Hope Center for Children with Disabilities

See the photos above!


Across Africa development has been slow and often people with disabilities never find help or support for those needs.  This fact rings true in Ethiopia where only ONE mental/physical disability hospital exist for over 89 million people.  After a lot of prayer and conversations with the local government officials, GoDesign and our local partner VWDO decided to conduct a survey of the disability needs where we are working.  In this particular zone they estimate a population of around 36,000 people of that the survey showed that 1500 children under the age of 18 in this zone had either a mental or physical disability that prevented them from participating the school or any other community activities.



After being overwhelmed by these statistics we decided to act.  This year GoDesign will be designing and constructing the Hope Center for Children with Disabilities to serve as a physical example of how to care for these forgotten people.  This project is larger than all previous 8 projects combined.  Please join us in prayer and consider supporting our effort to build this project over the next 2 years.

Dilla Multipurpose School Building

Completed November 2012


In October of 2011 GoDesign partnered with Impact Ethiopia to act as a donor organization in the design and construction of a school in Dilla, Ethiopia. This project was constructed as an example of how to use alternative materials in the construction of buildings in southern Ethiopia. Three pits were dug on site providing dirt which were used as the primary building material. Dirt was then compacted inside of forms with tamps made of concrete. This construction process is called rammed earth construction.

Housing Prototype

Completed 15 day design-build project


In the summer of 2012 GoDesign came across a family in great need. The family (the guard for the Dilla project) consisted of a husband and wife, three children, two goats and a chicken. The father is uneducated and unemployed and the mother recently completed the eighth grade at the age of 29. When we met this family they lived in a 4m x 4m house made of mud that was about to fall over. In this house the family of 5 and the animals shared one twin mattress.  This family was living on the site of the Dilla multipurpose building and was guarding the property in exchange for a place to live.  The housing prototype idea was born after meeting this family.  How could we build a prototype house that anyone in the community could study and apply our building concepts to their future houses.  This house was not given to the family but used as an example for the community on how to construct alternative housing.Our goal was to build a home that could house this family and their animals. Because they had no power, natural light was important in the design concept.As we began to design the house it became apparent that in addition to natural light, water was another key issue that needed to be addressed. Most families must bring water to their home from the local water source, this can be expensive for the typical family in rural Ethiopia. GoDesign applied a butterfly roof to the house allowing for the collection of rain water. This water can be used for washing of clothes, bathing, and for cleaning needs.

Komame Kindergarten

Completed November 2012


The northern region of Ethiopia is known to be one of the hottest and driest places on earth. The people here are nomadic and follow their herds in search for water. According to VWDO, a local NGO working with these people; only 10% of the school aged children have an opportunity to attend school. In many towns in this region there are no schools. Where you find schools the education level is very poor, so poor that most families are not willing to send their children. Because of the hot and dry climate most buildings in this area are very uncomfortable to inhabit during the day. Due to this issue people take advantage of whatever breeze and shade may be found outside. The goal for this project was to create classrooms that would be comfortable for the children throughout the day and would use as many local materials as possible. The nearest market was a two hour drive, which would make many materials very expensive. We decided to use rock as the primary building material due to its abundance in the region. Due to being constructed in an earthquake zone, the building has large vertical columns and horizontal concrete bracing for extra support. The large rock walls have great thermal mass which keeps this building about 15 degrees cooler than other buildings in this region.

Kore Housing Prototype

Completed November 2013


Traditional residential methods of wottle and dob have been replicated for decades.  The construction involves weaving wood together then filling it with a mud based compound. Locals were facing issues with termite damage as the wood mud mixture made a perfect home for termites.  The average life of a home built with this method in the region is 10-15 years.

GoDesign introduced a new kind of construction that uses the cheap and readily available material – dirt. Designed and constructed to assist the local government in their efforts to offer alternative ideas, without adding wooden structural elements into the dirt.  This prototype has two separate structure systems.  The walls are self-supported by the stacking of earthbags with barb wire running between each layer.  A separate column system supports the roof.  The windows float above the earthbags and attach to the roof system.  Once the earthbags are stacked they are covered with a concrete plaster to prevent the sun from destroying the bags. 

50 for 50 project

Completed November 2014


John DuRant became a supporter of GoDesign in 2012 and soon thereafter decided he wanted to help GoDesign build a school.  John planned to run 50 miles on his 50th birthday to raise money for the the project.  After pitching this idea to GoDesign’s founder, Scott Jackson, they launched plans to build the school in one of the neediest areas in the country. 


50 for 50 Video


GoDesign used local rocks in the construction of this project, a material readily available. A few modifications to the design, to cut cost and to improve the thermal qualities of the building were made from a previous GoDesign structure in the building.  This building shares the same design as the Matthew Courtright Memorial Project.

Matthew Courtright Memorial High School

Completed October 2014


"Before he brewed beer, Matthew received his Master of Architecture from Savannah College of Art and Design. He also had a huge heart for serving others and sharing the message of Christ. In May 2013, along with a group of his closest friends and SCAD alum, Matthew teamed up with GoDesign to help build a school in Ethiopia. He was excited to combine his experience in architecture with his desire to help others all while sharing the Gospel. Being a part of this mission trip to Ethiopia truly was part of God’s plan for him, and the rest is still unfolding.” -- Matthew's family

GoDesign founder, Scott Jackson, along with fellow SCAD architecture alumni Matthew Courtright, Luke Hellkamp, Christina Royall, Coty Ekhoff Sandberg and Lisa Gallant worked together for several months drawing up plans in preparation to build a housing duplex.

The project was located in the southern town of Dilla next to a school that GoDesign had constructed the previous year. The goal was to use local tools and native building techniques to build a residential unit that could house the teachers of the school. During the 12 day experience the group saw the beginning of the construction but was also engaged in the lives of the people in the area sharing in coffee ceremonies and ministry.

“Not everyone was created to be a pastor, teacher, doctor, or nurse- but everyone was created go. Scott and the team at GoDesign Inc have given us as designers a chance to use our gifts/abilities to impact the impoverished around the world..” – Luke


After the unexpected passing of Matthew in August 2013 a memorial fund was set up the family. With the funds given, GoDesign was able to build a school in Ethiopia in his memory.  This is only the 5th high school in a region of 1.75 million people.  The design is very similar to the 50 for 50 school as GoDesign continues to teach the locals the value of local materials and the benefit to large thermal mass.  We would like to thank the family and friends as well as Stone Brewing for the outpouring of support to construct this project.

Courtright video

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