Abraham Almebo, from the Emergency Response and Rehabilitation team of the Ethiopian Kale Heywet Church Development Commission (EKHCDC), shares what the relationship between their organization and various Foodgrains Bank members has meant to the organization and the communities where they work.
“EKHCDC has been in partnership with the Foodgrains Bank for the last 40 years. The partnership is valued a lot by our organization.
“EKHCDC is a church based local actor which is endeavoring to carry out part of the holistic mission of the church. EKHCDC invites partners who have common values and goals to work in partnership. The Foodgrains Bank is therefore one of those partners which is characterized and driven by Christian values. Our relationship is Christ centered. The logo says “a Christian Response to Hunger”. It reflects the values behind. I remember that there were 12 visitors from the Foodgrains Bank in 2010 who stayed two nights in the houses of rural communities in Kucha. It was sacrificial for them to stay in poor facilities in Ethiopian rural homes. They were struggling with rodents. However, despite all the challenges, they were joyful to share the love of Christ with the poor rural communities. The team left the lesson of love, compassion, commitment, integrity, stewardship and serving in Christ mindset. I underline that the people in the Foodgrains Bank are equipped with Christ centered values like EKHCDC. In general, our relation and partnership is not only giving and receiving material/financial supports but also it is about sharing common Christian values.
“Project interventions (emergency response and development) to communities throughout the country maximized the visibility of the church EKHC. As well, the long term support from the Foodgrains Bank built financial, material and staff capacity of EKHCDC to address the needs of affected people. Project assets purchased, financial supports to implement projects and technical supports (trainings and workshops held) to project staff built organizational capacities of EKHCDC.”
Humanitarian and emergency response projects
“Humanitarian/emergency response projects have been focusing on saving the lives of the people dying of hunger. The largest change with this intervention is that people continue to live. In many of the interventions in the past, especially in drought conditions, the humanitarian responses were connected with environmental protection so that the people receive the food aid by engaging in food for work programs. This was intentionally done because the shortage of rain/drought in the areas was related to climate change which was and is mostly driven by the affected environment (deforested, eroded and stripped).
“The food for work modality was designed to link the emergency response with environment protection-based development interventions. The people participating were expected to engage in soil and water conservation activities like hill side terracing, stone and soil banding, rural road construction, tree plantation, area closure and the like on communal lands to rehabilitate the denuded environment. The intervention was done in collaboration with the local government and the communities where we were working. As a result of the intervention, the bared lands were covered with vegetation. The communities received lessons to practice the skills they gained from the project intervention on their private plots. Therefore, the food for work structure greatly contributed to helping the community see that they could use the skills and knowledge they gained through participating in the project to help protect their local environment..
“In 2008, there was a serious drought at Kucha. There was also a small scale irrigation project underway. The communities were expected to contribute labor as their local contribution but couldn’t do so because of the hunger. Then the Foodgrains Bank and its members supplied food as part of the project budget. The participants were digging the irrigation canal line and received the food. This meant that the emergency response, which was linked with development interventions, saved lives and promoted the achievements of the project’s original objective.”
Improving livelihood and food security through longer-term projects
“Agriculture projects usually focus on improving livelihood and food security for communities. Varieties of integrated programs are included to output aggregated outcomes:
- Food crop production
- Fruit trees
- Goat crediting
- Livestock health and production
- Agricultural input supply with improved varieties
- CA/conservation agriculture
- Women empowerment
- Income generation
- Cash crop production like coffee and spices
“Environment protection with tree plantation were also introduced to improve their food security. It really improved their incomes and food intakes. People’s lives were changed and they increased their income sources. Even though the objectives of Emergency Response and agriculture are different, they both contributed a lot to address the diversified issues.
“The support from the Foodgrains Bank has improved food security of the communities where we are working together. Not only the material support but also the technical supports from project staff built the capacity of the men and women participating in these projects so that they would carry out sustainable development on their own once our projects in their community has been completed. The impacts upon the lives of the people motivate us and we consider these to be our rewards.
“EKHCDC is currently working on a paradigm shift to mobilize internal resources in addition to partners’ supports so that we can address more people and expand the number of intervention programs as well as our geographical coverage. EKHCDC’s aim for the coming 5-10 years is to have a more capacitated and a self-sustained organization which can operate with more diversified programs throughout our country.
“Currently, the needs for humanitarian response and rehabilitation are very high in Ethiopia especially in the northern part because of conflict and in the southern regions because of drought. Therefore, we invite more members to join us in this mission.”