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.

Assembly wants Kiswahili adopted as one of the official languages of the Community

East African Legislative Assembly; Arusha, Tanzania; 26 August 2016:

EALA is to push for recognition of Kiswahili as one of the official languages of the Community. Late yesterday, EALA passed a Resolution to urge the Summit of EAC to amend the Treaty for the establishment of the Community to provide for Kiswahili as one of the official Languages of the Community.

At the same time, the Council of Ministers should allocate adequate resources to EAC Kiswahili Commission to effectively carry out its mandate.The Resolution moved by Hon Abubakar Zein wants the Partner States to promote and allow the use of Kiswahili in official domains.

The Resolution which received wide acclaim, was seconded by Hon Shyrose Bhanji and Hon Abdullah Mwinyi. The Resolution appreciates that language is one of the most important aspects of human life by being a vessel of human philosophy, values, attitudes, identity and meaning of life. The Resolution states that Kiswahili is the fastest spreading African globe across the globe and that the African Union has made Kiswahili one of its official languages. Analysts contend that making Kiswahili one of the official languages of the Community is one way to deepen and widen the integration process.

According to Hon Zein, embracing the Kiswahili language is also bound to increase the participation of the people of East Africa in the Affairs of the Community as well as promote African culture. Kiswahili is flexible and has its root in the bantu language which constitute more than 50 per cent of African population. The regional legislators commended the Resolution saying its passage would enable the immediate negation of the perception that the Assembly is for the elitist population and instead embrace the principle of a people-centred Community. Several legislators supported the Resolution terming it as timely.

Hon Kessy Nderakindo said the use of Kiswahili would boost education and give confidence to the students. Hon Martin Ngoga said that Kiswahili brought people together since it was widely spoken. “I really should have contributed to this debate in Kiswahili,” the legislator said to the amusement of the Assembly Members. On his part, Hon Joseph Kiangoi said it was time for East Africans to be proud of their culture. “Let us embrace Kiswahili, it is part of our culture”, he said. Hon Abdullah Mwinyi noted that Kiswahili was key as a common language. He said the United Republic of Tanzania which embraced diversity in culture embraced Kiswahili as a uniting factor. Hon Adam Kimbisa said Kiswahili was indeed the “lingua franca” of the Community while Hon Mike Sebalu said the Assembly also should embrace Kiswahili for its richness.

Hon Shyrose Bhanji, who seconded the Motion said the language would unite the region and help to create an east African spirit. Hon Dora Byamukama hailed the move as positive for the region. “The Assembly also needs to be practical to acknowledge that there are some Partner States such as Uganda have a large population that does not speak Kiswahili and in the Treaty there is a provision for development as a lingua franca”, she said. “There is need to do more to develop Kiswahili in the country,” she said.

On her part, Hon Dr Odette Nyiramilimo called for the establishment of a Kiswahili Learning Centre to enable staff, Members an all stakeholders involved in the integration process to fully comprehend the language.

Kiswahili is a Bantu language and the first language of the Swahili people. It is a lingua franca of the East African Community and the Great Lakes region. According to the wikipedia, the closely related Comorian language, (Shikomor), also spoken in Mayote Island (Shimaore) is closely related to Kiswahili.

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For more information, please contact:
Mr Bobi Odiko
Senior Public Relations Officer
East African Legislative Assembly
Arusha, Tanzania
Tel: +255-27-2508240
Fax: +255-27-2503103
Cell: +255-787-870945, +254-733-718036
Email: BOdiko [at] eachq.org
Web: www.eala.org

About the East African Legislative Assembly:

The East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) is the Legislative Organ of the Community and has a cardinal function to further EAC objectives, through its Legislative, Representative and Oversight mandate. It was established under Article 9 of the Treaty for the Establishment of the East African Community.

East African Kiswahili Commission Discusses Strategy Implementation Plan

East African Kiswahili Commission; Zanzibar, Tanzania; 20 March 2017: From the 15th-17th March 2017, the East African Kiswahili Commission (EAKC) convened a three-day strategy implementation forum at the Imperial Botanical Beach Hotel, in Entebbe, Uganda. The meeting brought together stakeholders from EAC Partner States, Kiswahili Associations and the Media to build a common understanding and shared ownership and to facilitate a consensus on the implementation approach to the Commission’s Strategic Plan (2017-2022). The forum articulated a sequence of investments and activities needed to achieve the mandate of coordinating and promoting the development and use of Kiswahili in regional integration and sustainable development of the East African Community.

