Integrated Rural Development –The Approach of “Menschen für Menschen” in its Rural Development Efforts in Ethiopia

During the last two years FAKT could support the NGO “Menschen für Menschen” with expertise on impact based monitoring and evaluation approaches. Three active projects for integrated rural development have been evaluated and a sustainability study could be performed in a region where project activities have been closed down five years ago.

The Menschen für Menschen Foundation (MfM) is working in Ethiopia’s’ rural regions since some 30 years. It started its activities with relief work in 1981, broadening and solidifying its efforts during its first decade into an integrated development approach. Today MfM runs 11 integrated rural development projects in different parts of Ethiopia with an annual budget of roughly 20 million Euro. These integrated rural development projects usually provide a comprehensive support to the region, addressing productive, social, economic and ecological sectors at the same time, in order to support an all including development of the regions to work with.

Since 2013 MfM is building up its impact based monitoring and evaluation capacities with the help of FAKT experts. Together with Ethiopian colleagues we designed a result based monitoring system for all 11 active project regions, which is implemented presently with the support of a FAKT trained Ethiopian consultant.

Three of the running integrated rural development projects in Borena, Gindeberet and Abuna Gindeberet have been evaluated by FAKT consultant-teams. The teams could confirm that project implementation, results and reactions of the beneficiaries showed “that project management lives up to the claim of conducting an integrated project”. In spite of minor shortfalls it could be concluded that MfM’s activities were dearly relevant for the regions, that envisaged objectives could be reached at reasonable costs and that the activities of MfM brought a positive perspective and motivation to a majority of the rural dwellers.

An ex-post evaluation in the Merhabete district that focused on the sustainability of MfM induced changes in infrastructure, agricultural practices, institutional capacity and the attitudes of the people after five years of project close-down as well showed interesting results. Positive development in all sectors MfM had been working continued impressively after the projects leave. One example for this are the introduction of mango and vegetable cultivation, rarely known before the project and now widely practiced by the farm households, enriching their diet and providing income to cover household costs without being forced to sell the highly valued staple food “teff”. Another, even more surprising long-term development is the change of the social norm to marry girls at a very young age, thus preventing them to get school education, contributing to chronic female diseases and to very high birth rates. The combined effects of a more secure economic situation of the families, of easier reachable schools and of specific income opportunities for women lead to a stable change in social norms allowing girls nowadays to a far higher extend to develop their capacities.

Fields of Work