The Gondar Development and Cooperation Organization (GDCO) is a non-political, non-profit making, U.S. based non-governmental organization founded and incorporated in Washington, DC, in 1992 by Ethiopians living in the diaspora with the aim of improving the socio-economic situation of the people of Ethiopia. Aware of the enormous size of the country and its population, the Organization decided to focus on the development of the Gondar region and its surroundings, hence the name GDCO. Gondar region, formerly known as Begemidir and Semien province, is located in northwest of Ethiopia with a population of over 5 million.

Its capital city, Gondar, was once the capital city of Ethiopia, founded in 1636 by Emperor Fasiladas. It became a center for culture, high level ecclesiastical learning, trade and commerce with trade links with the Middle East, India and Europe. The city features numerous palaces, castles, churches and a library, all of which date back to the 17th century. But today things are different. The region's ecosystem is destabilized and its once-abundant flora and fauna mercilessly destroyed; rich and fertile lands as well as mountain terrain have become eroded and infertile, with perilous economic ramifications. Such dire situations calls for an urgent and concerted effort in sustained development by all concerned.

Vision

Prosperity and an improved standard of living for the residents of the Gondar region.

Mission Statement

Create harmonious relationships among Gondares, so that they may pool their resources and respective areas of expertise towards meaningful relief, rehabilitation and development projects in the Gondar region.

Strategic Objectives

1. To encourage and facilitate the establishment of GDCO member organizations (chapters) wherever groups of Gondaris reside.

2. To initiate, encourage, promote, and support local community development initiatives in the Gondar Region.

3. To play an advocacy role in the fight to preserve and promote Gondar's cultural heritage.
4. To use members' resources, as well as those of other interested and concerned parties and organizations, to fund rehabilitation and development programs in the Gondar Region.

5. To develop close working relationships with Gondar Relief, Rehabilitation and Development Association (GRRDA) offices in Addis Ababa and Gondar as well as befriend and co-operate with other development-oriented organizations in Ethiopia and elsewhere.

Immediate Tasks

1. Continue and expand the Educational/scholarship program.

2. Strengthen tertiary learning institutions (universities, colleges, etc.) in the Gondar Region through secondment programs (i.e. through deployment of academicians/scholars, donations of textbooks, computers, etc.).

What Has Been Done So Far?

1. Many Gondaris have been brought together under an umbrella organization dedicated to unity and solidarity.

2. The Scholarship Program was initiated in 1996 to encourage outstanding students among 11th and 12th graders who lacked the resources to continue their education. The program began its first year by assisting 76 students from 20 different high schools. Then, the next year (1997) the number of students receiving help was raised to 105, a level which held steady until 2003. During this time, the financial support provided to GDCO scholarship winners remained a mere Birr 60(US $7) per month. But in 2004 the program was transformed both in scale and quality. The number of recipients was increased to 150 and the financial support raised to Birr 75 (US $9) per month, for ten months every year. As this program is appreciated at the receiving end as well as by donors here in the USA, it is likely to continue and expand.