Sukuma Bible Translation and Publishing

Project Summary

Sukuma tribe is located in the north west part of Tanzania. It is the largest tribe in Tanzania with a population of over 6 (six) million. Translation of the first New Testament in Sukuma language was completed and printed in December, 1996. First translation of the Old Testament continued up to 2009 when it was completed. The final touches on the full Bible including the new translation of the New Testament, typesetting, and proof reading of the whole Bible were completed in 2013. The Bible text has been ready for printing since then but due to budget constraint the Bible society of Tanzania could not print it. The target audience has been crying for their Bible all this time without success. It is on that strength that we are writing this proposal to appeal for funding printing the completed text.

The Sukuma people are a community that is marred with witchcraft and sorcery practices, superstition, and murder. The killing of old people and people with albinism is a common practice in the area. All of this arise out of ignorance of the Word of God and reasons for occurrences they see in life like death from diseases or natural causes that are perceived as caused by witchcraft.

Traditionally the Sukuma people are fanatics of their mother tongue, and are anxiously waiting to get the Word of God in their heart language.

We believe that the Bible in Sukuma will serve as a transformation tool of faith and worship – leading to changed behaviour among this community. The change in behaviour will save the innocent persecuted specifically people with albinism and the old and vulnerable folk from the unscrupulous people who we expect to change after they encounter with Jesus through the Word of God in the language they love and understand better.

Reason for Ranking

The community need is the reason of Ranking

Other Resources Wanted

Mobilization of the Bible distribution, reading and advocacy

Project Goal

Providing the Sukuma language speakers with their first Bible in Sukuma.

– The new Bible in Sukuma language will be printed, launched and distributed among Sukuma language speakers.

Project goal’s relationship to overall bible society strategy

Our Strategic plan spells out clearly that the Bible Society will provide Tanzanians with Scriptures in languages they can understand – this project intends to fulfill that goal through printing the already published new Bible in Sukuma language. The Bible has been in queue for funding for the last five years.

Strategic Fit

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

How does your project relate to the Philadelphia Promise?

Philadelphia Promise affirms Bible translation as a core task aiming at providing access to the Bible for everyone in preferred language. The Sukuma people want the Bible in their own language. they have been waiting for many years since the New Testament was printed and launched in 1996.

About the beneficiaries

How did you arrive at your beneficiary impact number?

Due to the Joshua project and the Government of Tanzania

Beneficiary focus

The project will benefit people of all ages particularly the youth, and adults – both female and male.

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

The Sukuma people started this translation many years ago. They received the first New Testament in their language in 1996, and have since then been waiting for their first full Bible to-date.

National Context

There is freedom of worship in the country and there is high potential impact on the target community – that would lead to positive behavior change.


The project aims at providing Scriptures that are expected to positively change the community from evil to desirable behavior.

How this project will help the beneficiaries

Behavior change from idolatry, murder and persecution of innocent old women and people with albinism to desirable behaviors worthy of Christian lives.

Scripture & Prayer

Key Verse

Matthew 20:19

Prayer points

Pray for funding of this Bible printing that has been waiting for the last five years.

Pray that the Bible will bring about the required impact on the Sukuma community that will deliver them from their common practices of witchcraft and superstition.

Project Activities

Project activities

Early November, 2018 – Ordering of Bibles from printers.

Late February, 2018 – Arrival of Scriptures in the country.

March, 2018 – Launching of the Sukuma Bible

March, 2018 – November, 2018 Distribution of the Bible.

December, 2018 – Evaluation and final reporting.

Quarterly reports will be submitted periodically.

Project partners

– The Church in Sukuma land will be our main partner in distributing the Bibles.

– The Bible Society will print the Bibles and make them available for distribution

– Christian bookshops will help in distribution of the Bible.

Resourcing the Project

Non-financial Resources

Church leaders have to mobilize their congregations to buy Bibles read them for acquiring knowledge.

Financial notes

Scripture Cost:

Sukuma Bibles CL052P – 9,000 @5.00 = $45,000

Sukuma Bibles CL053P – 1,000 @5.30 = $5,300

Staff cost Contribution – 12 months @200 = $2,400

Port and Customs Charges – $5,000.

Outputs & Impacts

Outputs from the project

Distribution of 10,000 copies of Sukuma Bible.


  • Impact 1

    – Sukuma people will gain knowledge about the Word of God that would guide them to worship God instead of idolatry practices.

    – Knowledge about the Word of God will equip the Sukuma community with the love of God that would change their unscrupulous behavior of murdering innocent old women, falsely accused of committing witchcraft practices.

    – Knowledge about the Word of God would help the sukuma community to live in love and harmony, stopping the terrible practice of killing innocent people with albinism due to superstition that their body parts could make them rich.


    – Reduced cases of old women murder in the community that would be available through observation, community leaders, and the police criminal reports.

    – Increase in church attendance

    – More people coming to Christ in open gospel meetings.


    – Church leaders can provide information based on increased church attendance

    – Community leaders can provide overview of changes concerning murder of innocent people with albinism and old women suspected to be witches.

    – News media will have reduced news about murder cases from this community

    – Police reports will show decline in reported murder cases in Sukuma community

Tracking unexpected outcomes

Through observation and research while working in this area.

Supporting Information


Thorough research was done before the translation project started.


– Church leaders from Sukuma land have been persistently asking for the printout of their ever since translation was completed more than seven years ago.

– Rev. Ngwesso who was one of the translators is always doing evangelism in this community and has persistently requested that his community could be more touched with the Word of God is the full Bible were available. The New Testament that was printed many years ago is no longer in circulation because the stocks were depleted long time ago.

Leadership track record

The Bible Society of Tanzania has got good record of managing projects. It has authentic leadership that is coupled with high integrity.

We are currently running about 14 projects that are funded by UBS Fellowship


Posted on

August 9, 2021

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