Profile and overview of the church’s role in emergency response
By Deed Jaldessa and Debela Kenea
Deed Jaldessa has over two decades experience in development work in rural Ethiopia and currently leads The Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus Development and Social Services Commission (EECMY-DASSC) as a national Director. He has a BSc in Agriculture and a M.Sc. in Natural Resources management and sustainable agriculture.
Debela Kenea is Relief Programme Coordinator with the EECMY-DASSC. Born to a livestock rearing pastoralist family in a very remote, dry and harsh environment in southern Ethiopia, he is one of the luckiest children born in that area to be educated through the work of Norwegian Lutheran Mission and Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane.
We acknowledge invaluable support of many organisations and individuals. To mention a few related to current relief and rehabilitation programmes: UNOCHA/Christian AID, Act alliance, and Finchurchaid. Our words of appreciation also go to Mrs. Carmel Dolan for encouraging us to prepare the article and facilitating its publication and for her vital editorial inputs. Our thanks go to Ms. Marie McGrath for follow-up of the process and important reminders to finalise the work.
The Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus (EECMY) was established as a national church in Ethiopia in January 1959. As part of the mission of the church, EECMY set out to work in the areas of health, education and community development under its Development Department. This gave birth to a full incorporation of the 'Holistic Ministry' concept of the church, developed and communicated to the Lutheran Communion (Lutheran World Federation (LWF)) in 1972. The Holistic Ministry concept is based on the broad understanding of human needs (physical, social and spiritual). The EECMY Development and Social Services Commission (EECMY-DASSC) is a legally registered1 faith-based development agency that took over the responsibility of the former Development Department of the Church in 2000, as required by the national policy of the Ethiopian Government. The Commission has robustly continued to work on humanitarian emergency response to disaster affected populations, building on strong experiences from the early 1970s and mid 1980s when the country faced widespread famine.
The EECMY-DASSC works in partnership with sister churches, development and humanitarian agencies in Ethiopia, Europe and North America. It is a leading member of church networks, such as the LWF, Action by Churches Together (ACT) Alliance and other evangelical fellowships in the country and abroad. The overall budget of the EECMY-DASSC in 2009 was Ethiopian Birr 200 million (approximately USD$ 12 million). These funds are raised from different sister churches, development and humanitarian agencies operating throughout the country and worldwide.
Five year strategy
The following programmes constitute the major strategic focus areas of the EECMY-DASSC in its current five-year plan. These programme priorities are closely aligned with the Government's poverty reduction programme and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs):
- Socio-economic development (food security, water supply, gender equality, environmental protection, income generation)
- Health and HIV/AIDS prevention and control
- Capacity building
- Child and Youth Care and Development
- Education (formal, informal/literacy, vocational and special needs education)
- Emergency Relief Response, Disaster Risk Reduction and Rehabilitation.
The EECMY-DASSC works through branch offices in 21 synods, which are local church units geographically located throughout the country. In total, the EECMY has 5.3 million church members representing around 7 per cent of the total population of Ethiopia.
When Dhabe's pastoralist Borana community lost many of their cattle during a drought, EEC-MYs cash-for-work scheme offered them a lifeline, enabling them to buy food and put in place measures to reduce the impact of future disasters.
Emergency relief and rehabilitation Emergency relief is a vital part of EECMYDASSC's work to respond to urgent humanitarian and further rehabilitation needs. The emergency relief response is aimed at providing resources either directly or in coordination with other national and international sister churches and NGOs to support emergency affected people who cannot survive without assistance. Beside the emergency responses to urgent needs, EECMY-DASSC also implements short and long term rehabilitation programmes focusing on capacity building of those affected and their local communities, The Commission works with Government line departments to secure necessary permissions and also to ensure that services are not being duplicated but well coordinated with other relief agencies. Most importantly, the Commission consult and participate with the communities to ensure transparency and so that the aid provided helps meet their needs.
Targeting and implementation
The overall national targeting for emergency assistance is carried out by the Government's Disaster Risk Management and Food Security Sector (DRMFSS) through twice-yearly food security assessments. Household beneficiaries are targeted, screened and registered by the community based participatory task force in woredas (districts) in need. The major part of the humanitarian response is usually covered by the Government. The Church's response is required in situations where the relevant government department, such as the DRMFSS, is unable to reach an area or needs the support of the Church to mount a response. In 2009, the EECMY-DASSC responded to emergencies in 10 woredas, reaching a total of 141,838 people with food aid and non food items (NFI) such as blankets, plastic sheets, soap, containers, mosquito nets, seeds and farm tools.
