Our mission is to help indigenous peoples build resilience and adapt to their changing world with the vision of ending chronic poverty and dependence.


Our work now focuses on orphaned and abandoned children we have cared for since 2011, providing them a change for a healthy life. While helping individual children is significant and meaningful, our long-term goal is to educate and empower them to become future leaders of their people.

Tribal Traditions equate large families with wealth. In the past more children meant more people able to work. The reality the tribes face today is that frequent births mean unhealthy mothers and underfed and unhealthy children.

Same GTLI children in 2022
The children in 2022
Some of the GTLI children in 2017
Some of our children in 2017

Our Work

GTLI works in the horn of Africa, in the South Omo Zone of Ethiopia. The more than 700,000 pastoralists who live there have traditionally followed their livestock in search of grazing grounds. Today climate change and socioeconomic forces have dramatically reduced the lands available to them and altered their way of life. The South Omo Zone is in the southwest corner of Ethiopia, where the Omo River runs through Africa's Great Rift Valley.

Since 2009 we have helped more than 75,000 indigenous people in Ethiopia adapt to their changing world. We collaborate with pastoralist tribes, engaging people in conversations and activities to explore their problems and create sustainable healthy lives for themselves. Our projects are gender sensitive and integrated across multiple areas of impact. We work to build the resilience of people profoundly affected by changes in climate and socioeconomic conditions.



GTLI was founded in 2007 by Lori Pappas, a software entrepreneur who traveled extensively in Africa after early retirement. Shocked by the epidemic levels of poverty and frustrated by the lack of sustainable development work, Lori decided to apply her entrepreneurial skills and resources to the problem.

GTLI has consistently demonstrated our ability to deliver innovative and culturally appropriate solutions in partnership with local stakeholders. Our community engagement approach pays attention to how people think, the influence of their culture, and the constraints of the society at large. GTLI invests in the communities where we work, training and employing emergent leaders to build and sustain a healthy and hopeful future for their people.