On 19 August 2023, members and friends of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints throughout the Africa West Area joined together to perform acts of service in their communities. Thousands of volunteers from the 137 Stakes in the Africa West Area were involved in service projects in nine countries. Stakes and Wards chose projects in their communities that would have the most impact for their area. Community members were also invited to participate in the projects.
“We believe that the two great commandments are to love God and to love our fellow man. We show our love for God by serving our neighbors and doing what we can to bless the lives of people in our villages and communities,” said Elder S. Gifford Nielsen, General Authority Seventy and President of the African West Area of the Church. “The All-Africa Service Project provides our members in all countries of the Africa West Area the opportunity to bless the lives of their friends and neighbors, and by doing so, show their love for their Heavenly Father.”
The projects for each community were determined by Stake leaders who worked with local leaders to find opportunities that would be most beneficial. Some of the chosen projects included erecting reflective poles on roadsides, changing mosquito netting at a school, conducting blood donation campaigns, painting, tree planting, pothole filling, desilting of gutters, weeding, and lots of cleaning at community buildings and along roads.
In Sierra Leone, Emmanuel Nyorkor, CHO of the Wellington Community Health Center, told the participants that “our facility is now the cleanest in Freetown thanks to your efforts.” Rosalyn Kamara, head of Infection Prevention and Control in Freetown, shared her thanks. “My faith and belief have been strengthened today with the generous activities of the Church.”
While making relevant contributions to local communities is the goal of the service project, there are also great blessings for the participants. “We choose to serve because service can bring us great blessings during difficult times. We forget ourselves and our problems and think of others,” said Anyin Alfred, Stake President in Lagos Nigeria. Chioma Onuoha of the Abuja Wuse Stake said that everyone benefits from their service project at the Kara Primary Health Center. “Health is wealth and we chose to beautify the health center because it makes it a better place for all members of our community,” she said.
On the day of the service projects, the rain varied from drizzle to steady to heavy in most West African countries. However, that did not deter the thousands of participants from providing anywhere from 2-4 hours each of service in their communities. The ‘All Africa Service Project’ is a coordinated event held annually in August.