SIL Pacific

Papua New Guinea

 The country of Papua New Guinea occupies the eastern half of the island of New Guinea, along with offshore islands, in the Melanesian region of the southwest Pacific. It is home to the largest collection of languages spoken in any country in the world – approximately 830. It is a land of stark geographical contrasts: from steamy, lowland swamps to rugged, snowy peaks; from drenched rain forests to parched and dry savannah.

SIL has been at work in Papua New Guinea since 1956, when a centre was established at Ukarumpa in the Eastern Highlands. From there, translation, linguistics and literacy specialists from all over the globe have gone out to work alongside language communities throughout the country, initiating projects in approximately 447 languages. They have analysed the structures of the languages, helped to construct alphabets, developed literacy materials and together with local communities produced one complete Bible and 200 New Testament translations to date. Work continues in 193 languages, some of it in follow-on Old Testament translation, much of it in clusters of languages. Over the years the focus has shifted, from primarily producing linguistic research, literacy materials and a printed New Testament, to the broader goal of seeing Papua New Guineans knowing and living God’s Word, leading to changed lives and transformed communities. The methods have expanded to include oral Bible storytelling and Scripture engagement activities and the means of dissemination now include audio, video and electronic media.

The Ukarumpa Centre continues to provide logistical support to this vast effort, including medical, technical, education and aviation services. These services enable SIL staff to accomplish their work in a challenging environment and build capacity in Papua New Guineans to engage in that same work in their own communities.

Please visit the SIL-PNG website where you will find links to a wealth of information about what SIL-PNG does as well as to the output of our research.