EMCC WP has worked together with the Ethiopian Kale Heywet Church for twenty years. Various Food Security Projects (FS) in Kucha District, a continued initiative of EMCC through the Canadian Foodgrains Bank concluded few years ago. The initial beneficiaries carried on with what they had been resourced with. Still, there was more to do to promote sustainability and to mobilize past trained beneficiaries and their church communities to be catalysts for community development and spread their enthusiasm to other nearby Kebeles (Wards). 

To meet this goal, EMCC and Tearfund Canada collaborated to launch a year-long program. It was designed to refresh the skills and knowledge beneficiaries learned during the FS project, and to empower and equip churches to direct community development initiatives moving forward. Called Church Community Transformation, (CCT), this series of refreshment trainings took place in 2020. The focus of the trainings was to empower the church and community in Kucha District by training 50 leaders from 20 selected local churches. The goal was to mobilize them to use their untapped local resources to undertake sustainable development based on the skills gained and the resources identified. This holistic approach is taught within a discipleship framework, whereby these trained churches are intended to be models for other churches in the Kebeles.

As members of the EMCC gave, the trainings were completed and a graduation ceremony was held at the end of December 2020. The graduating leaders were encouraged to continue doing sustainable development with passion and a sense of ownership, and to train others to do the same.

Kucha is the first to begin the new approach. EMCC is excited to see the legacy of our investment in Kucha District as churches and past project participants are now leading community transformation. They are owning the responsibility of supporting themselves, and they are becoming the teachers of their neighbouring Kebeles. This trajectory will result in more and more churches leading holistic/integral transformation through development along with disciple-making. 

According to feedback, almost all 20 churches started self-initiated, local resource driven, development activities. Many who had been through the FS project and the CCT shared that this exposure influenced their mind-set to focus on development initiatives that are church and local resource driven. They believe that donor-based development interventions must not be relied upon long term. This shift to self-sustained development is celebrated by The EMCC and the Ethiopia Kale Heywet Church. 

Here is what one of the participants, Mr. Uba Eltamo, shared from his experience. 

I welcomed the [CCT] concept because since the phase-out of the project four years ago, I have been using the skills and knowledge I gained through training and continued doing sustainable development. I will be contributing my part to encourage my fellow farmers and community [to] use their available local resources to help their family…True development comes when beneficiaries of any project start using not the resource donated only but using the knowledge or skills gained through the whole process of project implementation to keep on doing the activities in the absence of the implementing organization.

As the believers in churches in Kucha continue to train, apply their learnings, and teach others, their reach will extend to assist yet unreached Kebeles, who can discover the resources and skills untapped in their context. 

This article is featured in the Spring 2021 edition of The EMCC Together Newsletter.

Download a PDF copy of the newsletter and previous EMCC Together publications here.