Since early1970’s, EKHCDC has been intensively and extensively involved in relief, rehabilitation and integrated development programs targeting the regions such as Amhara, Oromia, Southern Regional State, etc. There are different development activities being run by the organization, including activities related to water and sanitation, HIV/AIDS and Health, training and education, self-help group, relief and rehabilitation, rural development, and female genital mutilation (FGM). As a result of the implementation of these activities, millions of people, directly and/or indirectly, benefit.
EKHCDC is an efficient organization in terms of resource utilization. The reason behind for such an efficiency is that the church has an extra –ordinary infrastructures across the country that include more than 8000 local churches, hundreds of bible schools, offices built by the church in different parts of the country, etc. The church also mobilizes a large number of volunteers for different development initiatives. For example, today all the 8000 local churches are available for the literacy program; there are offices free of charge for any local church-based development initiatives.
On the other hand, EKHCDC-DP has got a long reputation in the areas such as health, education, and water and sanitation. Recently (in the last 8-10 years), its large-scale engagement in prevention and control of HIV/AIDS and FGM (female genital mutilation) as well as mobilizing local communities into effective self-help groups have given the church a high profile both nationally and internationally.
C. Local and international partners
One of the greatest resources of EKHCDC in the process of its development activities is the local partners involved in proving different inputs including knowledge and skills. The local and regional relevant government offices are major stakeholders in facilitating the whole development processes maintaining the outcomes of such processes by owning both (the processes and outcomes) alongside EKHCDC-DP. EKHCDC-DP often receives important supports—such as technical, materials (for example , allowing duty free imports) and overall security— to effectively implement its programs and projects across the country.
There are also highly important interest groups who have been working with us in different sectorial areas: water and sanitation, HIV/AIDS, FGM, for example, are but some to mention. Such interest groups include faith-based organizations and associations (including Evangelical Fellowship of Ethiopia), women’s associations, National Committee on harmful traditional practices of Ethiopia (or now called EGLDA), etc. At the grass root-level, EKHCDC works with the communities at the Kebele and house hold levels, schools, churches and mosques, Idirs, etc., involving different communities in their own development processes . For example, in the case of prevention of female circumcision EKHCDC works with 500 Kebeles in ten districts, hundreds of schools, more than 3000 local churches and mosque, and hundreds of Idirs and anti-FGM uncircumcised girls clubs.
Approaches in use
Different approaches are being in use by different programs and departments depending on their various activities and geographic target areas. Some of these are highlighted as follows.
- Working relationship with the communities get established through the government offices and sometimes through the local churches. The community and political leadership has got a vital role to play in creating a conducive environment to initiate different community-based development programs. For example, water and sanitation program requires requests to come first directly from potential beneficiary communities via the church or government offices. Then, working through the established official structure continues until the community mobilization and education teams enter the community one week prior to the start of installing the infrastructure for potable water.
- To address relief and emergency issues, EKHCDC-DP opens feeding and food aid distribution centers in those already identified hot spot areas by the Disaster Prevention and Preparedness of the regional and national government office. Nevertheless, EKHCDC-DP collects fresh data and compile and share the findings with its partners to effect their supports. At times, EKHCDC-DP uses labor intensive approaches (such as road constructions, soil and water conservation as well as tree planting through food for work programs) in order to encourage the local community remain engaged in their own development.
- The local community’s participation is key approach that is often used to help them identify their needs and priorities. Such participation is enhanced through working with the local community institutions such as schools, Kebeles , churches, mosques, and Idirs. Hundreds of churches, Idirs, and mosques are actively involved in the prevention and control of HIV/AIDS and FGM, for example.
- In terms of child-care and support, EKHCDC-DP uses both institution-and community-based approaches. The needs of orphans and vulnerable children are meet through sponsorship programs that provide educational supports, medical care, and basic assistances including
- food and clothing. On the other hand, the children cared for by the centers are provided with food, clothing, shelter and medical care.
- Building the local community capacity through training, workshops, and discussion forums so that the community at large acquire the general awareness on its plight and take charge of what is happening on it behalf. In this connection, EKHCDC-DP organizes, for example, committees, volunteers, and clubs to effectively mobilize the members of community towards achieving set goals. Today, there are thousands of volunteers being used in the effort of prevention and control of HIV/AIDS and FGM. In addition, hundreds of thousands of school age children receive first hand literacy and numeracy programs being run by the local churches using volunteers. Therefore, since the last ten or so years, the community access and awareness of information regarding health and sanitation, child education in general and girl-child education in particular, prevention and eradication of harmful traditional practices (including FGM), etc has been remarkably improved.
- EKHCDC-DP also uses mass media, especially radio (FM) programs and occasionally TV to disseminate information on its plans, activities, and achievements. Again, information is being transmitted through its current structure starting from the Head Office to the local churches. The Ethiopian Kale Heywet Church has got 8,000 local churches and more than 7,500,000 members across the country are being used as church media to trickle-down important information via them to the larger community.