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Snapshot: IAS Celebrates! « International Aid Services America

It was New Year’s Eve, 1989 in the besieged city of Juba, Sudan, when Leif Zetterlund and several of his partners founded the work of IAS as they witnessed the atrocities and hardship surrounding them on every side. With many aid organizations leaving the city, Leif and his wife, Britt, along with three other families, decided that something must be done to help meet the overwhelming need for food, water and clothing surrounding them.

Leif Zetterlund is congratulated for twenty-five years of service to Africa.

Some twenty-five years later, International Aid Services celebrated its silver anniversary serving the needs of Africa’s least fortunate. While much has changed over the past quarter of a century, one factor has remained constant; the mission statement of IAS to help unreached and underprivileged people groups, saving lives, promoting self-reliance and dignity through human transformation – going beyond relief and development.

And nothing highlights IAS’ desire to go where basic survival is the most difficult more than our work in our newest target country, Niger. Considered one of the world’s poorest nations, Niger is ranked 187 out of 187 countries on the 2013 UN Human Development Index. This makes Niger the perfect place for IAS to provide its capacity-building assistance through water, food and empowerment efforts.

Now twenty-five years into our efforts, here are several highlights of IAS’ work:

• IAS programs are in ten African nations (a geographical area larger than Europe)

• 350 staff members serve with IAS (95% are local nationals)

• Over 5,000 wells have been drilled

• Over six million people have been directly impacted since 1989

A crowd of friends and family gather to celebrate IAS’ twenty-fifth anniversary in Yei, South Sudan.

“…to equip His people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up…”

Ephesians 4:12 (NIV)

As IAS staff, family and friends gathered together in both Juba and Yei, South Sudan from March 24 through the 27th to celebrate this celebratory accomplishment, the IAS team shared experiences of the past and what encourages us to continue moving full speed into our future.

Juliet Namukasa, IAS Country Director for Uganda, summed things up best as she shared the following story. “IAS preaches transformation and values communities. My great moments are those times when our work creates hope in someone’s life. Those times seated with the communities and listening to their testimonies of transformation are invaluable. This month I talked with a lady who had been a part of our Action Against Alcohol project in one local community. She testified that through this project she was able to stop abusing alcohol, and because of this she was able to become pregnant. Today she has a beautiful baby and lives an orderly and good life. Hearing her testimony made my day!”

IAS is now well into the second decade of the 21st century under the new leadership of Daniel Zetterlund, Leif’s son. Looking ahead, Daniel stresses that the future of IAS will rest on the organization’s founding principles, and a continued strengthening in depth and scope of the organization’s efforts.

Friends, thank you for your ongoing partnership with our work at IAS. Together we are transforming lives and societies throughout Africa. And IAS, Happy Birthday!


Douglas Mann
President, IAS America

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