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WhatsGerman is the first-ever language course for refugees on WhatsApp.

The key thing: It`s not a separate app that you first have to install and use on its own. It’s based on a digital platform that’s already used a lot by refugees to stay in touch with their families: WhatsApp.

Upon registration with the smartphone at, you’ll receive a lesson each day consisting of text, explanatory emojis and videos for pronunciation.

Three courses that build upon each other are available to choose from:

Course 1 – The Alphabet enables you to get to know the Latin alphabet.

Course 2 – Daily Life makes daily living easier with useful vocabulary and short phrases about everyday themes like shopping.

Course 3 – Basic Grammar offers an introduction to German grammar for advanced users.

These courses were developed for WhatsApp together with language teachers. They are available in English, Arabic and soon other languages.


WhatsGerman started on December, 14th 2015 and is continuously updated.

WhatsGerman is not a separate app you have to install. It’s based on WhatsApp. Upon registration on, participants receive a lesson each day via WhatsApp consisting of text, emojis and videos.

The messages are sent with an external broadcasting service. The company offers a backend with which the project is controlled and statistics are evaluated.

It’s promoted with the help of print flyers and posters in refugee homes, social media and reporting/PR.

From NGOs like Caritas to magazines (Page, Vice), and leading national newspapers like BILD and radio stations as well. The medial success of WhatsGerman is based only on earned media.

Since early March Facebook is official partner of WhatsGerman providing a non-profit ad-campaign. WhatsGerman is also part of “Wir zusammen”, the refugee initiative of the German economy. It was featured in magazines and via TV ads.


The first Facebook post about WhatsGerman was shared 1.400 times in two days and more than 80,000 people registered in the first six weeks. That’s 17% of Arab-speaking refugees – and every day there are a thousand more. Currently there are 131.000 refugee participants.

From NGOs like Caritas, to magazines (Page, Vice), and leading newspapers like BILD and radio stations e.g. Radio Bremen: The medial success of WhatsGerman is based on earned media.

Thanks to the media coverage and the success of the initiative, Facebook and the economy`s refugee initiative “Wir zusammen” took notice of WhatsGerman and became partners. Facebook provided a non-profit ad-campaign, and “Wir zusammen” an increased media reach with ads in online- and print-magazines and via TV.

But the biggest confirmation is the huge positive feedback from dozens of refugees using the course – often already written in German.

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