Ethiopia Ministry Highlight

[Annual Report 2011-2012] Focus Countries


Review of 2011 to 2012

In the second half of 2011, south-east part of Ethiopia was hit by the most serious drought and famine in 60 years as the country experienced the impact of climate change. The victims lost their livestock and crops. 3.5 million people were affected. In partnership with local Christian groups, CEDAR’s partner Tearfund UK provided emergency relief in Borena zone.

15,000 people were benefited from the drought relief

In our children ministry we emphasise our walk with sponsored children and their parents in an equal relationship(relationship or partnership?). We are delighted by our partner Addis Ababa Guenet Church (AAGC)’s new approach. On top of providing basic needs to impoverished children, AAGC is now helping the parents to form self-help savings groups. Some of the groups have achieved good saving target. The parents are very exciting with the accumulated saving records and have gained hope on the future.

7 parents self-help savings groups were formed in 2011

Prospect in the Coming Year

In the coming ministry year, CEDAR will focus on responding to the need of impoverished children families and the challenge of climate change. Partner AAGC will start business training and micro-credit loans among parents saving groups to lend money to different group members at low-interest rate for developing their livelihoods, with the hope that at the end parents can meet the needs of the children.

For the climate change, CEDAR supports partner Tearfund UK to start a post-disaster rehabilitation project in Borena zone, including provision of livestock, training on cultivating the high-productive agricultural products, set up of water system, organisation of self-help groups and farmers’ cooperative for sales and marketing, to help local impoverished families to recover from the drought and enhance their ability on fighting against the impact of drought and climate change.

7,000 people will be benefited from the drought rehabilitation 

Tracy’s Sharing

‘I thought that the Ethiopian are very nice and full of life-force. Although their livings are very desperate, they always encourage, support and help each other. For example, the drought victims will share their food aids freely with other victims, and the saving group members will try to help each other if any one of them cannot pay the deposit of that month. They do not want to be aid receivers only, but wish that they themselves can be self-reliant and get involved to improve and develop the livelihoods of their communities as well. What they need is the opportunity to develop their potentials.’


After the exposure monitoring trips and discussions in the past two years, according to a series of measurement, such as the human development index (HDI), Gini coefficient, political and social stability, uniqueness and the possibility of monitoring project, we have finally chosen Ethiopia, Zimbabwe, India, Nepal, Myanmar and China to be the focus countries for our projects.

Challenges and Breakthroughs in Development Work | LEE Po Ki, Kate

[ “SHARE” Sept-Oct 2012 – An Eye-Opening Experience of Poverty ] CEDAR’S BLOGGER

Author> LEE Po Ki, Kate, Project Supervisor (Disaster Management & Risk Reduction)

The happiest thing about engaging in development work is witnessing lives being changed. The Brazilian educationist Paulo Freire pointed out that education is the way to individual and social construction. Similarly, development work challenges the existing thinking of society and individuals, including the development workers themselves.

In recent years I have been working in projects in Gansu, China, and have seen the changes in the women there. These women are seldom in control of family wealth and possessions. They are illiterate and stay in their home-village all their lives. Their talents are buried by the social culture of male superiority. What we do is to nurture the women’s talents and build their self-confidence. After many years of unrelenting effort through literacy classes, leadership training, small loans, and health & hygiene education, the women have grown in their capabilities and self-confidence. They have even represented the village in negotiations with the government, successfully set up farmers’ cooperatives.

‘A year does not pass without some disaster’, many villagers used to say. A few years ago I met a minister from Nujiang, Yunnan, at a disaster prevention project. He felt it impossible for his poor minority community to deal with natural disasters. The disaster management workshop changed his thinking–-he recognised that they suffer mostly from fires and rainstorms which occur at particular times of the year. Further, he learned to make use of community resources for disaster prevention, e.g. during the dry season, volunteer mountain rangers watch out for forest fires; in rainy season, villagers who understand Putonghua will relay news of impending rainstorms. He told us, ‘Disasters can actually be prevented by enhancing disaster combat ability and eliminating the weak links.’

As a development worker, I can also be restricted by my own presumptions. The destitute households in Chinese villages are mostly aged and diseased, and I naturally thought that the most we could do for them was to give them rice and cooking oil during Chinese New Year. But workers at the Gansu project site showed me otherwise. They specially invited these destitute householders to be the changemakers to learn and then demonstrate how to corral sheep. An elderly couple told us, ‘We are the demonstration unit, so naturally we are to lead the villagers in corralling.’ They do not see themselves as receiving help but being a part of facilitating development. Their empowerment makes me understand that it is not the projects that build ability but we already have it in ourselves, and it can be applied to change for good if we give it space and opportunity.

I thank the women, the ethnic minority groups and the rural destitute householders for opening my eyes to their development. I hope to continue learning to challenge the old in me and in society, and that I will walk with the poor more appropriately.

CEDAR’S BLOGGER allows members of CEDAR staff to talk about their work, life and reflections.