At the time of writing (October 2010), humanitarian assistance was being supported by the EECMY-DASSC and implemented by the Commission's synod offices in six different regions of the country experiencing emergencies (see Table 1). The Commission's synod offices are the agents responsible locally for planning, implementation and supervision of humanitarian aid in their respective operational areas. They also ensure community and other stakeholder's participation in decision making and providing coordinated assistance.
|Table 1: Humanitarian assistance by EECMY-DASSC in Ethiopia (October 2010)|
|Region/District||Type of emergency||Population targeted||Type of response||Type of response|
|Oromia region- Gasera & Madwalbu districts||Flood and drought||17,901||General and supplementary food distribution||Wabe Batu synod|
|SNPP Region- Aleta Wando district||Drought||20,000||General and supplementary food distribution||South Central Ethiopia Synod|
|SNPP Region- Yirgachaffee||Drought||20,380||General and supplementary food distribution||South Synod|
|SNNP Region- Burji special district||Drought||18,000||General and supplementary food distribution||Amaro synod|
|Amhara region- Bati district||Drought||32,143||General and supplementary food distribution||North Central Ethiopia Synod|
|Gambella region- Jikawo District||Drought||15,894||General and supplementary food distribution||Western Gambella Bethel Synod|
|Gambella region Akobo District||Tribal conflict||7,020||Non food items||Western Gambella Bethel Synod|
|Gambella region- Itang District||Flood||10,500||Disaster Risk Management||East Gambella Bethel Synod|
The EECMY-DASSC has a responsibility to ensure compliance with the rules, regulations and codes of conduct in the implementation of programmes. It provides staff training to ensure that they are responsible and qualified for the task. Further training and capacity building supports are also given to local farmer's association leaders, to coordination members of the district task force for aid work and to other local line departments' staff to ensure that they can fulfil their responsibility.
Challenges and opportunities for the future
Delays in assessment of an emergency often delay the actions needed to meet critical needs. EECMY- DASSC will need to strengthen its skilled human power and financial capacity for rapid assessment, as well as its capacity to mount even more effective responses in the food and nutrition sector.
In many affected woredas, the community's normal means of accessing food is compromised by both slow and rapid onset of disasters. Looking back over the past years, the Churches' contribution to food securityrelated emergency response has been considerable. To strengthen EECMY-DASSCs response in the future, it is important for the EECMY-DASSC to consider increasing its capacity in a range of response and programming areas based on a clear analysis of risks and needs. These will include:
- General food distribution (free) based on the level of the food insecurity analysis
- NFIs provision
- Emergency nutrition interventions
- Seeds, farm tools and restocking of animals (goats, sheep and milk cows, oxen)
- Income diversity through self-employment
- Building community capacity in disaster risk reduction and management
- Provide assistance for environmental rehabilitation and further rural/ agricultural development
Another area in which EECMY-DASSC would like to grow capacity is emergency nutrition and health support in marginal areas and in areas where displacement occurs due to various disasters.
For more information, contact: Deed Jaldessa, email: email@example.com
1In accordance to the Government's law for non-govern mental organisation (NGO's) registration for legal license, EECMY-DASSC was registered and certified by the Ministry of Justice as a development wing of the EECMY in 2000.
More like this
FEX: Joint Emergency Operation Plan NGO response to emergency food needs in Ethiopia
By Alix Carter Alix Carter has worked in the humanitarian sector in Ethiopia for almost three years. She is currently working as the Humanitarian Accountability Advisor at...
FEX: Rapid response and long-term solutions: Christian Aid and food security in Ethiopia
By Antoinette Powell Antoinette Powell is the Communications and Information Officer, Africa with Christian Aid since 2007. Previously she worked as Advocacy Officer, The...
FEX: The Ethiopian Orthodox Church Development and Inter-Church Aid Commission
By Gebreselassie Atsbahha Gebreselassie Atsbahha is Emergency Relief Officer with the EOCDICAC. He has over 20 years of experience in humanitarian, social protection and...
