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Development Aid For You

Keywords: Poverty Eradication
Women & Gender equality


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:

Income Generation:
Poor households with no access to any kind of income, particularly women headed households have been organised in savings and credit groups. The savings and credit schemes were designed to access poor households with a loan which would enable them to start income generating activities. By the end of 1995, 1002 poor households had been organised in savings and credit groups. Members of these groups of their own choice are already engaged in different income generating activities such as poultry keeping, sheep rearing, bee keeping, weaving, etc. Which do not require special skills. The amount of credit lent to members varies depending on the type of activity they plan to undertake. The members are eligible to borrow if they are committed to save a fixed amount of money every week. Group members hold weekly meetings to collect the savings and loan repayments. The provision of credit has created self-employment opportunities for the unemployed. A total of 847,435 birr has been disbursed in the past two years. The repayment situation is satisfactory with the rate standing at 100%. The money injected as credit is to be used as revolving fund for future income generating ventures. Training is provided to all group members and especially to leaders in management and record keeping. At the inception development agents used to assist the group leaders to keep records.

Health sector:
A number of health posts have been constructed and furnished with all necessary medical equipment with the aim to provide primary health care services to the community. Mothers in the programme have now access to ante- and post-natal health care services, and infants to regular immunization. The health posts are run by community health facilitators, and traditional birth attendants, selected and trained from among the community. Other than providing curative services, they are responsible for sensitizing the community on nutrition and breast feeding, harmful traditional practices, family planning, sex transmitted diseases (STDS) including HIV/AIDS, personal hygiene and environmental sanitation. The establishment of health posts has helped to alleviate the health problems in the area. With respect to environmental sanitation, sanitation groups have been organised to construct individual and common latrines, to empty latrines and to dispose off solid wastes. Waste management was a serious problem in this area. All kebeles had no access to waste collection services due to the inaccessibility of the area. Many of the houses had no toilets. Therefore organising sanitation groups has helped much in maintaining good sanitation conditions.

Education Sector:
Four Non formal education (NFE) centers have been established in the four kebeles in the programme area. The NFE programme was designed for children of age 7-14 years and with no chance to attend formal schools. Most of these children try to earn a living from the streets by selling small items or shoe-shining. Since most of these children come from very poor households, they have the responsibility of assisting their parents through their street activities. The NFE programme has been organised in such a way that it does not disrupt their income generating activities. A pre-school programme that prepares children of age 4-6 years for primary education is also underway. The centers provide service 3-4 hours daily. The enrollment of the small kids in preprimary schools has relieved mothers from the task of caring for their children and has given them the opportunity to engage in productive tasks. Currently, about 687 children are attending the education programmes. The establishment of NFE centers has created job opportunities for some high school dropouts since they are now employed as facilitators at the centers.
The NFE programme has been a success not only in this particular programme but also in other of ACTIONAID-Ethiopia's programmes. UNICEF and other NGOs are now planning to replicate NFE. The programme has been found to be efficient, cost effective and participatory in nature. In terms of input NFE does not demand highly since classes can be conducted by facilitators with short training under sheds. Its success is also attributed to the approach followed; it is flexible in time making it possible for children to attend classes at their convenience. In terms of its outcome a lot has been achieved within a short period of time. Children have been able to acquire a lot of skills. Other than these two programmes (NFE and pre-primary education) for children, functional literacy classes have been organised for adults and working youth.

Maintaining a good urban environment is mostly the role of municipalities. Due to the fact that this has not been achieved, some efforts have been made to involve the communities in constructing pit latrines and solid waste disposal mechanisms. Access roads linking one Kebele to another have been constructed involving the unemployed in cash for work programmes. A fragile bridge which was a major hindrance for movement of people from Kebele 19 in Woreda 11 for years, has been rebuilt with a cost of birr 25,000. The roads and the bridge can now be accessed by ambulances, fire trucks, and waste collector trucks. A number of houses have been built for some elderly living in the target area.


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
    Addis Ababa
    Region 14


    Addis Ababa
    Region 14


    DAY, Addis Ababa
    Mr. Joseph Thomas/ACTIONAID-Ethiopia
    Woreda 18 Kebele 41
    Addis Ababa
    Region 14

    Dr. Zewdie Shibre /DAY
    Woreda 11 Kebele 10
    Addis Ababa
    Region 14

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