History

Dr. Florence Muindi

Thirty years ago, Dr. Florence Muindi was given a vision to mobilize the local Church to restore health, renew hope and inspire lasting transformation for Africa’s most vulnerable children and families. Over the next few years, the vision came to pass and Dr. Florence founded Life In Abundance International.

Dr. Florence Muindi
Read Founder's Story
The Call

As a young adult, Dr. Florence Muindi was called by God to serve the poor and desired to make a lasting impact in the communities of the most vulnerable in Africa. She believed that in order to do so, her model must apply an integrated approach to development – on that addresses the root causes of poverty and meets both the physical and spiritual needs of the communities.

She found a natural partner in the local churches strategically located in the slums and among displaced people that are spread all throughout Africa. Although they desired to care for their neighbors, as Jesus called his followers to do, the need was overwhelming, and the local churches did not have the training or know-how to make an impact. Capacity was also lacking in most of these churches among the poor. This reality compelled Dr. Florence to work directly with these churches to equip them to bring sustainable transformation in their own communities.

Small Beginnings

It began as a short-term family ministry (with her husband Festus and two boys, Jay and Kyalo) in 1996, working among the Maasai people in her native country, Kenya. Here, Dr. Florence had the opportunity to pilot her project and learned how community health strategies can be implemented in and through small churches.  After a little more than two years, the family moved to Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, to work among the poor.

In Ethiopia, the work began in an urban poor community partnering with one church. Dr. Florence further pioneered strategies to empower and train the local church, beginning with a baseline survey of the felt needs of the community. The church members were eager participants, as they desired to learn effective methods of caring for the sick. Dr. Florence recognized the importance of working within the existing system of care (whenever possible) and the local church became a network of trained home visit agents, doing first aid and health education at the home level. Seminars and training sessions were raising awareness and knowledge of health prevention and intervention tools. Bible studies and cell group meetings were helping them to see a God who cares deeply about them, and who desires to use them as agents of community transformation.

As word spread of Dr. Florence’s facilitative role, more and more churches began to request trainings to launch similar projects. Dr. Florence observed, though, that the first church team began to naturally train other churches in what they learned, and were doing so in a culturally-contextualized manner. Just as significantly, the church cared for the whole person – integrating clinical care, spiritual care, meeting emotional and social needs, counseling, and even financial help. Dr. Florence believed that this was the key to multiplying the impact of her work. As the vision grew, sensing the need for a legal and accountable structure, Dr. Florence formally formed Life in Abundance (LIA) International in Ethiopia in 2000, and preparations to expand the ministry began.

The Growth Process

With a sense of God’s lead, new doors opened and LIA’s work began to expand to other countries in Africa. LIA was invited by The Sudan Council of Churches to work among local Sudanese congregations, and Egyptian churches in Cairo, and also in Kenya extended a similar invitation. Meanwhile, LIA was also extending its reach within Ethiopia. When a tsunami hit southern Somalia, LIA began working with local communities to provide relief and development, and then eventually into Eritrea and Djibouti.

In each community, LIA was designing innovative programs, while guiding and supporting church-based pilot projects. Expanding in scope beyond health promotion and prevention, LIA facilitated projects in education, water and sanitation, economic empowerment initiatives and civic engagement.

Today, LIA serves in more than 30 communities throughout Africa, with plans to expand its established programs to other communities, so that those local churches can restore health, renew hope and inspire lasting transformation for their most vulnerable children and families.

1999

LIA was formally established as a non-profit development organization in Ethiopia.

2002

LIA was officially incorporated in the USA as a 501(c)(3) non-profit.

2004

LIA was formally recognized as an NGO in Kenya.

2006

LIA expanded its transformational development efforts to Egypt and the Horn of Africa region.

2008

LIA formalized its non-profit status in South Sudan.

2009

LIA was formally established in North Sudan (now Sudan).

2012

LIA began piloting work in Jamaica and Haiti.

2013

LIA formalized status in Jamaica and established the LIA Training Center Jamaica.

2015

LIA hired Urban Initiatives to conduct a thorough study of 6 communities we had phased out of.

Today

Life In Abundance is comprised of a team of 80 people serving across 14 nations with more than 30 active transformational community initiatives.

Since our first program was implemented

  • 1299 churches in 75 communities have been trained and empowered to implement sustainable solutions to their most pressing problems.
  • Nearly 11,975 community health and resource workers have been trained.
  • 32,778 families have been economically empowered through micro-loans and income generating activities.
  • More than 35,960 people have been trained in educational support.
  • More than 53,955 Orphans and Vulnerable Children have been supported and cared for through our OVC support.
  • Over 70,348 people have been trained in Evangelism and Discipleship.
  • More than 483,544 people have had community health care by LIA’s local church partners.