A little boy that is standing in front of a faucet.


Project Mercy is an Ethiopian organization that empowers rural communities by addressing the holistic needs of every human being. Through a set of complementary programs, we focus on five areas of impact that catalyze thriving communities - education, health, nutrition, infrastructure and economic empowerment. Our approach is informed by the individuals we serve and is centered around community ownership and local government engagement. Whilst each of our programs stand independently, they all benefit from the mutual impact they have on society.

Celebrating over 45 years of impact, the organization was founded in 1977, by the late Marta Gabre-Tsadick, the first female Senator of Ethiopia, alongside her husband Demeke Tekle-Wold and their American friends, Fran and Chuck Dickinson.

The organization was initially set up to provide emergency relief aid and relocation and educational assistance to African refugees. In 1993, there was a transition to the current phase of the organization when the communist era fell in Ethiopia. Marta and Deme were invited to Yetebon - a remote kebele (county) in Ethiopia - by its elders. Alongside the elders, they launched a set of initiatives to address the challenges that the community faced. The elders invested their land into the program, as well as their time and knowledge. This was the beginning of the organization’s bottom-up approach.

Today, Project Mercy is led in Ethiopia by Bete Demeke, the son of Marta and Deme, who is continuing their legacy and building out the programs so that they transition to full community ownership.

About Us

Our Mission

A group of people washing their hands in a bucket.
To serve as a living example of Jesus Christ by transforming lives and empowering rural communities through improved education, health, nutrition, infrastructure and economic empowerment.

Our Mission

To serve as a living example of Jesus Christ by transforming lives and empowering rural communities through improved education, health, food security, infrastructure, and economic empowerment.

Our Values

A close up of a person holding something in their hands.A couple of men sitting on top of a wooden bench.A woman standing next to a group of children.A group of people are digging in the dirt.A woman standing in a doorway with her hands on her hips.A woman is holding a basket and a stick.
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Our team and leadership are positioned across Ethiopia and the United States. We have offices in Addis Ababa, ChaCha and Yetebon in Ethiopia, where our core leadership and program managers reside, as well as an advancement office in Fort Wayne, Indiana, in the United States.


Founded in 1977 by the late Marta Gabre-Tsadick, Demeke Tekle-Wold and Fran and Chuck Dickinson, Project Mercy is now in the second generation of family leadership.
Bete F. Demeke
President and CEO, Board Vice-Chairman
Bete Demeke is the President of Project Mercy, and Vice-Chairman of the Board of Directors. Prior to this, he worked with IBM as Vice President of Worldwide Sales. Bete holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and Systems Analysis from Taylor University and a Masters in Management from the Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University.
Lali Demeke
Special Projects Manager
Lali Demeke is the son of Project Mercy’s founders, Marta and Deme, and currently acts as a Special Projects Manager. Prior to joining the organization, he worked in the United States Air Force in logistics and operations at various bases in the US, Europe and Asia. Lali holds a Bachelor’s degree in Organizational Leadership from Indiana Institute of Technology. Lali is married to Wanda and they have two daughters.
Ethiopian staff
Dr. Degemu Shartaga
General Manager
Ato Assefa Batu
Monitoring and Evaluation Manager
Ato Kefle
Logistics and Administration 
Ato Kahen Melaku
Human Resources
Dr. Ferdaweke Mammo
Medical Director, Health 
Ato Tadele Habtu
Breeding Center Manager, ChaCha 
Ato Temesgen Abate
Extension Programe Manager, ChaCha
Ato Alemseged Mahteme
Site Manager, Yetebon
US staff
Lucy Roller
Office Manager
Betru Tekle-Wold
Ann Hightower
Barbara Slauter
Volunteer Coordinator
Kidan Alemishet
Database Manager
Spencer Roller
Digital Media Productions
Josh Patterson
Communications Specialist 
Megan Knowles
Database Coordinator