Language Development: SIL international commemorates 50 years in Cameroon


The American Christian NGO SIL International has organized a conference to commemorate fifty years of developing and documenting local languages in Cameroon. The SIL is also saluting a fruitful partnership with the University of Yaounde 1.

As part of commemorative activities , the language experts converged on the University campus this 6th February 2019 , to examine their activities and chart a way forward.

SIL’s historical partnership

On the 6th February 1969, SIL international signed a partnership agreement with the University of Yaounde 1 to foster the development of Cameroonian languages through linguistic research.

Since then, the American NGO has extended the partnership to four government ministries .

Fifty years after, SIL Cameroon remains focused on the development of local languages, linguistic research, adult literacy, translation, multilingual education and capacity building.

SIL, a success story in Cameroon

Within fifty years of language advocacy and development in Cameroon, the NGO has to translated the Bible into two Cameroonian languages.

SIL has also translated the New Testament into 46 Cameroonian languages.

In 2018, SIL gave consultation , training and logistic support to 63 of the more than 240 National languages in Cameroon.

Authorities say getting a 187- man-staff for Cameroon ‘s offices is a major milestone . But, Mme Fabienne Freeman, Director General of SIL Cameroon says her organization is ready to raise the standards.

” Our major challenge is to stay relevant in a time when everything’s changing so fast. The context of multilingualism, globalization is crucial to find a way for Cameroonian languages to express themselves “. Mme Fabienne Freeland declares.

Presently, the NGO continues to monitor the needs of language communities, provide literacy materials relevant to the needs and status of these communities.

SIL international is an American NGO, created in 1934 to develop and document local languages and carry out linguistic research.

Kathy Neba Sina

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