EAC Partner States directed to formulate National Kiswahili Language Policies

East African Community Secretariat; Arusha, Tanzania; 07 April 2017: The 35th Meeting of the East African Community Council of Ministers took place from 30th March to 4th April 2017 at the EAC Headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania. Among other highlights was the key resolution of the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) on promoting the use of Kiswahili and adopting it as one of the official languages of the Community. The Council considered amendment of Article 137 of the EAC Treaty to include Kiswahili as one of the Official Languages of the Community and directed Partner States to formulate National Kiswahili Language Policies and enhance the use of Kiswahili in official domains as well as initiate the process of institutionalization of Kiswahili as one of the EAC Official Languages through the establishment of National Kiswahili Councils and National Kiswahili Associations. In August 2016, EALA passed a Resolution to urge the Summit of EAC to amend the Treaty for the establishment of the East African Community to provide for Kiswahili as one of the official Languages of the Community.In January 2017, the resolution sailed through at the 4th Meeting-5th Session of the 3rd Assembly held in Kampala, Uganda during which, the lawmakers underscored the need to elevate Kiswahili as one of the official languages of EAC from its current status of lingua franca. Article 119 of the EAC Treaty, provides for the development and promotion of indigenous languages especially Kiswahili as a lingua franca of the region. Kiswahili is not only recognized as a unifying language spoken by East Africans but it is rich in dialect and expression. This therefore means that Kiswahili will soon be adopted as an official language within the Community as soon as the EAC Summit of Heads of State amend the treaty to accommodate the new resolution. After amendment, Partner States are expected to facilitate adoption of the language at the national level. Adopting Kiswahili as the second official language within the region will therefore mean a step towards uniting the people of the region. It will also deepen and widen integration within the region. Embracing the language at the regional level will increase the participation of the people of East Africa in the affairs of the community. – ENDS – For more information, please contact: Mr Owora Richard Othieno Head, Corporate Communications and Public Affairs Department EAC Secretariat Arusha, Tanzania Tel: +255 784 835021 Email: OOthieno [at] eachq.org About the East African Community Secretariat: The East African Community (EAC) is a regional intergovernmental organisation of five Partner States, comprising Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda, with its headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania.  

Assembly passes report on Sensitization, calls for promotion of Kiswahili in the region

East African Legislative Assembly; Arusha, Tanzania; 25 August 2016:EALA late yesterday passed a key report of its outreach and sensitisation activities and with it, called for more awareness among the people on the benefits of EAC integration.

The Assembly further wants the specific interest groups including youth, women, civil and co-operative societies to be fully involved in the integration process and the pillars of integration including the Political Federation, fast tracked.

American Teachers on a working visit to the East African Kiswahili Commission in Zanzibar

East African Kiswahili Commission; Zanzibar, Tanzania; 14 July 2016:A group of seventeen teachers from across the United States of America visited the East African Kiswahili Commission (EAKC) in Zanzibar on Friday, 8th July, 2016. Under the ‘Summer Oman-Zanzibar Curriculum Development Program’ funded by Fulbright-Hays and the Sultan Qaboos Cultural Center, the teachers of different subjects in US primary and secondary schools and universities were at the Commission to get first hand facts about its work. The program provides grants to support overseas projects in training, research, and curriculum development in modern foreign languages and area studies for teachers, students, and faculty engaged in a common endeavor. In search of Facts on Kiswahili Led by Prof. Lisa Adeli, the Director of Educational Outreach for the University of Arizona’s Center for Middle Eastern, and Prof. Scott Reese, a historian of Islamic Africa at Northern Arizona University, the teachers were on a one-week academic tour of Zanzibar after visiting Oman. Their Zanzibar visit was part of a series of short-term seminars, curriculum development, group research, and advanced intensive Kiswahili language programs. The purpose of the visit was for the teachers to be provided with accurate information on Kiswahili, professional development opportunities, and materials that educators can use in their classrooms. Upon return to the US, the teachers are expected to design and develop integrated international studies curriculum into their institution’s or school system’s general curriculum. The project shall strengthen the capability and performance of American education in Kiswahili language and in area and international studies. Need for Innovative Reforms and Collaborations Addressing the teachers, the Executive Secretary of the East African Kiswahili Commission, Prof. Kenneth Simala, said that the East African Kiswahili Commission has a broad mandate of coordinating and promoting the development and use of Kiswahili in East African Partner States and beyond. Focusing specifically on Kiswahili Teacher Education, Prof. Simala explained that the Commission is working with stakeholders in addressing the urgent need for Kiswahili Curriculum Reform, Change and Innovation at all levels of education in the region. Prof. Simala lauded the teachers for their choice of Kiswahili as their preferred modern language of training, research, and curriculum development. Saying that Kiswahili is the most popular African language of study in the US, the Executive Secretary called for collaboration and partnerships in areas of staff and student exchange programmes, research, publication and dissemination. Singling out the Fulbright-Hays and the Sultan Qaboos Cultural Center sponsorship of the study tour, Prof. Simala implored the organisers and sponsors to consider `working with the East African Kiswahili Commission in educating a new generation of culturally sensitive and knowledgeable citizens of the United States, Oman and East Africa about the breadth and richness of their cultures. He informed the teachers that the history of Kiswahili is closely interwoven with that of the Middle East, especially Oman.
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For more information, please contact: Executive Secretary East African Kiswahili Commission Tel: +255 242 232 704 email: isimala [at] eachq.org   About the East African Kiswahili Commission: The East African Kiswahili Commission (EACK) is an institution of the East African Community based in Zanzibar, The United Republic of Tanzania. The Commission started its operations in May, 2015 and has developed the Annual Operations Plan for 2016-2017.  The Commission’s vision is to be the leading body in the promotion and coordination of the development and usage of Kiswahili for regional integration and sustainable development.  

