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Tanzania seminaries ready to share the Word after digitisation

Seminarians in five Catholic seminaries throughout Tanzania now have access to thousands of theological texts after the recent completion of a groundbreaking project to digitise their libraries. 

Launched in 2014 by Catholic Mission, in partnership with former Veech Head Librarian Hans Arns and in-country volunteer Heide Schooling, ‘Sharing the Word’ is an initiative to digitise seminary libraries in developing countries.

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A seminarian at the Peramiho Seminary in Songea, Tanzania practices on the new Sharing the Word software. Photo: H. Schooling

Tanzania is the latest in a list of countries to receive the resource, with others including Zambia, Kenya, and Uganda. Catholic Mission National Director Father Brian Lucas says the project has achieved great things. ‘This is a wonderful resource for seminarians around the world,’ he said.

‘Sharing the Word ensures seminarians in developing countries can receive access to library resources to enhance their theological education. A significant barrier to the proper formation of seminarians is access to essential theological texts which are often rare and expensive.’

The Tanzanian project began on Christmas Day last year, with the delivery of 70 computers, five servers and five printers to the country. Administrative challenges delayed the roll out, but it was finally completed this month. Segerea, Ntungamo, Kipalapala, Peramiho, and Kibosho Seminaries all received the new resource.

A major feature of the Sharing the Word project is an online library of more than 7,000 theological texts that can be accessed by anyone in the world through the internet.

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Above: St Paul's Major Seminary at Kipalapala, Tanzania was among the five seminaries to receive the Sharing the Word program. Photo: H. Schooling

‘The system gives the seminarians easy access not only to the resources they have in their own libraries but also to modern literature on the internet,’ says Ms Schooling, who was asked to join the project after managing a school in Tanzania.

‘All in all, the feedback from the people in Tanzania was fantastic,’ she said. ‘With a computer laboratory and internet access they can now apply to become fully-fledged universities, which is an extra bonus not envisaged when the project was started.’

Although confident that most technical issues in Tanzania can be addressed remotely, Ms Schooling says additional support will help with staffing the libraries and enhancing the project’s impact.

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The new layout at St Paul's Major Seminary in Kipalapala. Photo: H. Schooling

You can visit www.sharingtheword.info for more on the project.


For media enquiries, please contact Matthew Poynting on 02 9919 7833 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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