Effective community development - the kind that restores health, renews hope and inspires lasting transformation - requires integrated, sustainable solutions that address the root causes and unique circumstances in each community.
Click on the icons below to find out more about our programs and the role each plays this transformational work.
View our Impact map to see all the communities where LIA currently serves.
Health is the basis for life. Each and every community that LIA serves has a specific emphasis on disease prevention and health promotion and care. The community plays a vital role in identifying the area(s) of greatest need, and in implementing health programs that build upon existing assets, capacity and the established health network (when possible).
- Establishing scalable and sustainable community clinics
- Establishing scalable and sustainable WASH facilities (water supply, sanitation and hygiene)
- Mobilizing local church volunteers to educate and prevent HIV transmission from mothers to children.
- Implementing targeted nutrition programs for children under five and single mothers
- Conducting community training sessions on health, hygiene and disease prevention
- Capacity-building and networking with local government health providers to improve access to primary health care services
- Home visits conducted by trained church members to evaluate and promote safe household hygiene practices
- Including health education topics into church sermons
In the Horn of Africa, where millions suffer from drought and famine, LIA and its church partners are providing relief and planning for long-term initiatives.
In the fall of 2011, the Horn of Africa, a region in East Africa composed of several countries, was devastated by a drought and resulting famine. This disaster left more than 13 million people suffering or at-risk from starvation due to a simple lack of access to food, water and/or appropriate shelter.1
In August of that year, LIA partnered with churches in five communities throughout the region to begin meeting both the immediate needs of these people, while also implementing food security and health care initiatives that will result in sustained development and long-term transformation.
In Djibouti, our LIA team and local church partners provided urgent medical care, supplemental food and shelter to approximately 3,500 families in two communities. Additionally, 260 people were trained as community health workers to care for the physical ailments and disease that many of the refugees in this area suffer. Better yet, a community medical clinic is being established that will sustainably serve 1,000 people each month once it’s fully operational.
Possibly the most impacted group are Somali refugees living in temporary camps in dry desert lands. These people suffer not only from drought and famine, but have no place to call home and fear of political and religious struggles. With the support of many valued LIA partners, 4,000 tarps were distributed to the families living in two camps to provide shelter from outside elements and protect against sickness.
To the south, in Kenya, our LIA team has helped disburse immediate nutrition and medical aid to approximately 1,000 people in rural communities. In parallel, we will continue implementing church-based long-term food security, agriculture development and primary health care initiatives in these communities.
In just six months time, nearly 37,000 meals were served, people medically treat and water distributed to the most vulnerable children and families in the Horn of Africa. It is this basic meeting of needs that is necessary to lay the framework for true transformational development.
By helping to ensure the safety of this community, while doing it in a manner that empowers the community (walking with the community, rather than simply doing for them), LIA and its local partners are taking the first steps toward true transformation in the midst of a crisis.
Because of LIA's partnership with church partners in Maper, South Sudan, the community has accessible primary health care for the first time ever.
South Sudan. It’s the newest country in the world, and is also one of the most vulnerable. The people of this war torn country are faced with complex challenges that many countries today cannot even fathom. An underdeveloped infrastructure, continuing disputes, millions of refugees and severe weather combine to make the South Sudanese highly susceptible to extremely harsh health conditions.
For more than two years, LIA has focused on empowering local churches in Rumbek, South Sudan, to implement lasting programs to serve vulnerable community members. Those programs are now thriving – ranging from a primary health clinic serving more than 10,000 each month to an elementary school helping to educate 350 youth, the future of South Sudan.
Perhaps what is most inspiring, however, is seeing the efforts of our local church partners begin to multiply beyond the Rumbek borders to Maper. A village about 70 miles north of Rumbek, Maper is one of the most remote districts in South Sudan. For that reason, its health care is virtually non-existent. Many of the people in the Maper community have never had access to medical staff of any kind, unless they were healthy and wealthy enough to make the three-day trek on foot to the nearest town for treatment. People in the Maper community were desperately looking for a miracle in their district.
