Our Work

ETHIOPIA: Marginalized People Grow in Faith and Quality of Life

Project Overview

Church renovations and water well improve opportunities for learning, leadership and health 

Timeline: 18 months

Spiritual Engagement: 8,497

Community Engagement: 3,696

Anticipated Lives Impacted: 12,193

Total Amount Requested: $67,417



In their own words:

“The library is dark now. Although people still use it, it is not easy. Having more light and new shelves will encourage the community and help the church to train holistic new priests.” — Dugasa, librarian at the Gambella Anglican Center


The second-most populous nation in Africa, Ethiopia is a large and diverse country. The Gambella region bordering South Sudan is the poorest and least developed. Here the Gambella Anglican Center operates under the jurisdiction of the Episcopal/Anglican Diocese of Egypt with North Africa and the Horn of Africa.


In order to effectively serve as the gathering place for 70 Anglican congregations, the Gambella Anglican Center needs to expand. The facility serves as the region’s training center for clergy and provides space for classes and seminars in literacy, community health, agriculture and conflict resolution. The inadequate facilities are keeping the center from reaching its full capacity.


In order to further impact the region, the diocese plans to expand the center in three ways. It will construct a new worship center for the St. Barnabas congregation, accommodating up to 500 people. It will dig a community water well and renovate the center’s library facilities. The expanded Gambella Anglican Center will benefit about 12,000 people each year.

Life Impact

This project benefits 12,193 people, some through multiple impacts:

Spiritual Engagement:

8,497 people engage
with the Scriptures, including 500 people who attend services at the new church and 6,000 churchgoers who benefit from the training their clergy received; 896 people grow in their understanding of the Scriptures and skills including 10 staff members who attending daily worship and training; 16 clergy who attend monthly lectures and 855 people who utilize library resources; and 1,101 people who take action based on the Scriptures, including 640 women who join literacy programs; 15 clergy who attend classes, and 261 teachers, priests and lay leaders, and community leaders who lead classes

Community Engagement:

3,696 members of the community are impacted by the expanded center, including 1,140 mothers Union members who learn income-generating skills; 840 students who learn conflict resolution skills; and 1,716 church and community members who benefit from safe water

Project Design

The project calls for the enlargement of the Gambella Anglican Center, which currently hosts the St. Barnabas congregation, a library and sports programs that benefit local people. The center also hosts agricultural programs that provide food for people living in the compound and serves as a residence for the area bishop. The diocese will construct a new church building to serve as a multi- purpose room and worship center that can accommodate up to 500 people. This multi-purpose center will serve as a gathering place for 70 Anglican congregations, a chapel for theology students and a training facility for mothers Union groups and literacy students. It will serve up to 6,000 people a year.

The diocese will also build a 10-meter-deep water well that will provide a sustainable and clean source of water for people at the center. The current water supply from a nearby town is unreliable and causes problems, includ- ing intestinal illness. The new well will feature a pump to draw water and a lid to help ensure the water’s purity.

The project also calls for renovating the library. Unfortunately, the original architectural plans for the building were not followed, leaving the library dark and dusty. The diocese will install 20 large glass windows with mesh to prevent insects. It will also replace the lighting and the tin roof. Ten more bookshelves will be installed as the bishop has donated his large collection. 

Measuring impact: The current bishop lives on site and will oversee day-to-day operations and project implementation. Increased church attendance and library use will serve as impact benchmarks. The diocese will also measure the impact of the new well by counting the work days not lost due to illness.

Track Record

The Gambella Anglican Center opened in November 2010, but it remains under utilized, having suffered from inconsistent leadership since its construction. The diocese is seeking to upgrade facilities so it can maximize use of the center, while also providing a platform for future development. A previous Impact Assessment (ArDF-0809) rated the project as falling “Below” expectations because it failed to meet its original objectives. It suggested future projects focus on local leadership, pastoral training and meeting community needs.

Project Budget

  • Library renovation (includes new roof, shelves and 20 new windows): $15,000
  • Phase 1 – new church construction (architectural drawings and foundation): $14,167
  • Phase 2 – church construction (church walls, vestry space and roof): $10,000
  • Phase 3 – church construction (interior design, furniture and dedication): $10,000
  • Research and evaluation: $7,223
  • Well drilling and construction: $5,556
  • Administration: $5,472
  • TOTAL: $67,418

Risk Analysis

Low: 1, Low/Medium: 2, Medium: 3, Medium/High: 4, High: 5

Concept: Risk Level 1

The expansion project is essential for the center’s growth and for empowering regional churches to advance their missions. As a central gathering place for 70 Anglican congregations and as headquarters for the area bishop, the center serves 6,000 people a year. As a result of this project, beneficiaries will have clean water; a usable, accessible library; and a new, larger church building.

Program Design and Experience: Risk Level 2

The center’s original architectural plans were not followed, resulting in poor construction and an inadequate library. This current project corrects the mistakes. The area bishop and compound manager will oversee the project and will be closely involved in the construction and the digging of a 10-meter well. The diocese has successfully implemented other projects in Gambella, including construction of a guest house.

Leadership: Risk Level 2

The area bishop and his wife have a great deal of leadership experience and worked in Africa for several years. They have the skills and experience to successfully implement this project and have moved into the Gambella community to provide more oversight and direct leadership of the center. They are committed to nurturing and integrating local leaders into the program to help ensure community ownership and long-term sustainability of the programs being implemented and to help ensure that the community is engaged in its own development.

Financial Control: Risk Level 2

The Gambella Anglican Center has externally audited financial statements, stable management and secure financial transfer methods. The church has operated at a significant deficit for the last two years, moving from a strong surplus in 2010 to significant reduction in donations and increased spending. The church has assets to cover the losses and adequate reserves for similar future losses, but not for consecutive years. management of this capital investment — the construction project — will need to ensure that costs are kept within the budget to avoid further deficits.

Sustainability: Risk Level 3

While the project has strong diocese and community support, it lacks adequate financial resources. External funding is necessary for the program to succeed. Additionally, inability to find skilled manpower and contractors may delay project implementation, as evidenced by previous construction mistakes. Church leadership has not yet identified the project contractors.

External: Risk Level 3

political upheaval in Egypt is impacting the diocese. Christians are facing persecution and are threatened by extremists. In the Gambella region, Anuak and Nuer communities experience land disputes and tensions with the Ethiopian government. Any conflicts could delay the project.

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