About Global Faith Partners
About Global Faith Partners
Global Faith Partners (GFP) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization with headquarters domiciled in the USA with a history in Tanzania Africa that began in 2005. Its original mission was to support the construction of an elementary school in the underserved rural community of Matamba, Tanzania. It also brought five faith leaders from Tanzania to the US and placed them with host families to help foster mutually beneficial people-to-people connections.
More recently, GFP has expanded its education and training mission to include a goal to facilitate the training of 5,000 Tanzanian workers with the skills to work on construction of the $35 billion Lindi LNG Plant planned for the Tanzanian coast near the town of Lindi, Tanzania.
Artist’s rendering provided by Equinor of the Lindi LNG plant and export facility planned by Tanzania off the East African coast.
Artist’s Rendering of Typical LNG Plant
Early Seeds in 1969
The seeds of inspiration for Global Faith Partners (GFP) were planted when its co-founder, Michael Vallez, spent the summer of 1969 working on a ranch in the rain forest of Venezuela, South America. Michael’s uncle was a mining engineer working for US Steel Corporation, managing the construction and operation of Cerro Bolivar, a large iron ore mine near the town of Ciudad Piar, Estado Bolivar, Venezuela. At the age of 16 in 1969, Michael shared a one room mud hut with a thatched roof and dirt floor with two young Venezuelan boys, Jose, and Hector.
Mike Vallez, Barefoot and Cooking Over a Fire, 1969
Jose, at the Mud Hut he Shared with Mike Vallez
The ranch did not have electricity, clean water, or refrigeration. The windows did not have screens on them. Water caught from the roof in large cans had to be boiled. Gathering firewood to cook with was a daily chore, so boiling water with firewood was no simple task. Often, water was consumed without boiling. Mike came down with dysentery that had to be medically treated. Mike was 20 pounds lighter and covered with bug bite marks all over his body when he returned to his family in Minnesota at the end of the summer.
The ranch work included building barbed wire fence through the thick rain forest, while facing threats including tarantulas, poisonous snakes, wild boars, and other pests he had never seen or heard of before. One day, a neighbor boy came by and asked for some food. While rubbing his stomach, Raul explained that he not eaten for three days. Mike shared some of his black beans, rice, and canned sardines.
Seeing Raul, hungry and without food, was a turning point in Mike Vallez’s young life. When he returned home to the US at the end of the summer, he visited the Catholic Missionary seminary of the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers. For a time, he considered a life of service in the field of missions, serving the poor in developing countries. But having grown up in a happy family with eight brothers and sisters, he eventually decided on the family life, and studied Civil Engineering. Since graduating from Michigan Technological University 1971, he has pursued a diversified career in engineering, construction, and then litigation consulting as a construction expert.
At the age of 52, feeling grateful after recovering from a life-threatening illness, Mike Vallez re-discovered his early desires to do what he could to alleviate hunger that he knew about firsthand. He reached out to various faiths in Minnesota where he lived and found a group of like-minded people to join hands and work together. Meeting every month, this coalition became known as Global Faith Partners. One thing led to another, and GFP became involved in working with Father Augustine Mbiche, a Catholic Priest in the town of Matamba, Tanzania. During a visit to Tanzania in 2005, Father Mbiche showed Mike Vallez a piece of land where he hoped to build an elementary school. Saint Monica’s Elementary School is now thriving, teaching subjects in English, with students scoring in the top 3% of nationally administered tests.
In 2019, Father Mbiche reached out to Mike Vallez and some of his other friends in the US to ask for support in building a secondary school for the kids who completed their work at St. Monica’s Elementary School. Mike Vallez and Nancy Halden then formally established GFP as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization to facilitate raising funds for the new school. Donors can now make tax deductible contributions to GFP. St. Monica’s Secondary School is currently under construction, and about 25% complete.
St. Monica’s Secondary School Classroom Blocks Under Construction
In 2022, GFP became aware of the progress on the $30 billion UDS / (70 trillion Tsh) liquid natural gas project near Lindi, Tanzania. Based on his career on large industrial projects, Mr. Vallez realized that this plant will require thousands of skilled, trained and educated workers. (Press reports indicate 15,000 workers needed.) After discussion with the GFP Board of Directors, a prompt decision was made to expand the mission of GFP and created the concept of the School-to-Work Program.
After conducting some research and making some initial contacts via email and mail, Mr. Vallez traveled to Tanzania in June of 2022 to find out more about the state of craft training in the Country. He visited some trade schools and met with the Minister of Education, Hon Adolf Mkenda, and Minister of Energy, Hon January Makamba.
With Hon January Makamba, Minister of Energy
Based on these positive meetings and his findings, a plan of action began to emerge. Two Tanzanians were added to Global Faith Partners Board of Directors, Pastor Michael Killagane and Mr. Dunford Mpelumbe, both noted below.
A plan for the School to Work Program evolved that involves three key elements:
- Bring a group of Tanzanian welders to the US for advanced training in competency-based welding.
- Identify a group of Tanzanian welding schools that can be modernized to support the expansion of competency-based training.
- Provide ongoing support to the men and women who complete their welding training and assist them with job placement in the local and international job market for certified welders.
In January 2023, GFP returned to Tanzania with its welding advisory team, a group of globally recognized welding and welding training experts from across the United States and South Africa. Working with six existing welding schools, this team interviewed 50 candidates to participate in the US welding training. Most of these candidates were already welding instructors working in these schools.
