OUR STRATEGIC FOCUS
After decades of successful operations, growth, and outreach, BST is embarking on a new five-year strategic plan for 2023-2027.
In this strategic plan, BST envisions ambitious plans to fulfill its mandate to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ by translating, printing, distributing, and encouraging people to use Scriptures in their day-to-day lives.
In addition to this vision, BST aims to expand its reach and make a positive impact on vulnerable and needy individuals by developing and executing innovative programs and projects.
These initiatives will incorporate Biblical messages at their core but will go beyond just distributing Scriptures to make a difference in people’s lives.
THE PHOTO OF BOARD MEMBERS OF THE BIBLE SOCIETY OF TANZANIA
To be a self-sustaining Bible Society able to support its core mission and support other Bible Societies through United Bible Societies’ International Support Programme, to adhere to the Philadelphia Promise.
The following strategic priorities inform the programmes and activities of BST over the next five years (2023 to 2027).
- Focused Efforts on On-going Translations
- Enhanced Use of Scripture by Children and Youth
- Sustained Availability of Scripture for Adults
- Increased Availability of Scripture and promotion of engagement for Special Audiences
- Enhanced Mission Work by Encouraging Scripture Engagement
- Continued Institutional Strengthening of the Society
During the year Society’s activities were:
- Translate the Holy Scripture into various local languages of Tanzania. Currently, thirteen (13) complete local languages Bibles have been translated and Forty one (41) others have New Testament Bibles.
- We publish scriptures in various formats including print, Audio, Visual, and Braille in order to meet the need of all kinds of people.
- Distribute the Holy Scriptures effectively and meaningful to Christian and Christian churches in Tanzania
- Literacy Training helps around 500 people across Tanzania every year to learn basic reading and writing skills as you won’t be able to read the Bible if you can’t read.
Focused Efforts on On-going Translations
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.
Tanzania’s population is made up of about 135 tribes of whom only 20 tribes have Scripture translation in their local languages. While BST recognises the great challenge that this puts on it, the aim will be to handle translation in an effective manner given the limitations that exist particularly on having adequate number of skilled and competent translators despite the huge financial outlay required for translation. The Society will therefore focus its efforts on the on-going translation projects which includes translation of Old Testament Bibles for the languages where New Testaments have been completed.
The Bible Society will pursue the following objectives during this period:
- Complete the translation of some of the on-going projects.
- Publish and launch the five completed projects
- Hire and train a Translations Consultant
Enhanced Use of Scripture by Children and Youth
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 continue to 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 will build on the on-going initiatives as it embarks on aggressive promotion through Churches, seeks to engage more with parents, and seeks to engage more with the education system. BST will work in close collaboration with Churches to encourage parents to provide Scripture for their children. The Society will also continue working with the Council of Churches in Tanzania (CCT), the Tanzania Episcopal Conference (TEC), the Pentecostal Churches of Tanzania (PCT), the Seventh Day Adventists, and other Churches (Evangelical, Pentecostal and Independent) to encourage the use of Scripture by children and youth.
The objectives that BST will pursue to enhance use of Scriptures by children and youth are:
- Make Scripture available to children and youth in formats and designs that are attractive and encourage engagement.
- Promote the use of English Bibles in secondary schools and tertiary colleges in Tanzania.
- Advocate for introduction of Religious Education in Primary Schools.
Sustained Availability of Scripture for Adults
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. This has driven and continues to drive the provision of Bibles in different versions, formats, and designs. BST will continue to respond to the market demands by ensuring that it provides the right products, in the right place, at the right price, and at the right time. This will require the Society to publish scriptures for specific target groups. This will also require BST to develop marketing strategies with appropriate market segmentation and effective pricing policy.
The objectives that BST will pursue to ensure sustained availability of Scripture for adults are:
- Increase the literate audience of Scripture in local and national languages by developing literacy programmes in areas with vernacular translations.
- Ensure availability and effective distribution of Scriptures in formats that respond to the different identified adult target groups.