It all started at a meeting with the Maper leaders under a tree in Rumbek. After a time of training, these leaders, who were living in Rumbek temporarily during the war crisis in Maper, asked LIA to think of their community and meet their health needs by partnering with their local church in that area. Because of the war conditions, we could not immediately access the village but we asked them to choose someone who could come learn medicine at our Rumbek clinic and in time, return to serve his community. Laat, an intelligent young man who had done a little bit of primary health care, came and interned with our clinical officer, Kefa, in Rumbek for a year to equip him with the skills and abilities needed to run a clinic.
Realizing the health burden in the area, LIA and its existing church partners facilitated the establishment of a basic clinic at the church that sent Laat to us for training. Using a self-sustaining model, the centrally-located clinic charges patients an accessible service fee based on the average household income of the community. Since its inception in November 2011, the clinic has liberated the community from spending significant time, labor and money in search of medical treatment. The nearby access to primary health care has undoubtedly saved lives, especially those of children, and prevented illnesses from worsening/spreading.
The day before Thanksgiving last year, Laat reported back to his community, and with LIA, began providing medical services from a small, thatched roof hut made of mud and wood. The first patient was an 8-year-old boy who was ill and progressively worsening. Before the clinic, the boy was brought before the church to prayer over him, as that was the only means of medical care. After visiting the church-based clinic, he was diagnosed and treated for malaria. They saw 77 patients in total in those first three days.
Before the clinic, the Maper community lost several children each week simply because they were unable to receive primary health care services. Some months since the clinic began, the death toll from malaria among children under five has decreased by more than 50 percent. As of last month (September 2012), more than 4,000 patients were treated for different preventable, communicable diseases like Malaria. Combined, more than 6,000 patients have been treated at the new Maper clinic.
LIA and its church partners have since built a reliable structure for the clinic (see below) with ventilation and a borehole well to supply water to the clinic. A steering committee composed of the local churches and community representatives now oversees the clinic. The community is so invested in its future health that the clinic provides monthly reports to the South Sudanese government for health surveillance and research.
We are grateful for the progress that God has granted LIA and its church partners in Maper thus far. We look forward to seeing the way that this clinic will expand into a multi-faceted transformational development initiative in South Sudan.
Read more about LIA's work in South Sudan here.
An HIV positive expectant mother in Debre Birhan, Ethiopia learns there is hope, despite her circumstances.
Genet, a community transformation agent trained by LIA and its partner church, visits homes in Debre Birhan to care for sick families and to help raise awareness about HIV/AIDS, one of the most devastating, yet preventable diseases still wreaking havoc in African countries. Her strong passion to care for people suffering with HIV/AIDS is particularly captivating, as she too is living with the virus.
One particular day of home visits, Genet knocks at the home of Aberesh, a 35-year-old mother of two. It is immediately apparent that her meager income makes it a daily struggle to provide for her children. Despite her trials, Aberesh gives a graceful smile when she ushers Genet in and begins inquiring about the reason for the visit. As Genet starts to explain, she notices Aberesh is expecting her third child, which could not be far from delivery.
Genet quickly learns of Aberesh’s desperate years since she found out she is HIV positive. Her diagnosis left her feeling hopeless and lost, especially since she discovered she was pregnant again and that there is a high risk of passing the virus on to her baby.
Gently and lovingly, Genet educates Aberesh on the realities of her situation. For the first time, Aberesh hears that there is hope for her baby. Mentored by Genet, Aberesh begins receiving antenatal care treatment to monitor her and the baby’s health before delivery, and to prevent transmission of the virus.
Through LIA’s church partner in the area, Aberesh begins to attend HIV education meetings, where she asserts that the knowledge she gained from the meetings helped clear up misconceptions about the disease, and helped her make educated decisions. As a result, Aberesh elected to deliver the baby in the Debre Birhan Hospital where they both could receive the care they needed.
“If I had not had this relevant information, I would have lost my baby,” she says. “I thank God above all for saving my baby and Genet for unreserved support to help the needy.”
Aberesh ends her story by proclaiming, “I am no more hopeless! I am not frightened! I can see that there is hope when it seems hopeless.”
Read more about LIA's work in Debre Birhan here.