Equipping Local Leaders

To strengthen communities

- From St. Louis, MO, to the Horn of Africa -

We work across the boundaries of culture, religion, and ethnicity to cultivate community and equip local leaders for positive social change.

Our vision is to work with leaders we know and partners we trust to transform communities here and abroad.

A Holistic Approach

The communities and individuals we work with have hopes and fears. They have unique strengths and knowledge. They also face complex physical, social, and spiritual challenges. Knowing that each of us has something of worth to contribute, our approach is to work with community members to identify and address needs in a way that empowers those involved. This approach plays out in our local and global service.


Our office is located in St. Louis, MO, a diverse city that is home to many refugees and immigrants. We believe this diversity can strengthen communities rather than cause division. We seek to break down fear and misunderstanding by creating opportunities for trusting cross-cultural relationships to develop.  Our office is open to refugees seeking services as well as volunteers seeking understanding on how to better serve their new neighbors in St. Louis. We have launched a Nala US sewing program here in St. Louis to reach and empower the refugee and immigrant women in our local community.

  • Relational services, friends of refugees
  • Nala-US

East Africa

Our work in East Africa has three focus areas:
  • Training Leaders - We believe in the power of local leaders to transform the world around them. We train and equip leaders with tools and resources to solve problems in their communities.
  • Community Development Initiatives - We work with local leaders to develop income-generating projects that help communities utilize their own resources and abilities.
  • Equality in Leadership - We recognize the key role both women and men play as spiritual leaders in faith communities. We foster equality in our churches by having both men and women represented as leaders. 
Nala was created as an answer to a very real struggle our founder, Terri Stipanovich, saw in East Africa: the oppression of women and girls. Gender inequality still exists in communities around the globe in the form of atrocities like female genital mutilation, religious oppression, child marriage and forced labor. We seek to solve these issues through helping women engage in sustainable business and dignified employment.   Through enterprise and creative work, the women in Nala develop skills and earn livable wages that help them obtain needed health care, food, housing, and education for their children. Their work raises their status and gives them an equal voice to stop atrocities against women in their communities. They strengthen their entire community, ushering in good for all.