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A Case of a Transformational Urban Mission

Author: Emmanuel M. Luna
Date: 16.09.2010
Category: Cities

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Originally Posted in English

A Case on Transformational Urban Mission: The Community Development Program of the Ethiopian Kale Heywet Church[1]

Increasing urbanization presents a major issue of concern in Ethiopia, given the rapid urbanization taking place it its major urban centers such as Addis Ababa. The effects of natural population growth, growing rural-urban migration with concomitant urban problems associated with poor management, lack of infrastructure, inadequate service delivery is typical of urban poverty today. Re-current drought is also adding to the number of people migrating to urban areas.


In addressing the needs of the urban poor, the Integrated Urban Development Department (IUDD) of the Ethiopian Kale Heywet Church (EKHC) started the Nazareth Community Empowerment and Development Programme (NCED) in 2002. A year after, a new model was adopted where the local churches became implementing partners, known as the Church and Community Mobilization for Development (CCMD). This project intended to improve the livelihood of the destitute community members through community empowerment and development model called Self Help Group (SHG) approach where in the direct beneficiaries are the poor and very poor women who came from low income groups, mostly unskilled, majority are illiterates, with low health profile and high prevalence of HIV/AIDS. The project was the first of its kind ever. This work now receives financial support from both Tearfund UK and Kinder Not Hilfe (KNH).

The CCMD aimed at reducing vulnerability and poverty in the urban areas by empowering 12,400 poor people through community mobilization, capacity building and Self Help Group approach. The objective of organizing self help groups (SHGs) is to empower the poor and poorest community households and to enhance their livelihood and to bring change in the overall goal of holistic development. Nineteen (19) local churches and 45 church staff were mobilized for the project.

Development Impact


An evaluation of the programme had enhanced social security mechanisms such as a new way of thinking on savings among the beneficiaries, resulting in the accumulation of capital which the beneficiaries were able to get as loan. By investing in small scale livelihood projects, the SHG members gained economic benefits and were able to improve their household in terms providing the basic need for food, shelter, education of children and other needs. They testified that the programme have helped build their self- esteem and confidence. The women were empowered and there was improvement in gender relation. Spiritually, the programmes were able to link people of different faith such as the Muslim, the Orthodox and the Protestants. The participating local churches themselves were impacted by the CCMD programme. It opened up new avenues for reaching out to the largely morally, spiritually, emotionally, psychologically destitute people that the church is called to serve. It has also improved community perception and relations with the local church. The church’s concern for the poor has opened up bridge into the community and facilitated better services by the local government to the poor.

Keywords: Urban Mission, Ethiopia, Tranformation

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Reply Flag 0 Thumbs Up Thumbs Down Moses_Alagbe (2)  

Thanks Dr. Luna. I believe this can be duplicated in many African and Asian countries.

Reply Flag 0 Thumbs Up Thumbs Down Pete_Houston (7)
South Africa
@ Moses_Alagbe:

Algabe, I agree.  It would go down very well in Southern Africa too.  Dr Luna, have case studies been written up or are there any other articles we can learn from?


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