Author: Grace Smith, 12 May 2015 (Last updated: 14 May 2015)


Project Summary

A violent earthquake measuring 5.7 on the Richter scale struck in Kagera region, in the far northwest of Tanzania, on Saturday 10 September 2016. Reports vary on the precise extent of damage caused, but at least 19 deaths were reported as a result, over 500 people were injured, and over 2,000 buildings were destroyed and thousands more damages were widespread to homes and buildings in Kagera and in different areas. Damage and deaths were also reported in neighboring Uganda, though the effect of the quake there were smaller. (Tanzania affairs, Kagera earthquake, January 1, 2017)
The Kagera regional commissioner, described the quake as a major disaster….“we have never seen anything like this before…..this is the first time in history that an earthquake has caused so much damage and loss of life in Tanzania, he said.”
While thousands of people who were left homeless were sheltered in schools, the government quickly established a response fund and encouraged public donations, this include appeal for contributions both from within and outside the country. There was criticism later in parliament that some aspects of the government’s response had been slow. There were criticism too of the country’s preparedness for such disasters. Tanzania Bible Society is seeking to respond by assisting humanitarian relief efforts by using their church networks, providing replacement Scriptures for Bibles and New Testaments that were lost or damaged, and providing Scripture portions for spiritual solace of those affected through integrated intervention programs of the Good Samaritan and Trauma Healing. This project will be supporting those who were affected and are suffering in this difficult time of loss and destruction, through scripture distribution, relief aid, and assistance with church recovery and rebuilding.

Reason for Ranking

The emerging relief may be considered emergency as survivors of the earthquake in Kagera has been struggling for almost a year when time frame for submission of new projects into UBS Solomon project registry was overdue

Project Goal

To complement efforts of the government by bridging the gap in disaster response through churches

Project goal’s relationship to overall bible society strategy

Tanzania Bible Society Strategy Statement (d) stresses continued efforts to provide Scripture for special audiences including other special groups such as people under pressure. The earthquake survivors are considered people under pressure whose needs when not met hinder their engagement with the word of God.

Strategic Fit

Connecting your project to your Bible Society’s overall mission strategy

How does your project relate to the Philadelphia Promise?

The Philadelphia Promise #4: clearly define Christians Under Pressure (CUP) as those who live under persecution, oppression or limited freedom. Survivors of an earthquake destruction live under limited freedom of their normal livelihood. As the Promise recognizes that the global Church today is faced with multiple challenges such as religious intolerance, totalitarian rule, war, racial conflict and secularism, Tanzanian Parliament for instance, as quoted from, passed the Disaster Management Act (DMA) on March 26, 2015 even though concerns have been raised about the poor disaster management despite having the law in place.  As a result, some Christians in Kagera have been put under a certain kind of socio-economic, emotional and spiritual unrest. It has been clearly stipulated that the government has no religion therefore relief response support that was channeled through the government are not expected to come church-wise but through social institutions of the public instead.

About the beneficiaries

How did you arrive at your beneficiary impact number?

As the primary focus for Scripture engagement, the beneficiary number was calculated from those who will receive support of Bibles and portions in the project lifetime though the number might increase.

Beneficiary focus

People and churches affected by the earthquake and the forthcoming monsoon rainfall 

How have the needs and perspective of the beneficiaries helped shape the design of the project?

Since the evacuation of the earthquake on September 10th, 2016 number of studies has taken place. The reports out of studies varied especially about the actual number of destructed properties and deaths.

The Disaster Management Unit of Tanzania (TDMU) shown weakness in mobilizing resources for survivors of the quake. As a result, however, number of disaster management institutions were proposed including Disaster Management Agency of Tanzania (TDMA), Disaster Management Council of Tanzania (TDMC), the National Disaster Management Fund (NDMF) and National Disaster Management Platform (NDMP). According to such institutions have not been formed.  Analysts say had such institutions been in place the management of the recent earthquake would have been simplified.

The stagnating relief responses and the information from various studies has helped shape this project.

Even though, there is a room for reshaping the project according to the arising needs and perspectives from funding partners and resourcing BSs who we encourage to gain interest in supporting this project.

For instance, the effects of the monsoon rainfall that followed after the quake has caused great destruction in the livelihoods of the quake survivors.

