Kiswahili is a Strategic Resource in EAC Integration and Development

The East African Kiswahili Commission (EAKC) has been commended for actively contributing towards the East African Community (EAC) efforts of regional integration and sustainable development. Addressing an EAKC Expert Strategic Plan (2017-2022) Translation Quality Control Workshop held at the EAC Secretariat in Arusha on 12th-14th July, 2017, EAC Deputy Secretary General responsible for Political Federation, Mr. Charles Njoroge, underscored the importance of Kiswahili as a strategic communication tool necessary for deepening regional integration and sustainable development. Mr. Njoroge noted that as a common language of wider communication, Kiswahili is crucial for empowerment and necessary for active participation of citizens in EAC affairs. He further observed that EAC Partner States are doing a lot in the development and use of Kiswahili and urged the Commission to work closely with all stakeholders to complement those efforts.

Mr. Njoroge lauded the EAKC for developing its first Strategic Plan and translating it into Kiswahili. He reminded the Workshop that strategic planning has high impact on overall institutional success and the development of an EACK Strategic Plan for the next five years is an important step in executing its mandate. He urged the Commission to translate its long-term strategic goals into initiatives that will benefit the citizens of East Africa and ensure that the two versions of the EAKC Strategic Plan are widely circulated to all stakeholders in the Community and beyond.

The Workshop was attended by representative translation experts from institutions that use Kiswahili who engaged in the exercise of ensuring that the translated EAKC Strategic Plan is done in a manner that is both easily understandable and accurate for the varied Kiswahili users in the EAC. The translation experts’ responsibility is to ensure that meaning conveyed and communicated is not lost from what was intended by stakeholders and approved by the Council of Ministers. Therefore controlling the quality of the translated Strategic Plan is crucial in ensuring its message is effectively passed onto stakeholders, especially those at the grassroots whose language of communication is Kiswahili.

In his remarks, the Executive Secretary, Prof. Kenneth Simala, informed the Workshop that the Commission developed its Strategic Plan through an inclusive and consultative approach that gave careful thought to activities and responsibilities of Kiswahili stakeholders and how they fit into the larger picture of EAC regional integration and sustainable development agenda. The translation of the Strategic Plan from English into Kiswahili is part of the transition from planning to implementation and is as important to the Commission as the planned outcomes. The Executive Secretary reiterated the Commission’s determination to ensure proper and timely implementation of directives adopted by the Council of Ministers regarding the harmonization and coordination of the development and use of Kiswahili in EAC Partner States. Acknowledging support extended to the Commission by Partner States and stakeholders, the Executive Secretary promised to continue providing relevant policy advice and necessary strategic recommendations for the development and use of Kiswahili in the Community.

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East African Kiswahili Commission
Maisara Street
P.O. Box 600
Zanzibar, Tanzania
Tel: +255 024 2232704/
+255 024  2232722