Africa: When Artificial Intelligence Meets Humanitarian Jargon

16 May 2018

Could you be the next Hand Officer at Bin Welfare Relief and Training?

On the sidelines of an AI for Good conference in Geneva, where humans and robots mingled and discussed how machine learning could help global development, IRIN rolled up its data science sleeves and deployed a bot on an important new challenge: making up names of aid agencies and aid job titles.

It's a new take on some of the jargon and repetitiveness that can be found in the relief and development sector, and hopefully gives a taste of the rudiments of machine learning.

First we downloaded a list of over 9,000 aid organisations from the UN's Financial Tracking Service (FTS) database. The A-Z list goes from "A Call to Serve International" to "Zwanan Development Organization". Then we fed them into a machine learning system running open-source code in the Python language.

The aid organisation names were processed by a recurrent neural network built on the TensorFlow system. We won't (also, can't) explain how the maths works in detail. However, it functions like any machine learning process - the foundation of the current explosion in "AI" across a range of sectors - it analyses the patterns of letters and words and then attempts to generate new examples using the rules it has deduced from the original data.

(Our idea to explore the jargon and nomenclature in aidspeak owes much to Janelle Shane, who feeds machine learning algorithms with unlikely lists, such as the names of craft beers or the names of pet guinea pigs).

Here are some of our favourites, generated entirely by code.

Aid agency names produced by AI

Some sound quite plausible - if you do set one up, please let us know and send the logo.

Community Aid Association for Development

Association des Femmes de l'Environnement

Medicultural Community Foundation

Some a little pompous:

International Council of Society

Internationalist Fund for Rehabilitation

Save Foundation

Others, possibly creative and/or radical:

Sure Vision for Red Cross

Africa Relief and Empower Swedish Family

People Trust of South ye Community Humanitarian Family

Water World Sudan

AI-generated NGO:People Trust of South ye Community Humanitarian Family

Sometimes our bot seemed to get a little lost and confused:

Alliance for Development and Development

Miseration Mission for Comment of Africa

Alliance Save the Development International

Gy Alliance Conflicted Now Women International

El Organisation des Futures

And, some are just plain weird (sorry not sorry):

ACF and Development Porn

Scam for National Aid

Bin Welfare Relief and Training

Association Premirerianista

Next, we moved onto humanitarian job titles. We fed the bot more than 2,000 vacancies on the UN's ReliefWeb jobs pages. And these are some of the best new jobs titles it came up with. Perhaps some of these fit your current role? Or make you wish you could apply?

AI-generated job title:


Chief of Party (Sex)

Sneak Specialist

South Changes Manager

Chef of Finances and Grant & Manager

Regional Leader (Interant) Livelihood and Consultant

Multiple International Director

Nation demonic Manager


Safe Manager

Consultant Africa and Charging and Programme

Hand Officer

Projectories Analyst

Regional Regionalization of International Programme for Head of Party

Changing Director

Communications Coordinator and Memaliature Manager

Integration Director (Support) (H/F)

International Parent (H/F) Adviser

Street Communication Laborator

Development Coordinator - Safety Senior Charge Policy Specialist

And some that sound more like entry level roles:

Engager Programmes Intern


Project (unimation volunteer)

Reliefancer Coordinator

Editor Intern Coordinator

As always, comments and reactions are welcome below - tell us your favourites!


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