Increased Availability of Scripture and promotion of engagement for Special Audiences
The Society will continue its efforts to provide Scripture and facilitate interaction with the Bible for special audiences that include people affected and infected with HIV/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, alcoholics and drug addicts, prisoners and refugees; and people who are considered to be outcasts by their communities such as old women with red eyes in the Sukuma community.
The Society will continue addressing the HIV/AIDS pandemic through the Good Samaritan Programme and thereby contribute towards mitigation of the HIV/AIDS pandemic in Tanzania. Through this programme the Society will provide HIV/AIDS materials that give basic information about the scourge and address issues of stigmatisation, voluntary counselling and testing and behavioural change.The Society will continue producing Radio and TV programmes with appropriate HIV/AIDS information and messages.
BST will respond to people with disabilities by providing Scripture in formats that respond to their needs which include text formats, audio and video cassettes.
BST will continue to respond to people who cannot read through Radio Bible, and scripture listening programmes (FCBH). This will be done mainly through Faith Comes by Hearing (FCBH) programme.
The non-Christian audiences will be addressed through Scriptures and literature appropriate to each identified group. These will include New Testament portions, New Reader portions, New Testament in poem format by Nyerere; the Bible, Old Testament, and New Testament in Arabic; Talking Bible. The Scripture will be provided in formats, styles and media that appeal to the respective audiences.
People under pressure includes refugees, rape victims, alcoholics and drug addicts, prisoners, the unemployed, street children and the destitute, people considered outcasts by society (such as people with red eyes). The Society will make relevant Scripture available to them in appropriate formats.
The Society will respond to the scripture needs for special groups by pursuing the following objectives:
- Continued outreach to people infected and affected by HIV/AIDS through the Good Samaritan Programme.
- Develop and make available appropriate Scripture for people with disabilities
- Develop and make available appropriate Scriptures for TAZI audiences.
- Develop and make available appropriate Scripture for people under pressure.
Enhanced Mission Work by Encouraging Scripture Engagement
The Society will build on the strategic advantage of the location of its secretariat in Dodoma, the political capital of Tanzania, and a fast growing and centrally located city, to support its mission by encouraging Scripture engagement by the population that can read including students, lecturers and researchers. Currently there are no bookshops in Dodoma that provide a wide range of Christian literature. In addition, there is need to encourage greater interest in Scripture by the growing population of students and other academics in Dodoma by providing facilities for reference and research purposes. BST will respond to this by establishing a bookshop and library in Dodoma. The establishment of a bookshop and a library will also enhance the public image of BST in many learning institutions in Dodoma city and Region, from other parts of Tanzania and elsewhere that will use the facilities.
The Society will respond to enhance mission work of BST by encouraging Scripture engagement by pursuing the following objectives:
- Establish a well-stocked bookshop to be located in Dodoma by 2022.
- Establish a well-resourced library to be located in Dodoma by 2022.
4.3.6 Continued Institutional Strengthening of the Society
The BST landscape has evolved significantly over the years, driven by internal growth and development as well as changes taking place both in Tanzania and globally. 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 an appropriate delivery infrastructure; maintain skilled, competent and committed staff; and maintain a sound and sustainable financial resource base to sustain its core mission in Tanzania as well as extend its support to the wider fellowship of Bible Societies (this will involve concerted fundraising efforts both locally and externally as well as exploring commercial income streams). The Society will also build and nurture relationships with members and key stakeholders.
BST will respond to the needs for continued institutional strengthening by pursuing the following objectives:
- Continue to build the capacity of the leadership (Board, committees and senior management and general staff) to carry out the mission of the Bible Society.
- Undertake periodic review of policies, regulations and systems to ensure relevance and effective support of operations and service delivery
- Promote and nurture ownership of the Bible Society by Churches, para-Church organisations and individuals in Tanzania by maintaining productive relationships.
- Establish distribution outlets in strategic locations in Tanzania.
- Enhance communication with key audiences including staff, members, Churches and partner organisations.
- Enhance the financial resource base through local fundraising initiatives involving members, Churches, individuals and other Tanzania based organisations/agencies.
- Initiate investments that enhance long-term financial sustainability of BST.
- Continuous assessment and upgrade of BST infrastructure including premises, equipment, meeting facilities, and other facilities.
- Promote membership through different forums
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