What is the Sepik Partnership and Engagement Strategy (SPES)? A Brief Introduction

SPES is an SIL project targeting all the languages within the East Sepik and Sandaun Province of Papua New Guinea that have no translated Scripture in them. It invites them to be part of the Bible Translation movement. SIL’s decades of experience have resulted in strategies that prioritize impact.

In order to have impact, SPES embraces oral methods for initially working with language groups. From these oral activities, interest levels can be evaluated before SPES commits to long-term language development programs. Currently, SPES is visiting Bibleless language groups for the purpose of creating training clusters and developing local trainers for initial activities with the new language groups. One type of training that SPES plans to use with Bibleless language groups is Oral Bible Storytelling (OBS). Orally narrating a translated Scripture passage to Bibleless language groups ensures that there are Scripture portions in a language in the very initial phases. This is one of the innovative approaches SPES is using in its language activities.

The backbone of SPES’ impact strategies is derived from a model for effectively directing resources to needs. This model is known as Progressive Engagement. Language needs of a community range from language preservation to Bible translation. SPES is committed to meeting these needs; however, language communities have to show that they are truly interested and will support the language program. Identifying resource areas within a language cluster and providing resources which the community cannot supply ensures two-way participation and commitment from SPES and languages involved. An obvious resource that the language communities have is personnel to be trained. The care and support for these personnel is provided by some of SPES’ partners.

SPES’ objective is to provide training to all Bibleless language groups in the East Sepik and Sandaun provinces so that God’s Word can be heard in the languages that people know best. Using innovative approaches to direct resources to needs and ensure that there is impact enables SPES to carry out its Bible translation activities at an accelerated pace to all new languages.



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