Get to Know the Bible Society of Tanzania Broadly
Tanzania is among the few countries in Africa that have enjoyed political stability since independence and is host to the East African Community. Tanzania has experienced substantial growth over the last 15 years even though it is still one of the poorest countries in the world with a GDP per capita income of US$288. Tanzania is a huge country geographically and ethnically with over 120 ethnic communities and provides a truly multi-ethnic environment, with no single ethnic group which is politically dominant. Tanzania has two major religions, Christians and Muslim; and there is freedom of worship, and while there has been religions tolerance, in recent times the country has experienced a rise in Islamic fundamentalism.
Our Strategy Summary
(a) Focused efforts on ongoing translations
(b) Enhanced use of Scriptures by Children and Youth
(c) Sustained availability of Scripture for Adults
(d) Increased availability of Scriptures for Special Audiences
(e) Enhanced mission work by encouraging Scripture engagement
(f) Continued Institutional Strengthening of the Society.
An introduction to BST
The Bible Society of Tanzania (BST) is a non-profit inter confessional organisation registered as a Non-Governmental Organisation, Registration No. S05722 of 1970. The headquarters of BST is in Dodoma, the capital city of the United Republic of Tanzania and seat of both government and parliament. BST maintains warehouse facilities in Dar-es-Salaam, the commercial capital of Tanzania. In addition, BST has zonal offices in Dar-es-Salaam and Mwanza. It is a full member of the United Bible Societies (UBS), a Worldwide Fellowship of the Bible Societies. The membership of UBS has given BST official recognition by the Churches as the organisation responsible for translation, production and supply of Scripture in Tanzania. Even though there are a number of agencies involved in Bible work in Tanzania; the task of translation of the Bible into Kiswahili and other local languages has been carried largely by BST.
The translation of parts of the Bible into Kiswahili in 1868 marked the beginning of Bible work in Tanzania. A complete New Testament translation was completed in 1879 and translation of the whole Bible was completed in 1890. BST has since then undertaken several translations which include the Union translation published in 1950, the Swahili Common Language Version which was published in 1977, and Biblia Habari Njema (a modern translation) first published in 1996. Since inception BST has completed translation of 16 New Testaments and 5 whole Bibles in local languages respectively.
Our Mission & Vision Statement
Our vision is To see that every person in Tanzania has access to Scriptures.
Our mission is to make available and encourage the use of Holy scriptures to every person in a language each can understand and in an appropriate format at a price they can afford and in partnership with the Church and other stake holders.
Our Full Strategy Information
The long-term goal of the Bible Society of Tanzania is to provide scripture in local languages spoken in Tanzania, so that people can interact with scripture in languages they understand best. It is the aim of the Society to enhance translation work in specific language projects and to ensure high quality translations and production putting into consideration good timing, effectiveness and cost efficiency.
It is estimated that over 70% of the Tanzanian population are children and youth. The majority of children and youth in Tanzania have limited access to Scripture in any form. BST therefore seeks to enable the children and youth have access to Scripture in formats that will encourage meaningful engagement. In order to achieve this, the Society will produce an English/Swahili Diglot to accommodate Kiswahili speakers (Kiswahili is the language which is used most in Tanzania). The Society will also respond to unemployed, the majority of whom are youths by providing appropriate Scriptures and Selections, and also provide them with opportunity for Scripture listening through FCBH.
BST continues to be the main provider of Scriptures to adult audiences in Tanzania. The Scriptures are provided in formats suitable for personal use as well as for use in church. The population increase in Tanzania, growth of churches, and increased use of Bibles by members of the Catholic Church has led to increased demand for Bibles. The demographic changes in Tanzania have also brought with them new sets of demands that cannot be met through the traditional “black Bible”. BST therefore seeks to be market responsive by making available Bibles that respond to various needs as they emerge.
The Society will continue its efforts to provide Scripture for special audiences that include people affected and infected with HIV and AIDS; people with disability (such as visually impaired persons, deaf and dumb persons); people who cannot read; non-Christian audiences that include TAZI audience, animists and people of other religions; and other special groups such as people under pressure, commercial sex workers, alcoholics and drug addicts, prisoners and refugees; and people who are considered outcasts by their communities such as people with albinism.
The Society is cognisant of the need to maintain, strong governance and leadership, sound and effective management (including policies and systems) to support programmes and activities including translation, production and distribution of Scripture; develop and maintain skilled, competent and committed staff.