Did you know that 27 of the world’s 28 poorest countries are located in sub-Saharan Africa? In the Gospel of Luke chapter 4, Jesus quoted a prophecy from the Old Testament book of Isaiah when He said,
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
As followers of Jesus, our faith compels us to reach the poor with practical relief for their physical needs, and spiritual help for the needs of their soul.
Due to its severe rates of poverty, the African continent – particularly sub-Saharan Africa – draws many Christians who want to reach people with Jesus’ love. Here we will highlight a few of these organizations and the variety of ways they work to reach people in need.
4Africa is a Christ-centered organization seeking out those who have been deeply affected by poverty, famine, and civil unrest in East Africa. One major project recently completed was drilling a clean water well for the Bidi Bidi refugee settlement in Northern Uganda.
Many families fleeing civil war in South Sudan are temporarily living in the Bidi Bidi settlement, but there was not enough water to sustain the inhabitants. The water that was available was contaminated, leading to widespread illness from waterborne pathogens. The recent completion of the water point has greatly increased health and hope among the families in Bidi Bidi.
4Africa also seeks to share Jesus’ love with the people of East Africa through basic health and prevention education, leadership programs, and sharing the Gospel.
Hope International serves families around the world through “biblically-based training, savings, services, and loans that restore dignity and break the cycle of poverty.” Through their faith-based financial services for the underprivileged, they provide opportunities for those who would otherwise face often insurmountable barriers to running their own businesses.
Since 1997, it has grown from providing 12 loans in Ukraine to over 2 million loans in 16 countries in Asia, sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, and eastern Europe. They also provide funding to 6 experienced partners with localized expertise in serving their communities.
3. Hope Africa
Hope Africa focuses its work in the country of Malawi, one of the poorest countries in the world, providing clean water, nutritious food, and education. It was founded by four visitors to the country from the UK, who after witnessing the often deplorable conditions, began providing meals and water to people without access to these essentials.
Today their operations have expanded, having provided thousands with clean water and starting their 365 Appeal to provide funding for teachers to teach for a full school year, among other projects! Through their organizational “commitment to prayer” and “dedication to bringing biblical hope to people in Africa,” they remain steadfast in their fight to help Malawians in need.
4. Ethiopia ACT
One of our former partners, Ethiopia ACT is an African-led organization that works in the country’s capital city of Addis Ababa. They work to provide healthcare for underserved communities in God’s name, also placing an emphasis on long-term change for families for generations to come. They not only help in the areas of HIV/AIDS and other diseases, they work through communities to provide families with support and opportunities to take ownership of improving their lives themselves.
Because they are based in Ethiopia, they do incredible work that can only be accomplished through their intimate knowledge of the areas and people they’re working with. They have given life-changing support to thousands of people, and continue to provide medical care, food, housing, and education, as well as emotional and spiritual support.
Farm Hope Thrive is a non-profit that is focused on “educating and empowering rural farmers, community leaders, pastors, church planters, teachers and children using a biblical and sustainable approach to agriculture in Africa.” Started by an American couple in Tanzania after visiting the country in 2005, they have gone on to lead the organization’s ministry in the country and expand the reach of their services.
Now they are focused on building the Ormee Primary School and funding Tanzanian staff wages and agriculture training expenses to help African farmers increase their crop yields for the betterment of their families. Through their personalized relationship with the community and intent to spread their expertise to those who depend on their farms for their livelihoods, they are making a big difference for those they serve.
Tearfund works closely with over 50 churches and Christian organizations around the world to provide emergency relief and community development funding as transparently and sustainably as possible. Tearfund partners with other organizations who are rooted in these communities so that they can be sure that their solutions are going to be effective for those requiring immediate assistance.
In Kenya alone, Tearfund has eight different partners who have created support groups for over 85,000 people and lessons on sustainable agricultural to over 3,600 individuals. Because of their model, they have an amazing reach all over the world to people who are some of the greatest in need.
Blood:Water’s mission is to partner with African grassroots organizations to address the water and HIV/AIDS crises. We understand that local partners have local expertise and knowledge, and are best positioned to choose the most effective solutions for their communities. By identifying local leaders and coming alongside their vision for change, we support our incredible partners to continue the vital work they are already engaged in. These local leaders’ level of cultural context and understanding of their community members is vital for creating positive change that lasts for generations.
Another aspect of our work is an emphasis on capacity building, ensuring that our partners will be equipped and able to operate self-sufficiently long after their partnership with Blood:Water is complete. We are committed through faith to ending the iniquities of our brothers and sisters in sub-Saharan Africa in ways that will make an indelible impact for generations to come. You can join the fight here.