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Faith based organizations (FBOs) contributing to peace and sustainable development. The case of Christian Relief and Development Association (CRDA) Presented by Abeba Amare (Advanced MA in Development studies, Msc in Agriculture ). Outline. Outline About the paper-

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faith based organizations fbos contributing to peace and sustainable development

Faith based organizations (FBOs) contributing to peace and sustainable development.

The case of Christian Relief and Development Association (CRDA)

Presented by Abeba Amare (Advanced MA in

Development studies, Msc in Agriculture)



  • About the paper-
  • General overview- conflict Situation in Ethiopia
  • Major Causes of Conflicts

- Specific Cases from Gambella, Oromia, Afar and SNNP Regional States

  • Relationship- peace and Sustainable Development
  • The Role of CRDA - What is CRDA- History and evolution
  • Scope of involvement of CRDA :
  • In peace building and
  • Sustainable Development -
  • Conclusion and Recommendations
about the paper
About the paper
  • Not a well-designed Research paper
  • Methodology- phone interview, information exchange through e-mail, literature, internet, site visit
  • Limitation- limited only on local CRDA member NGOs/CSOs
  • Objective – only to highlight the contribution of FBOs mainly CRDA members in peace building and sustainable development.
1 conflict situation in ethiopia
1. Conflict Situation in Ethiopia

Conflict is a multi-faceted phenomenon in Ethiopia,

where there are more than 80 ethnic groups. Conflicts

occur at every level of human relations, from the family

to the state. Experiences has shown that conflicts are

usually the result of incompatible interests.


Inter-group conflict in Ethiopia does not

always take the form of inter-ethnic

confrontation. There are conflicts

between the high Landers/grarians and

the low Landers/ pastoralists within the

same ethnic group in addition to the conflicts

among different ethnic groups (EIFDDA &

CRDA, 2006)


1.1. Major Causes of conflicts

There are various causes of conflicts For

instance, in the Southern Region only,

about 126 conflicts were registered within the

last 14 years.

However, this paper concentrates only

on the most frequent and violent forms of

Internal conflicts.

  • Resources scarcity and competition

The primary cause for conflict in Ethiopia is competition over declining resources, which arise from the natural resource base, population pressures, and environmental degradation. Soil erosion and improper agricultural practices have greatly damaged the land’s productivity. Food production rate is declining comparing with increasing population growth rate.


Specific cases:

Case one – Conflicts due to shortage of grazing land

and water points

Gambella Regional State: located in South west Ethiopia

Resources (pasture and Water) are scarce due to high population growth

resulted from natural increase and immigrants from the highland areas

and refugees from Sudan. In addition, an area of land estimated to 15,000

sq. km was excluded and protected for oil exploration, which aggravated

the shortage of grazing land for the pastoralists.

  • Issa and Afar who are both pastoralists –they fight for wider grazing land and water for their cattle
  • The Dollo pastoralists in the dry season migrate with their livestock in search of grazing land, which eventually leads to the usual conflict due to competition of resources

Failure to win the struggle for resources control leads to violent conflict. (EIFDDA & CRDA, 2006, RCCHE, 2007)).


Case two- conflict in search of both grazing and arable land

  • The Oromoand Amhara ethnic groups who are agro-pastoralists migrate to the Awash valley in search of arable land, which is used as a grazing land for the Afar pastoralists that usually causes conflict among the groups.
  • Guji and Burji (both are agro-pastoralists)
  • Konso and Derashe –in control of resourceful territory that creates competition between the two ethnic groups to own water resources, arable and grazing land.

In a recent ( December , 2008) conflict

between Derashe and Konso, the Derashe

people development Association reported that

about 15,472 people including children and women

were displaced and are in need of food, shelter and

medication as 526 corrugated iron sheet houses

and 7,632 local houses were demolished in the

four kebeles due to the conflict( Urgent Relief

Assistance Appeal, January 2009).

