i-DELTA—the Institute for the Development of Languages and Translation in Africa, is accomplishing something new and unique as it equips students from multiple contexts and countries in a central location. There is still need for more localized training, but i-DELTA's professionalism, modular approach and inclusion of African faculty are broadly supported by the SIL Entities in Africa. There is an Ethiopian proverb that goes “When spiders unite, they can tie up a lion.” i-DELTA is the coming together of multiple “spiders” in Africa to address the strategic training needs across many of the countries.
i-DELTA came into existence in response to the 2006 Africa Leaders Meeting. Leaders from SIL and Wycliffe Entities from across Africa unanimously expressed their desire for a standardized training curriculum presented in a short-term block format so students are not away from their families and communities long term. They also wanted courses which could still count toward a bachelor’s degree program.
Since then, under the leadership of Dr. Leoma Gilley, the SIL Africa Training Initiative Department has been developing a set of modules—in both English and French—for i-DELTA’s six tracks: Bible Translation, Scripture Use, Literacy, Linguistics, Cultural Anthropology and Language Assessment. For each track, students will take three modules during an eight-week academic course, over three successive years. The English track is held in Nairobi, Kenya while the French track is in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. In 2014, the French track will move to Yaoundé, Cameroon.
Many of these modules are built upon courses and materials already developed in French for the Africa Training Program, or in English at Translation Degree Programs at Pan Africa Christian University and Nairobi Evangelical Graduate School of Theology [NEGST, now part of Africa International University (AIU)].
Those students who are in the Bible Translation and Scripture Use tracks can apply all their i-DELTA modules toward a Bachelor in Theology from South Africa Theological Seminary (SATS). For students in the other four tracks, we are pursuing agreements with other academic institutions in order for them to be able to have i-DELTA modules count toward a Bachelor of Arts.
Advantages of the SIL i-DELTA programme: