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ACTIONAID - Ethiopia is an international NGO dedicated to the proposition that poverty can be substantially reduced and ultimately eradicated, with the commitment of all concerned. ACTIONAID - Ethiopia works in partnership with the rural and urban poor to implement this proposition. Savings and Credit schemes, Community Based Health Care (CBHC), and Non-Formal Education (NFE) are the major components of its long term integrated urban and rural development programmes.
DAY Integrated urban Development Area is one of its urban programmes; it operates in partnership with a local NGO, Development AID for You (DAY). The programme area is located in Region 14 in Addis Ababa and covers four kebles (districts). The poor in the target area have been organised in savings and credit groups, and provided with credit (for the majority of the population in the area are unemployed) and the opportunity to undertake income generating activities of their choice, which they consider to be easily manageable and also profitable.
Though the main focus of ACTIONAID-Ethiopia is on accessing resource/income to the poor, its integrated development programme includes provision of non-formal education, health education, primary health care, and institutional capacity building.
DAY - ACTIONAID - Ethiopia Integrated Urban Development Programme is located in Woreda 11 of Region 14, which is in the outskirts of Addis Abeba city. It consists of 4 kebeles (kebele 01, 08, 09 and 19) and a total population of 19,541, out of which about 52% are women. The baseline survey conducted by DAY in 1993 reveals that over 60% of the people live in absolute poverty, with no access to basic services such as shelter, water, sanitation facilities, health and education. The programme area is shanty and congested, with 63% of houses requiring renovation and maintenance. In some cases 3 families with a total of 12-15 members live together in small houses. Most of the houses do not have kitchens. About 51% of total households in the programme area do not have latrines. All waste is disposed on open places. This has subjected the people in the area to health hazards.
Woreda 11, DAY-ACTIONAID - Ethiopia development area, is one of the oldest settlement of Addis Ababa city and as the city is growing, the government has not been able to provide basic services such health, and education to the community living in the area. School age children do not have access to primary education. The low economic situation of parents coupled with the need for their labour in the family has forced children not to attend school. Of 5,472 eligible school age children in the area, only 37% have access to formal education. Majority of the residents live on minor petty trading, weaving and selling firewood. Only 30% of the total eligible for work are earning some income through employment to support their family. The level of poverty in which the people are living is manifested in the high level of malnutrition, poor health, increased number of street children, high school dropouts, unemployment, etc. The situation has been exacerbated by the lack of support form the government or any other body to assist the community in self-development processes.
Most of the kebeles do not have access roads and hence are unreachable with any kind of vehicle. During the rainy season this problem coupled with the topography of the area makes even human movements very difficult. This has seriously affected the community from getting small services such as ambulances and fire trucks which the government can provide. Besides, quite a number of rivers criss-cross these kebeles requiring construction of bridges of various sizes for the inhabitants to have access to other places.
In order to overcome these problems ACTIONAID - Ethiopia in partnership with DAY has launched an integrated urban development programme in this area. On January 1994, the two NGOs approached the communities and introduced the objectives of the programme. Using participatory wealth ranking techniques, the poorest households in the target area were identified and, based on the felt needs of these households, the programme intervention was designed.
In the past two years, various activities have been undertaken to alleviate the problems of the people and to improve their quality of life. These include among others:
Through the savings and credit schemes 1002 households have been provided with self-employment opportunities. About 5,000 members of these households benefit out of the micro-enterprises. The total population (19,541) living in the four districts are beneficiaries of the health component of the integrated development programme.
ACTIONAID's objective, as has already been mentioned earlier in this report, is to alleviate poverty by working in close partnership with the principal beneficiaries, the poor. It believes that by giving them some assistance, the poor can handle their own problems. ACTIONAID's focus has been on how to involve the communities to improve their own lives. The main entry point as is mentioned in section 13 has been the introduction of savings and credit schemes because what the poor lack most is access and control over resources. Banks and other financial institutions do not have the necessary mechanisms to reach the urban and rural poor. Therefore, accessing resources to the poor and providing them with the necessary training to manage these resources is of paramount importance. The savings and credit schemes in this programme have helped communities to get regular self-employment opportunities. These schemes have also shown the credit worthiness of the poor. That the poor do repay their debts and are ready to mobilize resources through savings. The success gained in this domain, ACTIONAID-Ethiopia believes, will help to influence government financial and banking policies for there is a dire need for special financial institutions which could meet the needs of the poor.
Though the main focus of ACTIONAID-Ethiopia is to create a sustainable means of livelihood for the poor, its interventions in health, sanitation, water supply and education are also indispensable as they contribute to the well being of the poor and the society at large. These components also are considered to be sustainable because they are managed and run by the communities themselves with minimal help from the government if at all necessary. The financial support and training provided by ACTIONAID are aimed to ensure the sustainability of the programme. They are aimed to build the institutional capacity of the people, to enable them to manage their own lives. The NFE programme by itself is a programme that is recommended to be replicated both by the government and NGOs because it is cost effective in terms of input and efficient in terms of outcome. In a situation where only one school age child out of five gets formal education, NFE would be the right programme to cover the school age children out of school.
Though one might consider these efforts as a drop in an ocean when viewed in relation to the gravity and intensity of the problem, it is believed that such efforts will open up the door for dialogue, experience sharing and partnership among all concerned forces, Government, NGOs and communities. ACTIONAID-Ethiopia believes that its practical experience such as the one described above can be linked to that of others and could serve as a model to others in the fight to eradicate urban poverty. ACTIONAID gives equal importance to policy issues, research and advocacy. Since this finally would contribute towards influencing policies.
ACTIONAID-Ethiopia chooses to address urban poverty: in an integrated manner. It has a strong belief that poverty alleviation, both urban and rural is not a piece meal process. It is rather a process that is approached in an integrated and holistic way.
Woreda 11 kebele 11
DAY, Addis Ababa
Dr. Zewdie Shibre /DAY
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