East Africa Kiswahili Commission holds strategic meetings in Nairobi

East African Kiswahili Commission; Nairobi, Kenya; 28 June 2016:The Principal Secretary (PS), State Department of East African Community Integration, Ministry of EAC, Labour and Social Protection of the Republic of Kenya Ms. Betty Maina has lauded Kiswahili stakeholders in East Africa for championing the development and use of the language in regional integration. Addressing participants at the official opening of a two-day Validation Workshop for the Strategic Plan of the East African Kiswahili Commission (EAKC) on Thursday, 23rd June 2016 at the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development (KICD) in Nairobi, Ms. Maina commended delegates drawn from all the EAC Partner States for using Kiswahili to sensitize the citizenry on the integration process and progress. Noting that Kiswahili is an integral part of the integration project and sustainable development for the region, the PS called for concerted efforts to support the Commission. The PS called on the stakeholders to distil specific actionable areas that would have visible and tangible results that will be applicable and presentable to the public and other stakeholders. She challenged the stakeholders to brainstorm on possible sources of alternative funding to facilitate and enhance staff expansion and infrastructural development. She reminded the Commission that while considering request for supplementary budget, it should go beyond traditional funding and think about alternative resource mobilization. The Executive Secretary of the East African Kiswahili Commission, Prof Kenneth Simala assured participants of the Commission’s commitment to executing its mandate of coordinating and promoting the development and use of Kiswahili in East Africa and the diaspora, where Kiswahili is the fastest spreading African language. The Validation Workshop was closed on Friday 24th June, 2016 by Mr. Joe Okudo, Principal Secretary, State Department of Arts and Culture; Ministry of Sports, Culture and the Arts who noted that Kiswahili is quickly becoming a Pan-African language of identity. He urged stakeholders to take the lead in promoting the development and use of Kiswahili. The Validation Workshop was the third in a week-long series of meetings organized by the EAKC to discuss effective operationalization and implementation of its mandate. The workshops were attended by over 143 delegates from across the Community.   University Kiswahili Staff and Student Exchange Programme The first workshop on Monday, 20th June, 2016 was on the theme ‘University Kiswahili Staff and Student Exchange in the EAC and Beyond’ and was attended by Chairpersons of Departments of Kiswahili and Graduate Students from both public and private universities. Specific objectives of the Workshop were: To initiate linkages for students and staff exchange Programmes among East African Universities and beyond. A second objective was to establish stakeholders associations at national and regional levels as drivers of the first goal.   On Curriculum Reform, Change and Innovation On 21st – 22nd June, 2016, EAKC in partnership with DAAD Regional Office in Nairobi held a workshop on ‘Curriculum Reform, Change and Innovation at Universities in East Africa’. Facilitated by distinguished scholars from across the region, the workshop also had presentations made by teachers of Kiswahili, media practitioners, government officials and DAAD alumni from EAC Partner States. Sharing experiences and learning from best practices, stakeholders at the workshop observed that the fast pace of globalization and regionalization has resulted in internalization of education and the need for staff and student mobility in East Africa and beyond. Among the key milestones of the workshop are: a Report; Mentorship Programme of DAAD Alumni for Kiswahili Scholars and Students; Roadmap on East African University Kiswahili Staff and Student Exchange Programme; National Associations of University Departments of Kiswahili; Association of East African Kiswahili media Practitioners.   Milestones and deliverables At the end of the Workshop, the following milestones were achieved:
  1. Draft Policy on University Kiswahili Staff-Student Exchange Programme in East Africa and beyond;
  2. Linkages initiated between staff and students of Kiswahili in East African Universities;
  3. National Associations of Chairpersons of Departments of Kiswahili in East African Universities;
  4. East African Association of Chairpersons of Departments of Kiswahili at Universities;
  5. National Associations of Kiswahili Media Operators in East Africa;
  6. East African Association of Kiswahili Media Operators;
  7. Workshop Report on ‘Curriculum Reform, Change and Innovation at Universities in East Africa’.
  8. Workshop Proceedings from Facilitators (to be edited into a ten-chapter book)
  9. Validated EAKC Strategic Plan (2016/7 -2020/1);
  10. Report of the Validation Workshop.
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For more information, please contact: Executive Secretary East African Kiswahili Commission; Tel: +255 242 232 704; email: isimala [at] eachq.org;   About the East African Kiswahili Commission: The East African Community (EAC) is a regional intergovernmental organisation of five Partner States, comprising Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda, with its headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania.

East African Kiswahili Commission
Maisara Street
P.O. Box 600
Zanzibar, Tanzania
Tel: +255 024 2232704/
+255 024  2232722
katibumtendaji@kiswacom.org
katibu.tume@kiswacom.org