  • Ethnicity

The competition for political power

  • Agnuak and Nure people in Gambella, who have been fighting for many years over control of resources and political power in the Region.
  • The assessment done by EIFDDA reveals that there are a wide range of conflicts between the various ethnic groups within South Omo due to considerable degree of power struggle. (EIFDDA & CRDA, 2006, RCCHE 2007).
2 the relationship interaction b n conflict and sus devt
2. The Relationship/ Interaction b/n Conflict and Sus.Devt.
  • In most cases the basic assumption that conflict is normal and is an integral part of social interaction has drawn attention on the interaction between development work and the respective conflict dynamics in a society.
  • There is also a growing concern to answer the question on “how development aid organizations deliver aid and bring sustainable development in conflict situations with out aggravating the situation ? or how do they intervene to bring peace?
  • Peace building involves bringing parties together and fostering mutual respect by listening, recognizing need, avoiding discriminations and working creatively together to solve problems. Its creating conducive environment for the reconstruction and development efforts
cont interaction
Cont. interaction
  • Building peace will have significant impact in bringing sustainable development. Unless the root causes of conflicts are addressed in a given community and people trained how to proactively solve conflicts in their communities and resolve differences peacefully, it is unlikely to bring sustainable development. Very often peace can be promoted most effectively by introducing peace building components into the more traditional relief and development activities and on the other hand, development activities create mutual understanding and concern among people.
3 what had crda contributed in peace building sustainable development
3. What had CRDA contributed in peace building & Sustainable development–

3.1.CRDA – History & evolution

  • Established in 1973, by 13 founding members (FBOs) to coordinate their response to the disaster of the time imposed by drought, famine and displacement due to conflict with Eritrea. Its name as well as the logo of an Ethiopian Cross are a reminder of the Association’s early roots as an organization that mobilized various churches in Ethiopia to the grave humanitarian situation of Ethiopia.
  • Established the first Christian Relief Fund in 1974
  • Christian Relief Fund later on became Christian Relief and Development Association (CRDA).
cont crda
Cont. CRDA

At its early stage, CRDA’s entire focus

was on coordinating relief efforts of the

NGO community in Ethiopia. CRDA’s

contribution was mainly related to the

provision of logistic supports that assists

in distribution of grain supplementary

food supplies, clothing and medicine

cont crda19
Cont. CRDA
  • Through time, CRDA achieved new standards of efficiency and ultimately became a very large and highly professional development agency (a membership or an umbrella organization with active members of 351 National and International NGOs operational in Ethiopia).
  • It has shifted from focus on coordinating relief efforts of NGOs to development agenda and advocacy efforts such as:
  • Building capacities of indigenous NGOs/CSOs including project funding
  • Promoting information exchange and networking for advocacy and lobbying within CSOs and between CSOs, and other agencies, which are active in development areas as well as promoting an enabling environment for greater contribution of CSOs to development endeavors of Ethiopia. The major donors are faith based organization such as EED, Christian Aid, Cordaid, Trocare, ICCO, etc.
3 2 scope of involvement of crda in peace and sustainable development
3.2. Scope of involvement of CRDA in Peace and sustainable Development

3.1.Peace Building Initiatives

  • Faith based & secular organizations under the CRDA membership play very important roles as contributors of peace in conflict prone Regions of the country like Gambella, Dollo district & Afar areas (EIFDDA, 2006, PCAE,2007)
  • Both secular and Faith Based member organizations received grant from CRDA to intervene in conflict prone areas. some of the interventions include:
  • Train and deploy Elders, clan leaders, local government, community representatives (PCAE)

2)Conduct conflict mediation conferences and meetings organized by EECMY at Gambella between the Agnwak and Nure


4)Conduct Research and Documentation as an early warning mechanism

5)Formation of Development and Peace initiative Committee and train them in conflict management. In addition, a series of event oriented workshops have been organized by EOC, EMRDA & EFGBCDO to address conflicts.

changes being observed
Changes being observed
  • Improved public awareness on the negative consequences of war and conflict on the well being of the target community is noted to be very high in Gambella( RCCHE,2007)
  • A break through to create common understanding among all stakeholders that peace building is vital and agreement was reached to strengthen the newly established Peace and Development Committee in Dollo(PCAE,2007)
  • The traditional leaders come together through Peace and Development Committee and started discussing the Land use and conflict, which was not a case before( Dollo)
  • Some elders who have private land shown interest to share such land for communal use after the intervention
3 2 engagement in sustainable development
3.2. Engagement in Sustainable Development

Ethiopia is a country, where chronic

and transitory food insecurity remains one

of the major challenges facing both rural

and urban population.

