Alphabet Soup – the strange world of Development Acronyms.

ElectricAid has always been conscious of the off-putting effect of jargon and acronyms. Our Annual Report always includes a jargon-busting acronym-explaining section. (Of course, ESB as a VIU would never use terms like MW, FTE and KPIs – our PDP process would ensure that the EDT never got anything like that from GWM, ESBN or even from the BSC …!).

Like any other sector, Development is full of jargon – which does aid communication, as long as everybody is up to speed and knows who OVCs are, and what a VIP latrine is for. But to the uninitiated, it can seem like a strange and repellent language. Add in a layer of political correctness, and it looks … mad. Take Leprosy for example. The word “leper” is no longer used, we now talk about PALs (people affected by leprosy).  We have recently detected a move to discontinue the very clear and powerful term FGM (female genital mutilation), and to replace it with FGC (FG Cutting). I’m not sure if this is any improvement, or if the victims (sorry, survivors) of the practice are much bothered about what the terminology is.

Anyway, we hope to communicate as clearly as we can, going as easy as we can on jargon and acronyms. When ElectricAid delivers VIP latrines for the use of OVCs, as part of a WASH programme, please do bear with us. We’re talking about Ventilated Improved Pit latrines, for use by Orphans and Vulnerable Children, delivered as part of a Water, Sanitation & Hygiene programme.  If we ever fund a programme for feeding IDPs from ASALs with OFSPs, we would be looking after the needs of Internally-Displaced People from Arid and Semi-Arid Lands, by feeding them Orange-Fleshed Sweet Potatoes! (OK, this one is a bit of a stretch, but all of these acronyms are in current use in Development.) Finally, we would certainly support a RWH project for SHG members consisting of PWHHs. This would be an excellent funding, provided we explained that we were funding Rain Water Harvesting for a Self-Help Group made up of Poor Women-Headed Households.

We promise to be as clear as we can – if we’re not, let us know! And please do check out our recent ARs (sorry, Annual Reports) for their jargon-busting sections. OK?