Welding Advisory Team with Welding Students at VETA School in Lindi, Tanzania
Mike Vallez and GFP Welding Advisory Team with Hon Adolf Mkenda, Minister of Energy and Dr. Noel Mbonde
Back row, from left to right: Pastor Michael Killagane; Sibusiso Mpapane, Metallurgical Engineer and Welding Contractor; Ryan Eubank, Welding Consultant, Director and Educator; Nick Price, Welding Program Director, Educator; Dr. Noel Mbonde, Director of Technical Education and Vocational Training.
With Mr. Anthony Kasore, Director General of VETA (Oversees 43 existing training centers with 23 under construction) Left to Right: Mike Vallez, Anthony Kasore, Ryan Eubank, Nick Price, Sibusiso Mpapane
Welding school modernization will involve training centers located in some of the major population centers across Tanzania, to provide access to a broad cross section of Tanzanian workers that will be needed to complete the Lindi LNG Project and other planned developments in the Country.
Global Faith Partners is partnering with existing trade schools in the VETA system, and the Don Bosco organization.
VETA Home Page:
Don Bosco Oyster Bay:
Don Bosco Dodoma:
Proposed Training Centers, School-to-Work Program
Global Faith Partners is governed by a board of directors, currently including the following.
Michael J Vallez, Chairman of the Board
Mr. Vallez is the founder, Chairman, and Executive Director of Global Faith Partners (GFP). He is also a highly respected international construction project management and claims consultant. Mr. Vallez has over 40 years of hands-on and leadership experience in project management, engineering / construction management, cost and schedule control, change management, claims, and dispute resolution.
Mr. Vallez earned a BS Degree in Civil Engineering from Michigan Technological University, and an MBA from the University of Utah.
Nancy Halden, Board Member
Nancy Halden is a molecular biologist and owner of Getting to Granted, a grant writing service that works with non-profit organizations to help fund their projects by seeking grant funds from charitable foundations. She has been successful in supporting the growth of several non-profit organizations by securing key strategic funding from foundations in multiple sectors.
Nancy earned dual BA degrees in English and Biology from Rice University in Houston Texas, and a MS degree in Molecular Biology/Genetics from the University of Utah.
Dunford G. Mpelumbe, Board Member
Dunford G. Mpelumbe is a leading human rights lawyer and advocate of the High Court in Tanzania currently working with the Parliament of Tanzania as clerk assistant, serving at the Constitutional and Legal Affairs Standing Committee of the Parliament. He is also a partner in charge of Business Development at MMK Advocates a leading law firm in Dodoma, the Capital of Tanzania. He has vast experience in research, consultancy and training spanning over ten years and has worked with several institutions in and outside Tanzania including the International Criminal Court, United Nations Inter-regional Crime and Justice Research Institute, United Nations Development Program, Lawyers Environmental Action Team, Tanzania Parliamentary Women Group and Asylum Access Tanzania to mention but a few. He has a master’s degree in Human Rights Practice (2012, Sweden, UK and Norway) and a master’s in international Relations (2010, Sweden.)
Michael Killagane, Board Member
Michael Killagane is a highly regarded professional and has an extensive background in human resource and general management for leading domestic and international organizations operating in Tanzania. He has worked with government, private organizations as well as NGO’s including a Christian NGO. Being a self-driven, self-motivated, talented, intelligent, innovative, loyal, trustworthy, and hardworking, Michael can contribute to the fullest in accomplishing organizational objectives. He has a passion for business that provides an opportunity to grow in faith-based service to others, and work as part of a team with people of diverse backgrounds to accomplish strategic objectives. He is a passionate networker and driven by the desire to make a difference and have an impact by the work he does.
Mr. Killagane earned a Bachelor of Public Administration in 2003 from Mzumba University in Morogoro, Tanzania; a Master of Arts in Public Administration from the University of Dodoma in 2010; and a Master of Divinity, (MDiv) from Ministerial Global University in 2021.
Barbara Gentry, Board Member
Barbara Gentry is a retired schoolteacher and administrator. She specialized in biological sciences with a strong interest in environmental studies. She currently is on the board of the Gun Violence Prevention Center and the Global Faith Partners. She is active in her local Presbyterian church and enjoys sports of many types.
Barbara earned B.S. Degree from Utah State University in 1976, and a M.A from Western Governors University in 2009. MEd from the University of Utah in 2011.
Marie Allen, Board Member
Although Marie Allen is a retired schoolteacher, she continues to each in various capacities in the community. Since visiting Tanzania in 2008, she has been an advocate for Global Faith Partners, helping to establish a partnership between her church in Wisconsin and one in Ifakara, Tanzania.
Marie earned a B.S. Degree in Elementary Education from the University of Wisconsin – River Falls and an M.S. In Guidance and Counseling from the University of Wisconsin-Stout
Brian Singer, Board Member
Brian spent 2 years in Tanzania as a math teacher with the Peace Corps. Since that time, he has returned to East Africa more than twenty-five times while guiding charitable groups and starting Project Zawadi. He has a graduate degree in Social Change and Development and has spent more than 15 years assisting low-income entrepreneurs in the USA.
He has more than 20 years’ experience lending to small businesses while also running a non-profit organization and a small business. Skilled in Nonprofit Organizations, Public Speaking, Fundraising, Economic Development, and Program Development. Strong finance professional with a Master of Arts in Social Change & Development from The Johns Hopkins University – Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS).
Michael Vallez, P.E., MBA
Chairman and Executive Director, Global Faith Partners
5626 South Calann Drive
Holladay, Utah 84121 USA