About Us

We are The Community Project, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, partnering with Engineers Without Borders to build three key elements of community in Debre Birhan, Ethiopia:

  • A school (K-8, for 1,000-1,200 kids)
  • A community center/workforce training center (to serve about 4,000 people)
  • A community garden

Ethiopia: A Country in Need

According to the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI), low rates of education are the leading cause of poverty in Ethiopia. Too few schools and low school attendance rates — together — are the largest contributors to Ethiopia’s overall poverty.

As a result, Ethiopia is the second-poorest of 103 countries in the world.

In the area where we are building, 76% of the population are living on just $2 a day.

Debre Birhan also suffers with malnutrition and child mortality rates. With our building of a school, community center and garden we can help elevate education and health and promote economic self-sufficiency.

A Global Perspective

We are committed to supporting the United Nations Millennium Development Goals adopted by 189 countries:

  1. Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
  2. Achieve universal primary education
  3. Promote gender equality and empower women
  4. Ensure environmental sustainability
  5. Develop a global partnership for development

Join our Team!

We are in groundbreaking phase!  Please contact us about upcoming volunteer opportunities in-country or to sponsor a school-block or other aspect of our project. The Community Project: Ethiopia is working hand-in-hand with the local community, who have enthusiastically pledged their volunteer labor and formed a Community Development Committee to steer the project from the community’s perspective. Families are invested in the partnership from planning to implementation.


Because people need education and community to support each other, raise their families, face hard times, share good ones, and grow.

What and Where?

The Community Project: Ethiopia and Engineers Without Borders are coming into a high-plateau area (elev. 9,200 ft.) where Habitat for Humanity has built a village of 600 homes, just outside Debre Birhan, Ethiopia (pop. 110,000). The Community Project saw a need for education for the entire community (estimated at about 4,000) and stepped up. We will be building our school, community center, and garden on a 10-acre parcel given to us by the local municipal government.

Debre Birhan, Ethiopia (pronounced Deb-rey, Bur-hahn) is located about a 3-hours drive north east of the capital of Addis Ababa.


The Community Project, founded by Colleen Kaleda and Angelique Smith, is an organization working to bring the benefits of community to people in developing countries. Engineers Without Borders is partnering with us to build the project. Engineers Without Borders (EWB) is a large U.S. nonprofit organization headquartered in Denver, Colorado. EWB chapters are located all over the United States, and take on individual projects all over the world. Members are professional engineers from all disciplines. Our project, because it is so large, has been “adopted” by two amazing EWB chapters — Portland, Maine and Portland, Oregon (Portland State University). Both chapters have won awards for their outstanding work in various parts of the developing world. All EWB members — whether professionals or students — are volunteers, taking time out of their busy lives to lend their engineering expertise to help others in need around the world.

The project is directed by Colleen Kaleda and Angelique Smith with input and advisement of the local Ethiopian community leadership — which includes the village leader (a respected teacher), the Mayor of Debre Birhan, and officials from the Ethiopian Ministry of Education. A Community Development Committee has also been set up to provide oversight to the project. We will also be hiring a local Ethiopian project manager (paid) to oversee the project during and in-between EWB implementation work-trips.


Donate! Your tax-deductible donations are needed for the project to continue to completion. For more information, contact us at info@communityproject.org

Donation checks can be made out to “The Community Project: Ethiopia” and mailed to either of our two offices in Columbus, Ohio, and Portland, Oregon:

Columbus Office: 506 North Parkview Ave., Columbus, OH 43209
Portland Office: 5236 NE 29th Ave. Portland, OR 97211

Donations can also be made by credit card by clicking on the secure donation buttons on our web site. Whether electronic or check, The Community Project will send you a letter acknowledging your tax-deductible donation.


Thank you!