The Localization Alliance


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Partner with the Trust



The Localization Alliance

for Integral Human Development


The Bad News: 3 billion people are at risk

Experienced development practioners in all sectors will tell you that if programes and projects aren't inclusive and participatory, then they won't be sustainable.

Yet 3 billion of the world's most at-risk people – the majority women and children marginalized in large part by their ethnic minority status – are not able to participate in the most basic processes of their own development. 

Many are excluded by virtue of the fact that they either do not speak – or don't have adequate functional fluency to learn effectively in any of the 126 official languages in which almost all education, development and humanitarian services are provided. Many others simply because they cannot read or write.

That's 3,000,000,000 (three billion) people! Excluded.... not even able to participate in vital processes of their own development. Yet $billions are spent year in and year out by a myriad of international agencies and multi-lateral donors to reach out to this gigantic marginalized cohort.

How can this turn out well if people are marginalized by the very programs designed to help them?

But it gets worse: Their exclusion has proven especially difficult to remedy due to the almost endless ethnic, cultural, social, linguistic, and geographic diversity of the thousands upon thousands of communities where they live.

This already dire situation is compounded still further by the need for age, grade, and gender-appropriate teaching and learning materials for groups within each of these communities. And, worst of all, the most marginalized are even further isolated by disability or traumatic life experience such as sexual or other abuse, conflict, or displacement.

Participation in integral human development – or even basic access to life-crucial information – for these people will require an unprecedented, comprehensive, multi-sectoral effort of the highest order.

But regardless of the scale, the effort will surely fail unless and until these 3 billion people themselves are somehow able to become dynamically involved in -- and take ownership of -- the process itself.

Under existing development scenarios this is utterly impossible.

The Good News: localization through crowdsourcing and cocreation

The good news is that promising approaches, methods, formats, and technologies for localizing development communication have emerged in recent years, and the pace and potential are excelerating rapidly. If these can be combined, enhanced and coordinated efficiently, the effort could lead to effective crowdsourcing and the cocreation of localized teaching and learning materials within and by members of these at-risk communities themselves.

Building and maintaining the extensive infrasttructure necessary to support such local efforts – globally – will require cooperation and partnerships among a host of public and private agencies.

To that end, The Localization Alliance for Integral Human Development was chartered and launched in September 2012 during the 2nd Annual mEducation Alliance International Symposium in Washington, DC. The Alliance is a public-private partnership along the lines of USAID's Global Development Alliance model, and welcomes government, public, private, and faith-based development agencies, universities, independent researchers, companies, foundations, and all who join us in affirming that:

All people – regardless of their ethnicity, gender, age, creed, tongue, education, disability, social status or locale – have the right to be dynamically involved in the processes of their own development, and should have access to life-crucial information in the language, cultural perspective, and forms of communication that serve them best.

Yours for access to life-crucial information for all people,
Mike Trainum

Life Access Technology Trust

'How Mobiles Can Help Localize Integral Human Development for 3 Billion at the Bottom' is the storyboard and voice-over text for the 6 minute video at the top of this page. The video was the introduction for a keynote panel discussion at the mEducation Alliance symposium. Here's the session abstract and speaker biographies for the panel. Please note that The Localization Alliance is looking for "academic, corporate, government, development agency, and community-based organization partners." Please contact me with questions or to discuss your interest.

This World Vision documentary on localization in a Nepali community is from 2008.