THE Bible Society of Tanzania (BST) has expressed its commitment to reducing illiteracy as it has embarked on a training project whereas 317 adults graduated at the weekend.
Through the project, which involves 20 villages, many people are now able to read and write after completing a literacy programme.
Speaking after handing over certificates to graduates, BST Coordinator Frank Makala said fresh graduates were beneficiaries of phase II of the programme funded by Finland Bible Society and an American Christian non-profit organisation, SIL International.
"The programme targets adults who are not able to read and write to eradicate illiteracy using techniques that impart knowledge to trainees," said Mr Makalla.
Mr Makala noted that at least 97 out of 120 adults completed the programme in the first phase in 2017 and that the programme was using Kikaguru and Kiswahili as mediums of instruction.
He pointed out the reason for some programme beneficiaries to fail to complete their studies as most of the beneficiaries were pastoralists who had a tendency of shifting from one area to another in search for pastureland.
Mr Makalla said the programme gave a second chance to those who had dropped out of the first phase programme to continue with studies, saying the programme would restart on May 15 after teachers completed the capacity building programme.
He urged maximum cooperation from other education stakeholders and the government to support the programme to enable those who did not go to school to get the opportunity.
"The government recognises them and has introduced the programme to beneficiaries aged 15 years to formal education because our programme only teaches them to read and write," said Mr Makala.
Dr Jackson Nyanda, BST Board Vice-Chairman urged the fresh graduates to make use of the education they had acquired to improve their livelihoods.
"Reading should not only end up in the Bible only, but it should continue in different educative entrepreneurship journals," he noted.
BST Project Manager, Emmanuel Mshana said his society translated the Bible into local languages to enable those who did not understand Kiswahili to understand the Word of God.
Ms Loy Mhambo, one of the programme beneficiaries, expressed gratitude to project sponsors, noting that the programme had opened her eyes in a number of issues.
"I could not take part in various social issues because I didn't know how to read and write. But now I am able to take part in various activities," she said.
Mr Geradino Makau, another programme beneficiary, said he struggled to take part in an election because he did not know how to read and write, noting that was helped to vote by literate persons.
"I used to go to polling stations with a literate person to help me while voting. My vote was not secret," he said.