After the "Arab spring", Norwegian Lutheran Mission began looking at the potential for sending personnel to the Arab world. The decision was then made to send Christian professionals to North Africa.
North Africa is often referred to as the Maghreb, a term used to denote the part of Africa that lies west of the Nile and north of the Sahara desert. The term today generally refers to the states of West Sahara, Morocco, Algerie and Tunisia, sometimes also Libya and Mauritania.
North Africa is closed to traditional mission activities, but the countries do allow Christian professionals who can contribute to the development of the countries. Norwegian Lutheran Mission wishes to work in the region through through Christian professionals, development work and cooperation with local Christians.
Political changes have created many social issues in the region, with high unemployment rates and in some areas high levels of poverty. Norwegian Lutheran Mission cooperates with several organisations to improve living conditions for marginalised groups in the region.
Safety is also a pressing consern for the local population, due to frequent conflicts and terrorist activities.
North Africa plays a significant role in the history of early Christianity. The region was one of the main centres of the early church, and famous Christian figures such as Augustin, Cyprian and Tertullian all came from the area. It was in large part due to the influence of these leaders that Christianity's focus shifted from east to west and gradually also reached Norway.
Today, after several arab invasions throughout the centuries, there are almost no Christian believers left in the region. But a few still remain, particularly among the berber people.