Angola, a Portuguese-speaking nation in southern Africa, has a population of 17 million. The country gained its independence from Portugal in 1975. The civil war, which ended in 2002, began the same year. The war left its mark with a divided country, poor infrastructure, almost non-existent healthcare and education systems, numerous orphans and a nation vulnerable to the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
The Church is a bringer of positive change in Angola. FELM’s partner organisation in the country is the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Angola (Igreja Evangélica Luterana de Angola). We support the Church’s activities and its work to improve the living standards of the Angolan people, as well as its work promoting peace.
FELM supports the Angolan Lutheran Church’s (IELA) efforts to improve health care and education provision. IELA helps with the upkeep of schools and also helps to provide basic healthcare in 40 districts. The Church has a clinic in Shangalala and also a health centre nearby. The focus of the health care provision is on preventive measures, such as health education and immunisation. Pregnant women’s health is addressed through pre-natal check-ups and through the training of village midwives.
HIV and AIDS work
The HIV and AIDS situation in Angola is not as bad as in neighbouring countries: only around five per cent of adults are HIV positive. The long civil war insulated people from the rest of the world and helped prevent the spread of HIV. Now, however, there is a fear that infections could increase. The Church participates in the AIDS prevention work of CUAHA (Churches United Against HIV and AIDS). The work involves training workers and supporting people living with HIV and AIDS.
It is estimated that only around 42% of the adult population of Angola are literate. The education of children and adults is an important aspect of the IELA’s work. The Church has built schools in Shangalala and Huambo
FELM and its IELA together support various projects, such as a project to develop health services, the Shangalala Sixth-Form College project and a project aimed at strengthening the management capacity of the Angolan Lutheran Church.
Bible translation, Christian education and theological training
FELM supports the activities of the Lutheran Church of Angola. The Church has begun work to translate the Bible into the Nkumbi language, which is one of the languages spoken in Cunene Province. FELM workers are also involved in Bible translation work in the country. In addition, FELM supports Christian education in churches and the training of pastors and church workers at the Shangalala Institute and at the Theological Seminary of Lubango. FELM workers work, among others, as teachers in the theological institutions.
Developing the Church’s management capacity
The financial foundations of the small but active Church are weak; several congregations are not able to pay their workers. In order to improve the situation, FELM began a project, in 2006, that aims at improving the financial and project management capacity of the Angolan Lutheran Church.
Peace and reconciliation
The state has openly asked for the help of the Church in uniting the divided Angolan society, promoting peace and building democracy. IELA has actively encouraged people to forgive each other and be reconciled. FELM supports this work.