the virus, says a Tuvalu community leader.

Coordinator of Pasifika Futures partner, Tuvalu Auckland Community Trust, Mrs Sagaa Malua, says Tuvalu Language Week is a good reminder of how important language is in connecting with communities.

“Language is everything. It is our identity and a powerful connection to our roots and each other,” she says.

Although celebrations of the language week cannot go as planned due to Alert Level restrictions, she says the current situation highlights the need for effective communication to Pacific communities.

“There’s a lot of misinformation and disinformation going around. Our people need to understand what is going on and we need to communicate this appropriately.”

Mrs Malua has helped with translations of Covid-19 messages and says the translations help to inform people’s decisions.

“I know how important the messages are when I have to translate them. When our people have access to the information and can to read it in Tuvaluan, it ensures the messages are received and is trustworthy.

This is information coming from our different ministries and health departments, so it gives our people the confidence that they are being well-informed.”

She says there are always questions and concerns being raised in different zoom meetings she has with community members.

“There’s a huge push at the moment to get people vaccinated, so language is so important in making sure our communities are receiving the correct messages.”

In acknowledgement of Tuvalu Language Week, Mrs Malua shared one of her favourite proverbs with us – “Ko tau malosi ko tau maumea” which translates to “Your strength is your wealth”

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Date: Saturday 02 October 2021