FEX: From the editor
Ethiopia is a diverse country where a significant proportion of the population live on or below the poverty line, where food insecurity is widespread and rates of acute...
Name CAFOD Internet http://www.cafod.org.uk Address Romero Close, Stockwell Rd, London, SW9 9TY Director Julian Filochowski Telephone +44 207 733 7900 Overseas staff approx...
FEX: Lutheran Development Services
By Marie McGrath, ENN Name Lutheran Development Services (LDS) Formed 1994 Address P. O. Box 388, Mbabane, Swaziland Director Bjorn Brandberg Telephone +268 404-5262...
FEX: Christian Aid
Name Christian Aid Address 35 Lower Marsh London SE1 7RT, UK Year formed 1945/6 Telephone +44 (0)207 620 4444 Director Dr Daleep Mukarji Fax +44 (0)207 620 0719 HQ...
en-net: FUNDING FOR COMMUNITY BASED NGO
Holystic Nutrition Org, is a community based NGO located in Obuasi, Ghana. The organization is currently running a project: SMALCHILD Project. Save the MALnourished CHILD...
en-net: Nutrition expert urgently needed to join food security team in Ethiopia
Oxfam Ethiopia Nutrition Adviser - Drought Response, TORs Answerable to EFSVL national adviser Management responsibility None (subject to change) Budget responsibility None...
FEX: The Evolution of Ethiopian Government’s Early Warning System
Dr Kassahun Bedada Beyi Dr Kassahun Bedada Beyi is Early Warning and Response Case Team Coordinator with the Early Warning and Response Directorate. This is located within the...
FEX: Malawi food shortage: how did it happen and could it have been prevented?
By Sarah King Sarah King is currently working as an Emergency Capacity Building Officer with Christian Aid. Having completed a MSc in Public Health Nutrition at LSHTM, she...
FEX: Tanganyika Christian Refugee Service
Name Tanganyika Christian Refugee Service Fax 255 (051) 700581 Headquarters: Dar Es Salaam Director Duane Poppe Formed 1964 Number of Staff 600+ Telephone 255 (051)...
FEX: Critical gaps in drought response in Greater Horn of Africa
Summary of published research1 The drought currently affecting an estimated 11 million people in the Greater Horn of Africa is said to be the worst in more than a decade, with...
FEX: Emmanuel International
By Andrew Mellen, Emmanuel International Andrew Mellen has been the relief programme manager with EI Malawi since 2003. With a background in agriculture, he previously worked...
FEX: Oxfam’s Somaliland-Ethiopia Cross Border Drought Preparedness Project
By Abay Bekele Abay Bekele works for Oxfam GB as Senior Pastoral Programme Manager. He has over nine years of technical and managerial experience in pastoral development and...
Name DanChurchAid Website http://www.danchurchaid.org/ Address Noerregade 13, 1165 Copenhagen Director General Secretary Henrik Stubkjær Phone +45 33 15 28 00 No. of HQ staff...
FEX: Challenges to implementing an integrated emergency public health response
By Dr. Jean Galdwin Dr Jean Gladwin is a public health nutritionist and researcher with several years work experience in low income countries in emergency and stable...
FEX: The Emergency Nutrition Coordination Unit of Ethiopia roles, responsibilities and achievements
By Isaack B. Manyama, Gugsa Abate and Mathewos Tamiru Isaack B. Manyama is ENCU Team Leader and Nutrition Cluster Coordinator for Ethiopia Gugsa Abate is Nutrition Specialist...
FEX: Canadian Foodgrains Bank
Name: Canadian Foodgrains Bank Annual income (expenditure) (2011/12): $44,259,143 ($39,544,210) Website: www.foodgrainsbank.ca Director(s): Governed by Board of...
FEX: ADRA (Adventist Development Relief Agency)
ADRA Name: ADRA (Adventist Development Relief Agency) Address: 12501 Old Columbia Pike, Silver Spring, Maryland, 20904, USA Email: sonya. firstname.lastname@example.org Website:...
Reference this page
Deed Jaldessa and Debela Kenea (). Profile and overview of the church’s role in emergency response. Field Exchange 40, February 2011. p21. www.ennonline.net/fex/40/agencyprofile