Ethiopian Catholic Church Social and Development Commission Branch Office of Harar
The Ethiopian Catholic Church Social and Development Commission Branch Office of Harar (ECC- SDCOH) is a branch office of an indigenous Ethiopian Residents Charity (CSO). The head office is the Ethiopian Catholic Church Social and Development Commission (ECC- SDCO) re-registered and accorded legal personality with the registration number 0756 on August 16, 2019 as local organization in accordance with the Civil Society Organization Proclamation No. 1113/2019. Yet, before it was formally registered and baptized with the name of ECC-SDCOH, it was involving in social, development & humanitarian interventions since 1889, a moment in which the Eastern part of Ethiopia was desolated by numerous calamities such as an invasion of locusts, the death of cattle, and plagues. As a result, a terrible famine ravaged the country during the following years. Thus the first charitable intervention of the Vicariate begun in 1890 with the money borrowed from his Excellency Ras Mekonnen, eight thousand francs, trusting in the charity of Propagation of Faith to reimburse the same amount to Ras Mekonnen from the account of Cardinal Massaja in Rome.
The devastating incident of those years made the Catholic missionaries to involve in a social activity as equal as the pastoral activity. As a result, in 1890 they have founded the orphanage and school for the children who lost their parents. Then 1900, the first leprosy center in Harar city, in a place called Gende Feron has been founded. In 1908 the printing press of St. Lazarus has been established to support the social activities of the church. In 1912 the second orphanage and school have been established in Dire Dawa. Likewise, it continued serving the Ethiopian communities integrally, addressing the spiritual, social and economical needs of the people through decades till the present day. As it was witnessed by prf. Bahiru Zewdie, Ambasador zewdie Reta and other scholars, besides fulfilling individual’s needs, the Vicariate has played a crucial role in modernizing the country through its ex-alumni and ex-alumnae in the sector of communication, rail way construction and international sociopolitical relations.
Catholic social teaching urges concern for the human needs and care of nature. Jesus Christ, whom the Church holds as its founder, clearly stated in Matthew 25 “for I was hungry and you fed me, thirsty and you gave me drink. …... whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me”. Hence, from the very beginning the task of the Church was clearly marked as Koinonia, Diakonia and Liturgia. Koinonia is translated as “community”, “fellowship” and “participation”. The role of the Church as “koinonia” is forming community in Christ through proclamation of the Gospel (Kerygma) and training in the Way of Christ (Didache). Diakonia is translated as “service”. The role of the Church as “diakonia” is serving Christ through charitable works. “Liturgia” is translated as “a work of the people. The role of the Church as “liturgia” is worshiping God.
Currently, ECC-SDCOH, in fulfilment of its task “diakonia” is striving in all the limits to provide a charitable service to all communities without distinctions; having its distinctive vision, mission and core values.
Vision: “To see a society where all its spiritual, physical, socio-cultural needs are met and where all peoples are living in harmony, solidarity, equality, justice and peace.”
Mission: “spiritual development of the society, ensure growth and self-reliance through evangelization, awareness creating and capacity building. Its evangelization is in the light of the Kingdom announced by Christ that aims at internal and social transformation of human society. The Church perceives social and development programs as part and parcel of her evangelizing mission.”
Core values: The core values of the ECC-SDCO include but not limited to (DPST):
Dignity of the human person - the poor is subject of their own development and agents of change;
Preferential options for the poor and marginalized - restoring the sense of co-responsibility in building a better world, underlining the position of women;
Solidarity with the poor/most needy;
Stewardship - empower the poor, commitment to justice and peace, raise and voice on behalf of all the poor and socially marginalized; and
Transparency and accountability: ECC-SDCOH has a strong faith in maintaining transparency in its operation and utilization of resources. It will continue to be open in its relationship with all its stakeholders and ensure accountability at all levels.
Operational areas: The various program activities are implemented both in rural and urban areas in different localities of:
Oromiya Region: East and West Harargie zones and Fantale and Boset weredas of East Shewa;
Somali Region: with exception of Afder and Liben zones;
Dire Dawa Provisional Administration;
Affar Region: Amibara & Awash wereda