Historical Background of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania (ELCT)
•The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania (ELCT) has been in existence since the 19th century when Missionaries from Europe and the USA arrived in the country to spread the word of God.
• Since then, the Church has been growing gradually and currently, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania comprises of 26 Dioceses with a membership of about 7 million people, in a population of about 57.31 million Tanzanians.
•A communion of people rejoicing in love and peace; blessed spiritually and physically, hoping to inherit eternal life through Jesus Christ.
To make people know Jesus Christ and have life in it fullness by bringing to them the Good News through words and deeds based on the Word of God as it is in the Bible.
Use Your Talents in Tanzania
HOW DO TALENTS SUPPORT VISSION AND MISSION
In order for the ELCT to meet its vision and mission it applies different approaches to utilize the talents of its members and spread it to the Community at large. Most of these Church members are doing those activities in the voluntary bases. For example professional people deliver their skills to different groups who gathered together within the church.
•What is VICOBA? (Village Community Bank)
VICOBA is a tailored micro-finance program. It is designed to provide credit to low-income people who need capital to start their own businesses. The program brings together groups of 25 to 30 people, mostly women, and Youth who agreed to combine their savings to create a community-based bank.
•Members can then take out loans to fund micro-enterprises and self-employment initiatives. VICOBA is a community-based system that provides mutual support and encouragement to empower community members to work together to create sustainable development.
- To increase the ability of community groups to identify, utilize and develop their local resources
- To provide increased access to credit to community initiatives
- To increase off-farm employment and self-employment opportunities
- To ensure long-term success by providing participants with accounting and business management skills
- To help individuals fulfill their dreams and to improve living standards for the wider community.
- Of those involved in the VICOBA program, 10% are parents or guardians of children with disabilities. These families are being empowered to fight poverty, supporting church’s primary objective to support disabled children.
• To the moment, 51% of participants have borrowed money from the VICOBA community bank and the rest, 49% are just wait the end of the year for dividend. Those who borrow money use it to start their own businesses and create self-employment opportunities.
• Businesses established through VICOBA include: farming (pigs, poultry and cattle), crops, retail shops, vegetable stalls, tailoring businesses, restaurants, and the construction of rental houses. Around 90% of VICOBA participants are involved in farming.
•Participants who acquired the knowledge and skills through the “VICOBA” training expanded their businesses.
•The VICOBA program has led to a great improvement in participants’ household incomes, which has helped families meet their basic needs such as food, shelter, and education.
•In terms of community development, 72% of VIOCOBA participants are actively supporting local initiatives. We see this as a clear sign that the VICOBA model trains capable leaders who brings about a real and lasting change within the communities.
•VICOBA beneficiaries also reported disabled children who greatly change their attitude towards Church’s improved. They now look upon these children as special and valuable people who can actively contribute to the development of the whole community.
• Many groups within the church become trained about how to depend themselves by using available resources. Some of church members who delivered material for other Christians they have intention of empowering them economically, Socially and Spiritually. And this situation it also raise the development of the church.
Most of the groups who become trained as indicated down;