Background Of EKHCDC
The Ethiopian Kale Heywet Church (EKHC) was established in 1928 with the vision of reaching all peoples in Ethiopia and beyond with the Good News of the Gospel so that they may be empowered spiritually, socially and psychologically. The early believers of the church therefore were equipped with the mission of the church to preach the Gospel voluntarily, to disciple and to address various needs of the community targeted. Indeed, proclaiming the Good News and addressing the people in various needs were intermingled from the very beginning of the church. As a result, many were coming to the Kingdom of God, the fellowship of the church and therefore, the church grew fast and became one of the largest evangelical churches in Ethiopia. According to the annual report of the year 2018 (unpublished), the church has 10 million members in nationwide, organized in 11 zonal units, about 150 church districts and over 9,500 local churches.
It has been the tradition of the Ethiopian Kale Heywet Church since its establishment to carry out the outreach ministry of the Gospel and community development activities hand in hand to alleviate the spiritual and physical needs of the people. The church was providing literacy and basic education programs in formal and non-formal basis, household and environment sanitation, personal hygiene and health services, in-kind and cash contributions to support the needy community members (widows, orphans, disabled, aged, disaster-affected, poor and displaced), constructing local roads and spring cleaning, constructing houses for marginalized community members. These were some of the development activities that the church was engaging in each local congregation by using local resources. It was a gate way for evangelizing the whole people with the Good News of the Gospel. Later on, the church’s self-supported development activities in local units have been organized in its full package of Ethiopian Kale Heywet Church Development Program (EKHCDP) in the head office level in the mid of 1970’s following the serous drought occurred in the northern parts of the country. The aim was to address the needs of the people affected by drought and henceforth the church has been engaging in a large scale of development interventions in nexuses of humanitarian response and long-term development program segregated into many components by using a large amount of external supports from international partners only. The programs got more attention by the communities in different regions of the country, the government and international funding partners. Consequently, many international faith-based organizations joined EKHCDP to fully fund all its development programs designed under units of projects implemented in many regions of the country.
Thus, the development wing of the church /EKHCDP was engaging in potable water, hygiene and sanitation, health services and HIV/AIDS, education and child development, agriculture, small scale irrigation and food security, income generating activities and SHG promotions, disaster response and rehabilitation. All the programs were designed into various short and long-term projects to meet the predefined objectives of the church with particular focuses on development interventions.
Few years ago, the government changed its policy proclaimed in the proclamation No. 621/2009 with respect to charities and societies organizations. Following the change, EKHCDP was organized as Ethiopian Kale Heywet Church Development Commission (EKHCDC) and registered as a separate and legal entity by the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia Charities and Societies Agency (CSA) with a certificate number 1218 issued on the 16th of August 2016. Since then, EKHCDC has been known as a legally registered and licensed resident charity and continued functioning the development programs in accordance with the new regulations and policies of the government. Recently the government brought up to date the proclamation as charities and societies organization (CSO) with its No.1113/2019 and revised it with few changes but the basics of the proclamation remained the same.
EKHCDC through its rich experience has employed a number of development approaches as a strategy to tackle poverty in the urban and rural settings. One of such approaches is the self-help approach–an approach that underlines the power to challenge and reduce poverty is within the communities themselves through employing their resources and their effort to bring about self-sufficiency. The SHG Approach is a holistic approach which, when implemented according to the principles, leads to social, economic and capacity empowerment for the individual and the community. Self Help Approach targets at alleviating poverty by providing standard trainings to the poorest of poor community using their own local resources and mobilizing skilled volunteers within their specific areas and vicinities. It is a bottom-up approach which builds up peoples’ existing capabilities and strengths. Beneficiaries can be organized into self-help groups, which practice social and economic empowerment schemes. The Self Help Group exercise group saving and credit, group leadership, business development and management, environmental conservation and involvement in higher level cluster associations. The cluster level associations channel trainings and link with different development actors to facilitate different enquiries for their community. The EKHCDC intends successive activities that help the community organizations attain their objectives. Accordingly, establishing and Strengthening SHGs and CLAs, training the community on federation concepts, registering SHGs as basic business and social entities, and establishing the Federation as the union of SHGs and training for the community on business development ideas are the main activities that the project is going to conduct.