Indonesia: Sustainable Community Growth

Sulawesi is one of the poorer islands in Indonesia. Religious conflicts, a lack of food or the danger of AIDS are only some of the local problems. The churches are battling intensively to sustainably improve the conditions of life in their parishes.

Most of the inhabitants of Sulawesi live as farmers in widely scattered villages. They face a variety of challenges depending on the region they live in. The local churches accept these challenges and look after the problems of the local people. In remote regions, the Luwu Church (GPIL) and the Toraja Mamasa Church (GTM) also set up development centres which promote the conditions for peace, welfare and justice.

Sustainable development means integral development. The comprehensive programme has the aims of raising income, improving health care, protecting the environment, supporting ecological agriculture, combating climate change and solving conflicts between Muslims and Christians. This is the only way to ensure peace and better living conditions in the long term for the people on Sulawesi.

Individual local programmes

Sustainability also means that projects are not only managed by outside people, they are also implemented together with local people and are later handed over completely to them. Every development programme is therefore designed specifically to cater for local conditions. The church and the local target groups first analyse the problems and the urgent needs of the families and village communities. In some places the main problems are religious conflicts. In other places they involve domestic violence, health hazards or too much plastic waste.

The next step is to train motivators who set up local development centres. From there they start all the activities in close cooperation with local authorities: agricultural training courses, health education, conflict management, family counselling and environmental protection are part of the daily agenda. The co-workers gradually relinquish control during the course of the project and finally hand over responsibility to the community


255 million inhabitants, of which 27 percent are poor or threatened by poverty




Kondoran model project

The Toraja Church (GT), one of the largest and most committed churches on Sulawesi, already started an agricultural development programme in the 1980s. In 2001, the church also included peace and reconciliation work in their programme after conflicts flared up between Christians and Muslims in 1998. In the meantime, the church has concentrated on economic, social, health and ecological activities. This model project has also inspired other Indonesian communities.

Project goals

Several churches on the island of Sulawesi, first and foremost the Toraja Church, have set their aim on achieving sustainable and individual development in emote congregations. They want to empower the people there with a variety of programmes and workshops to provide them with knowledge in a number of sectors. The decisive factors are the wishes and interests that the people in the villages express. In the long term, the project will improve the living conditions of villagers and make a contribution to peace in the region.

Project work

Together with the local people an expert team defines how the project should take place. The villagers describe their needs and interests and an action plan is then prepared for the community. Many communities are concerned about religious conflicts. Others want to receive further training in environmental protection and other village communities require training in the subject of health. The church then sets up local development centres where the planned activities take place. At the end of the project the community assumes the responsibility to implement the project and all the associated measures.

Project partner

The Toraja Church (GT) is similar to a people’s church on a small scale. About 75 per cent of the population living in the Toraja mountains in South Sulawesi are Christian. The Presbyterial-synodal church today has 650,000 members in over 700 congregations. The GT also has congregations in many other Indonesian regions which arose as a result of internal migration and resettlement. Within its own region the GT runs very advanced diaconal programmed that are ground-breaking for Indonesia, such as the support of the handicapped and rural development. The church is committed to vocational training and runs several schools and two large hospitals.

We are pleased to hear that you are interested in this project. If you have any general questions, please use the contact form below. We are also happy to help you personally if you have any questions or require further information – by phone or by E-mail.


Djoko P. A. Wibowo

Liaison Secretary Indonesia

+49 711 636 78 -36

Angelika Jung

Head of Unit Fundraising

+49 711 636 78 -63

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