Nairobi, August 24-26, 2011
As part of the process of establishing its working structures, which are the Vehicular Cross-Border Language Commissions and the National Language Structures as Focal Points, the African Academy of Languages (ACALAN) in collaboration with the Department of Culture under the Kenyan Ministry of State for National Heritage and Culture, organized the operational workshop for the Kiswahili and Malagasy Vehicular Cross-Border Language Commissions, between August 24 and 26, 2011, at the Silver Springs Hotel in Nairobi, Kenya .
ACALAN, in accordance with the recommendations of the Synthesis Conference held in Addis Ababa in 2009, had already established eight out of the first twelve Vehicular Cross-Border Language Commissions, namely: Chichewa/Chinyanja and Setswana in Southern Africa, Fulfulde Hausa and Mandenkanin West Africa, Somali in East Africa, and Beti-fang and Lingala in Central Africa..
The workshop aimed at launching the Kiswahili and Malagasy Vehicular Cross-Border Language Commissions, identifying and planning the priority activities for the three-year tenure of the commissions. It equally aimed at agreeing on the modalities of operation of the two Vehicular Cross-Border Language Commissions and of the National Language Structures in the countries concerned.
It brought together distinguished scholars as resource persons, and potential members of the Kiswahili and Malagasy Vehicular Cross-Border Language Commissions, from the following countries in which the two languages are spoken: Burundi, Comoros Island, Kenya, Madagascar, Uganda, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo, Seychelles and Tanzania; members of ACALAN’s Secretariat, the Chairperson, and member of the Assembly of Academicians of the region, representatives of the host country, a representative of the East African Community (EAC), representative of the Focal Point of ACALAN in Tanzania.
The following are the outcome of the workshop:
- The Kiswahili and Malagasy Vehicular Cross-Border Language Commissions were established;
- Plans of action for the priority activities of the Kiswahili and Malagasy Vehicular Cross-Border Language Commissions were elaborated;
- The modalities of operation of the Kiswahili and Malagasy Vehicular Cross-Border Language Commissions and of National Language Structures were clarified;
- The roles of the Regional Economic Communities, Regional Language Centres, National Language Structures, individual Focal Points and Task Forces were defined.
The following main recommendations were made at the end of the workshop:
- Establishment of a Kiswahili and Malagasy councils in the countries where they do not exist.
- Acceleration of the appointment of Focal Points in the countries where they do not exist.
- Advocacy for the development of language policies in the region.
- Harmonisation of orthographies and terminologies.
- Institution of prizes and awards of excellence in Kiswahili and Malagasy.
- Development of catalogues of titles and abstracts of theses from Universities.
- Conducting research on the status of the language in the region.
- Creation of a website for each commission to be linked to ACALAN’s website to increase visibility of the Commissions and enhance space for dialogue.
- Production of teaching and learning materials and creation of reading clubs.
- Translation of oral and written materials from English, French and other African Languages to Kiswahili and Malagasy.
- Increasing advocacy through the media and civil society organizations.
- Enhancing the involvement of the media and publishing houses, Language Structures, Language Institutions, Universities and Focal Points in language promotion activities.