For over twenty years members of Cheltenham Network Church have supported projects in Addis Ababa, the capital city of Ethiopia.Originally the activities came under the heading of The Integrated Holistic Approach Urban Development Project (IHA-UDP) and grew out of an urban renewal project operating in what the World Bank had identified as the poorest part of the city.
Members of CNC have been out to the project half a dozen times in the last ten years. In addition to making a couple of videos to raise money, we have donated a minibus, provided materials for several concrete-block houses, provided a special hose-pipe for clearing blocked drains, sent/taken-out medical and other supplies, jointly sponsored an international conference on how churches can serve the urban poor, sponsored research into waste recycling and charcoal production, published and distributed a booklet of Bible reflections, administered a regular newsletter for more than 200 of the project’s Christian supporters, and organised several annual conferences.
In recent times the main focus of the project has become educational programmes for social workers at what was formerly known as the Institute for Urban Workers. Now known as the Birhan Social Development Training and Consultation Center (BSDTCC), it addresses those who are interested to be equipped in social development and requires consultation on social development issues. The main objective of the Center is to improve the quality of life of the urban poor in the slums of Addis Ababa; by training the middle level and grassroots social workers in different GO’s and NGO’s as well as individuals who aspire to be involved in poverty alleviation programmes.
CNC’s Ethopia Support Network draws in supporters from a range of churches around Cheltenham and meets every couple of months to pray for the project and seek ways of raising its profile.