Young Life Ethiopia

Reaching the young people of Ethiopia

Ethiopia is second only to the United States in the number of kids reached by Young Life, with over 159,000 kids reached in 2019.  Young Life has a rich history in Ethiopia dating back to 1999 when Chuck and Linda Reinhold, Young Life veterans from the United States, moved to the Kore neighborhood of Addis Ababa. Here, they connected with local churches, partnered with Ethiopian Christians who were passionate about youth, and Young Life was born. Currently, Young Life is active in schools and neighborhoods throughout Addis Ababa and in 93 different town and villages around Ethiopia.

159,320 teens
reached in Ethiopia and counting…

Ethiopia

  • Population: 109,996,136
  • Main languages: Amharic, Oromo, Somali
  • Kids reached by YLA: 159,320

Ethiopia summary

Ethiopia is a land of antiquity; it is the oldest independent African country dating back to 5 B.C. with ties to King Solomon. Ethiopia’s population of approximately 107 million is comprised of multiple religious groups including Muslim (34%), Ethiopian Orthodox Christian (44%), Protestant (18%), with indigenous beliefs making up the remainder. The main language is Amharic and English is widely spoken. The people are elegant, industrious and possess the deep warmth commonly found in African cultures. Coffee was discovered in Ethiopia and is the largest export crop; the Italian influence in Ethiopia perfected the coffee drink and it continues to be one of the pleasures of Ethiopian culture.

Ethiopia is second only to the United States in the number of kids reached by Young Life, with over 159,000 kids reached in 2019. Young Life has a rich history in Ethiopia dating back to 1999 when Chuck and Linda Reinhold, Young Life veterans from the United States, moved to the Kore neighborhood of Addis Ababa. Here, they connected with local churches, partnered with Ethiopian Christians who were passionate about youth, and Young Life was born. Currently, Young Life is active in schools and neighborhoods throughout Addis Ababa and in 93 different town and villages around Ethiopia. Currently, over 18,800 kids attend Young Life outreach clubs every week and more than 11,000 kids are involved in weekly discipleship groups.

Our impact

2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 Growth (2019)
Kids Reached 110,222 123,372 130,672 137,910 159,320 16%
Avg. Kids at Clubs 13,670 14,026 15,819  17,307 18,861 9%
Avg. Kids in Campaigners 6,159 6,987 9,449 10,639 11,691 10%
Number of Ministries  72  74 90  93 111 19%
National Staff  22  23  27  26 29 12%
DGL  8  11  7 6 8 33%
Kids & Leaders to Camp 5,796 5,709 5,285 3,708 0  

Our ministries

Ethiopia is second only to the United States in the number of kids reached by Young Life, with over 159,000 kids reached in 2019.  Young Life has a rich history in Ethiopia dating back to 1999 when Chuck and Linda Reinhold, Young Life veterans from the United States, moved to the Kore neighborhood of Addis Ababa. Here, they connected with local churches, partnered with Ethiopian Christians who were passionate about youth, and Young Life was born. Currently, Young Life is active in schools and neighborhoods throughout Addis Ababa and in 90 different town and villages around Ethiopia.

Several area directors in Addis Ababa have spearheaded Capernaum ministry in a few orphanages across the city. Kids are having a blast at clubs and camps.

In Ethiopia, leaders are responding to large-scale challenges within the region, which are taking our leaders into refugee and internally displaced persons (IDP) camps. As reported in global media, severe drought has led to full-blown famine across the horn of Africa, which along with political conflicts has fueled the refugee and IDP crisis. Young Life leaders are going to these camps, reaching out to teens with have little to do, getting to know them, hanging out and hearing their stories and the stories of their families.

Our prison ministry developed in Ethiopia in 2016. During this time, the government declared a state emergency due to political tensions, putting restrictions on large-scale public gatherings of young people. Many young people were arrested and imprisoned because they opposed the government. The prisons are often understaffed and under-resourced, which is where Young Life steps in. In July 2017, Young Life leaders in Ethiopia put on a day camp in an Addis Ababa prison that 150 kids attended. Leaders made delicious meals, put on four clubs, played field games and even had small group time for the students. Seventy-six kids accepted Christ, and 50 kids were released early due to “good behavior” since this new Young Life ministry began. YL Ethiopia hopes to double this ministry in 2018.

Prayer Opportunities

Pray for the unreached community of Ethio-Somali in Jigjiga.

Pray for key men and women’s staff and DGL students in southern Ethiopia ministry.

Pray for an equal number of women in leadership in each ministry.

Pray for the encouragement of DGL students as they recruit new volunteer leaders.

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