“Give a person a fish and they’ll eat for a day,” so the old saying goes. “Teach them to fish and they’ll eat for a lifetime.”
At its simplest level, this is capacity building in a nutshell . The aim is always to make yourself redundant!
It happens when local people, with local expertise and unique capacity to engage with their own communities, are involved in a program, trained, and resourced with exactly what they need. They grow in confidence and experience – so that they can carry on the work themselves.
Yurranydjil Dhurrkay is a First Nations Bible Translator completing the Bible Translation course at Nungalinya College in Darwin, which is supported by Bible Society Australia.
Taking part in the course has helped Yurranydjil develop her translating skills. It’s also given her the confidence to ‘become the teacher’ and equip future Bible translators.
“The course here is helping me build my capacity,” Yurranydjil told us. “It’s helping me build my courage.”
“It was good for me to learn those things,” she said. “Now I’m able to convey the teaching to new translators.”
When Bible Society starts or supports a capacity building project, it is always with the end goal of equipping the local churches and communities to carry on the work independently. Projects are led by locals and co-designed to ensure the project’s goals and outcomes are relevant and impactful for communities on the ground.
Capacity building looks different in every context, but usually involves:
Bible Society Vietnam has been working towards exactly this goal with their Bible-based literacy program.
Before the program began, the need for literacy amongst Christians in Vietnam was felt deeply in the church. So, in 2015, Bible Society began running literacy classes in rural areas.
At first, all the classes were run and organised by Bible Society staff. But over time – as capacity was built – local churches began to play a larger role.
With all fruitful capacity building projects, the time comes to say goodbye.
This year, Bible Society Vietnam reached a milestone to be celebrated. After 7 years – with more than 1,000 classes opened – the Vietnamese literacy program is being transferred to local churches.
“We believe it is the right time to hand over the program to the community and let the church deploy it on a larger scale,” says Lien of Bible Society Vietnam.
In this handover phase, Bible Society Vietnam is working closely with key leaders. These leaders will take over training the class instructors and managing the logistics of the program.
Now they have been trained and prepared, churches in Vietnam have the capacity to teach literacy to their own people in their own communities, enabling them to Open The Bible and share God’s love with their neighbours.
Meanwhile, in the Northern Territory, Yurranydjil will return to her community on Elcho Island. There she will inspire and train the next generation of Bible translators as they work towards Scripture in all Indigenous languages.
Bible Society Australia’s next big capacity building project is ambitious.
We have a vision of what God can do to transform some of the hardest-to-reach communities amongst our closest global neighbours.
The Oceania Alliance is a newly formed collaborative partnership between Australia and the Bible Societies in Papua New Guinea and the South Pacific.
This partnership will see the organisations working together to share resources, expertise, and encouragement. It will build capacity in our partner Bible Societies and empower local organisations to Open The Bible and make a larger impact in their communities.
And this is where you come in. By giving a donation today, you can help build a firm foundation for the Oceania Alliance, ensuring generations of people across the Pacific will Open The Bible with their friends and neighbours.
Your support will mean that more local people can do more gospel work – and bring about an ocean of change across the Pacific.
Will you consider making a tax-deductible donation to help Open The Bible with more people across our region?