Integrated Holistic Approach


Three significant macro-economic policy changes have occurred in Ethiopia during and after the time of the Emperors rule:

a) During the Emperors period, housing was a private affair. Any Ethiopian who could afford to build a house, had a right to own a house. This meant that only the affluent owned houses. The government provided housing to the poor on rent which was not up to town planning standards, leading to development of slums.

b) During the military period, 1974-91 after the 1974 revolution, socialist policies led to nationalization of houses and land. Each person was entitled to own only one house. Since there was no incentive to build houses, a shortage of houses occurred.

  • The government, gave land free of charge which promoted cooperative housing. But the result was the building of a wide range of houses of different standards.
  • The Housing Administration was responsible for collecting rent which was above Birr 100/month.
  • The section dealing with nationalized houses collected rent from the kebele owners whose rent was less than 100/month.

The above measures did not help the poor since the rent was still too high for them and there was limited access to land.

c) In the period from 1991 to date, urban housing is theoretically under private ownership. However, all nationalized houses still remain under the government. The policies are:

  • All rural and urban land belongs to the government.
  • Individuals can acquire land if they pay the required fees.
  • Urban land is leased to individuals on auction.
  • Land for owner occupied houses is free of charge provided a special condition is met.

This leaves out the poor who cannot afford the building costs.

A semi-autonomous government body called Urban Development Project Office (UDPO) provides funding for cooperative housing but by virtue of it being a funding agency. it is not able to provide loans to the poor.

NGOs primarily address the housing problems of the poor communities. IHA/UDP is involved in upgrading housing in slum areas as part of its integrated development efforts.

The project located in the Teklehymanot area, Region 14, Woreda 3, Kebeles 30,41, 42, and 43.

Reasons for IHAs involvement:

This was one of the most marginalized areas in Addis Ababa.
The area was originally a “beggars settlement” during the Italian occupation.
Six out of the eight “poorest of the poor” kebeles in the 1978 World Bank report are in this area.

The institutional context of NGOs well laid out and IHA/UDP has developed institutional linkages with the government due to its proximity to the government partners.

In 1987/88 the Project Coordinator of IHA/UDP carried out research in 9 kebeles and 4 kebeles which formed part of the research are in the IHA/UDP project.

In 1989 a baseline survey was carried out by IHA/UDP.

Experience Development

The target area has four kebeles with a population of 30,000.

After identifying the major problems of the area through a survey, IHA/UDP drew up a plan for implementation based on an integrated and holistic approach instead of the conventional sectoral approach. This project was comprised of:

primary health care,
community development through income generating activities.
physical upgrading.

A pilot project, Kebele 41 was very successful. Different donor agencies then accepted the proposal.

In 1989, IHA/UDP signed a Project Agreement with the regional office in Addis Ababa.

This agreement allows IHA/UDP to carry out integrated urban development in the area specified in Region 14.

The project involves looking after destitute mothers and children. Mothers are involved in tailoring, food processing, and construction. Youth and the elderly were also involved in their different capacities.

A shift committee has been established for shift arrangements made up of one member from each neighbourhood group from each kebele and one project staff from each of its various activity areas.

Up to now the following major activities have been carried out; new houses (465), repaired (912), latrines (106), communal kitchens (442), transit houses (81), roads and ditches (6.3 kms) among others.

In 1993 a mid-term evaluation was carried out by both local and international evaluators.

In 1993/94, the NGO launched an active assessment of the phase out strategy and developed a phase out structure by involving government officials and the community members.

Actors Involved

IHA/UDP, the main NGO working in the area, is involved in an integrated urban development projects with upgrading of houses as one of its components.

City Council of Addis Ababa, renamed Region 14, was the major partner of IHA/UDP. It has now been replaced by the Commission for Disaster Prevention and Preparedness (CDPP), CDPP has its own branch offices at the regional, zone and woreda levels.

At the regional level it is the External Aid and Development Cooperation under CDPP which has to be consulted before any project agreement is signed.

Appropriate line ministries (Ministries of Health Education, Labour and Social Affairs) are project signatories depending on what aspect of the project is being undertaken.

The community – comprising 30,000 members. Each kebele is subdivided into smaller units called neighbourhood groups from which election of office bearers is made.


All activities between the NGO and the community are planned and carried out in consultation with the community members.

Formal agreement for IHA/UDP to carry out an integrated development project with the government through Region 14 was signed giving the IHA/UDP the legality it needed to operate in the area.

The agreement states that the government will provide all support which the project needs but in reality there is no help which has been forthcoming.

Lessons Learned:

Since IHA/UDP was not the body which initiated the project but it took over from another NGO called Redd-Barna, it was not difficult to carry on since whatever the original problems were, they had already been ironed out by the time IHA/UDP started running it.

A bottom-up approach which is used in planning and monitoring of the project has proved to be very successful.

Without legal government backing, it is difficult for an NGO to operate in an area.