National Context

About a year has passed since the large earthquake hit Kagera, the far northwest of Tanzania but number of recurrent earthquakes have occurred including that of Geita and Masumbwe. The recurring earthquakes are expected to continue adding more trauma and aftershock to the affected community. The number of churches in devastated three denominations, the Protestants, Catholics and Pentecostals churches is about 300 in eight prefectures where at least 1/3 seem to have some damages to their buildings.
Kagera region was the first region in Tanzania to be affected by HIV and AIDS. The HIV and AIDS situation in the region worsened due to influx of refugees from Rwanda and Burundi to Ngara district in 1995. In 2003 national HIV and AIDS survey, Ngara district was estimated to have HIV prevalence rate of 20% (TACAIDS, 2003). According to the Ngara district commissioner, something unusual is happening in Ngara District, Kagera Region. Within a period of three months, over 30 people are reported to have committed suicide for unknown reasons. An emerging trend is seen in which retired employees from the public and private sector commit suicide because of the current economic hardships,” he added. The suicide rate, noted the government report, was also going up because of the incurable HIV/AIDS scourge in which people infected with the disease decide to take their lives. Out of a total population of over 53 million (World Bank, 2015), a total of 1.4 million Tanzanians were estimated to be living with HIV in 2015.


The survivors need all the support they can get in many different forms: They are in need of practical help, shelter, sanitation, supplies, spiritual, mental, emotional help and comfort.

How this project will help the beneficiaries

1) To distribute replacement scriptures for the lost and damaged Bibles in order to equip the church to meet scripture needs along with training on Trauma healing and Good Samaritan.

2) Strengthening relationships with local Church leaders and local government authorities by involving them during relief work and awareness programs

3) To empower the affected and homeless families by providing practical help such as construction materials for shelters to provide protection and safety.

4) Responding to the immediate and growing needs for church and household, the project intends to provide part of roofing (30 sheets) or related construction materials whereby the community and the church are expected to contribute for the rest of materials and manpower.

5) As a strategy for food security and other domestic needs, the project intends to provide 1500 breeding goats and harmonize zero-grazing whereby offspring shall be divided among poor households for diet or sell to earn cash to cover the burning needs.

6) The Society will play a facilitation role in channeling relief aid to Churches using the Bible Society partners’ church networks.

Scripture & Prayer

Key Verse

Luke 10:25-37 And He said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.

Prayer points

  • Thank God for letting all the quakes take place during Saturday and the daylight saving lives of many students, laborers and employees,
  • Thank God for providing Kagera with help from those who managed to provide help to the quake victims which only within the country was not efficient and possible. May he bless all the countries and their teams for their noteworthy contributions
  • Please do pray for the protection and proper care of children who have become orphans, those living with disability (PWD) and for the young girls in the affected districts that they may not be trafficked and abused
  • Please thank God for provision of temporary shelters to the quakes victims that protected them from Monsoon rain
  • Please do pray for the continuous supply of Scriptures to meet the needs of Churches
  • Please do pray for the safety of staff and volunteers involved in relief works.

Project Activities

Project activities

  • To train  on healing wounds of trauma by consulting Trauma healing institute and the UBS HIV service Good Samaritan integrated program (in the 2nd phase, 2020)
  • The Society will create awareness about disaster preparedness and sustainability through whatever is receive as a relief response. (in the 1st phase January to June 2019)
  • Re-print and provide Churches with Scriptures, which includes portions for children (in the 1st & 2nd phases, 2019 to 2020)
  • Strengthen relationships with local leaders and local government authorities by involving/networking them in Society’s relief works in selected areas (in the 1st phase, 2019 & 2020)
  • Help about 300 households (total costs about $ 310 per five people household size) in selected districts by providing roofing and other local materials for constructing shelters. We’ll continue to do this as we get funds for this specific purpose. If generous help is sought, the Society will connect local churches to rebuild shelters at their own land. (in the 2nd phase, July to December 2019)
  • The relief project reports/updates shall be produced and submitted at quarterly bases, to contributing or funding partners. Updates will be availed any time, as we keep in touch with those providing help and support. In all phases 2019,2020)

Project partners

Churches, church related organizations, the local government and government based organisations

Resourcing the Project

Non-financial Resources

Humanitarian aid: 44%

  • 9000 sheets or relevant construction materials
  • 1500 breeding goats for grazing

Scripture response: 45%

  • 1,000 replacement Bibles
  • 1,000 children Bibles
  • 5,000 portions of Good Samaritan
  • 5,000 portions of Trauma Healing
  • 1000 audio and visual films

Administrative Expense: 10%

  • Office costs: Telephone, hygiene, electricity
  • Monitoring, travel, accommodation

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