Introducing JeCCDO, Ethiopia: 2013 ONE Africa Award Finalists

The ONE Africa Award is an annual $100,000 USD prize which celebrates the innovations and progress being made by African civil society towards achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.  We are excited to announce our six finalists for 2013, and this blog series looks at the remarkable work of each organisation.

Jerusalem Children and Community Development Organisation (JeCCDO) aims to enable the poorest urban slum communities in Ethiopia to develop their own sustainable solutions to poverty.

Since 1996, JeCCDO has been working in the poorest urban slum areas to set up community based organisations (CBOs) and now supports 148 groups in five regions of Ethiopia.  JeCCDO also coordinates five regional networks and has built Ethiopia’s first CBO training centre.

One of their key successes has been to set up an association to benefit the Woitto people. They had been forcibly removed from the banks of Lake Tana 20 years ago and did not have a legal title to the land they now occupy. JeCCDO provided training in organising and advocacy tactics, and after campaigning for their land rights, the Ethiopian government recently granted land tenure to the people. This is a major achievement and a test case for displaced people in Ethiopia.

JeCCDO began in 1985 as an orphanage for children left without parents due to civil war and famine and soon had a number of them across Ethiopia in response to the incredible need. By the mid-1990s, JeCCDO had begun changing its philosophy and approach from taking care of children in institutions to supporting communities and extended families to raise these children in a more caring, familial environment. They soon evolved from running orphanages and programs directly to supporting CBOs.  Today, JeCCDO reaches 850,000 Ethiopians through its 148 CBP partners.

It’s ABS unit works on the issues of education, health and environmental sanitation, and child development. The support they offer each community is adapted and modified based on local needs, making them child-focused, family-centered, and community-based.

JeCCDO also supports community-based adaptation to climate change. For example they raise awareness that clearing land leads to silting lakes and rivers and worsening floods. As part of programme to reduce the impact of natural disasters, communities living in upstream areas of valleys warn those living downstream when water levels rise, allowing them to take action to prevent damage to property and even save lives.

The winner of the 2013 ONE Africa Award will be announced on 8th November in Addis Ababa. Be the first to know who takes the prize by following @ONEinAfrica on Twitter.

 

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