The role of FBOs in Ethiopia as a development partner

goes beyond 1950s,even before the establishment of

CRDA, where most of them were actively engaged in

supporting and encouraging the development

aspirations of local communities, particularly in the

Northern part of Ethiopia, where conflicts, famine and

drought are common phenomena.


FBOs are actively engaged in :

  • Health service delivery,
  • Environmental rehabilitation,
  • Water supply and sanitation,
  • Agricultural development/food security,
  • Education,
  • Credit and saving(income generation),
  • Road construction,
  • HIV/AIDS prevention and control

The interventions brought an impact on the livelihood of the

beneficiaries at grassroots level.

3 2 1 the story of greening a desert
3.2.1. “The story of Greening a Desert”
  • The story of Greening a Desert starts by stressing on a proverb “To dream is easy, but to turn a dream into a reality may often be beyond practical expectations. Nightmares, however, may give birth to the dreams” (Assabol, 2008).

“Assabol Flood Water Harvesting

Scheme”, worth Eth. Birr 15,183,000

was constructed by Ethiopian Catholic

Secretariat, a founding member of CRDA

in collaboration with Caritas Switzerland

and Luxembourg and Misereor Germany. It is

one of the impossible projects serving the

process of sustainable development for the

benefit of the economically marginalized rural



It was reported that on a regular bases

the lake will retain a volume of 500,000

cubic meters of water. Over a complete

year it is quite enough to provide

sufficient irrigation with out looking for

any recharge. The lake behind the dam

has a Length of 2 km, a height of 42 meters

and a surface area of 7 hectares.

  • Now the valley above and below the dam is a green strip at the middle of the dry and rocky landscape of Irob.
  • It opens-up new opportunities for food security and water supply of the poor farmers in Irob woreda. It has an added value in such a way that the raising of the standard of living in the rural community will halt the migration of young people to the nearest town in search of jobs.

The How and the Who questions

Who can work without food, who can spend the night in the

farmers house, who can walk a long distance on foot in a remote

countryside?, who can live with poor farmers in the absence of

electricity and drinking water, who is committed to work with

poor people in the midst of Conflict? how long does it take to construct

such scheme?

In those harsh conditions, bringing self-reliance & improving the lives of

farmers was far from the reality.

However, on the 11th of October 2008, more than 30 invited guests and

benefactors from Switzerland, Luxembourg and Germany and many

government officials and CSOs representatives of Ethiopia went to

celebrate the inauguration ceremony of the Assabol Water Harvesting Dam

and observed the reality of the dream.

7 conclusion
  • From the above reflections, it is possible to conclude that FBOs have a broader mandate in attending the physical, economic and material needs of people, suffering from conflicts and poverty. Conflict and war have serious consequences on the well being, security and survival of the population. The intra-ethnic and inter-ethnic conflicts in Ethiopia have led to loss of life and destruction of property. The interventions made by FBOs have to some extent minimized conflicts among different ethnic groups. Moreover their engagement in sustainable development has brought long lasting change in the livelihood of the poor people of Ethiopia. However, in a country like Ethiopia, where there are more than 80 ethnic groups and in Africa in general, how to accelerate the initiatives of FBOs to involve actively in conflict resolution and peace building for a sustained development is still remained unanswered.
8 recommendations
8. Recommendations

As mentioned earlier, considerable efforts have been done by FBOs

towards peace and sustainable development, however, the

interventions towards peace building are only a short time

intervention that does not allow carrying on in-depth assessment

on the trend of conflicts, the root causes of conflicts, followed by

critical analysis and dialogue for action.

  • Thus, strengthening the capacity of FBO in this respect is a paramount importance to accelerate the initiatives of FBOs to carry on a comprehensive survey about the causes of conflict and its prevention mechanisms.
  • Even though there are various and different traditional mechanism to resolve conflicts, they are not well studied and developed strategically to address conflicts within and inter ethnic groups.
  • Donors should be committed to work with FBOs on the issue of peace-building and sustainable development