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Integrated Holistic Approach – Urban Development Project PDF Print E-mail

A very important element of the project is the financial assistance to the Integrated Holistic Approach – Urban Development Project (IHA-UDP) which is a slum clearance and community development project, based in Addis Ababa, whose founder, co-ordinator and fundraiser is Dr Jember Teferra. IHA-UDP has been in operation since 1990 upgrading three slum areas in the city of and addressing the needs of over 53,000 people by implementing their integrated holistic approach.

Dr Jember Teferra

Born in the 1943, Dr. Jember completed elementary school in Ethiopia and her secondary education in Great Britain. She attended Tunbridge Wells School of Nursing in England, completing her education as a registered nurse in 1965. A few years later, she received a master's degree in Primary Health Care (PHC) and M.Phil. from the University of Manchester.

Dr. Jember Teferra

Dr. Jember and her late husband Dr. Hailegiorgis (Mayor of Addis Ababa during the Haileselassie regime) were both imprisoned when the Marxist regime took power in 1974. They spent a total of 13 years in prison and he died shortly after release. During her imprisonment she provided medical care and, with other political prisoners, assisted in the creation of a school for convicts and prison guards and was involved in the accreditation of a health assistance school that was established in the prison, a program that continued even after she was released.


The Work of IHA-UDP
The work includes the nurturing of some of the poorest people in one of the poorest nations in the world “from womb to tomb”.  The Project has a unique integrated holistic approach so that all kinds of needs are cared for, from health to housing and education to employment. These problems are tackled together, which is more effective than, for example, improving a person’s house, but leaving them with no healthcare, job, or hope. Given the success of the project as a demand-responsive action, IHA-UDP has set up the Institute for Urban Workers to share experience of their methodology and teach both grass root and professional workers at certificate, diploma and soon Master’s degree level.

Slum conditions in Addis Ababa

This organisation has been the only NGO involved in the construction of housing for slum dwellers in Addis Ababa for some years. Due to government insistence that slum regeneration must be in the form of five-storey condominium blocks, other NGOs previously involved in housing, ceased to provide funding for fear of replacing inadequate single storey shack-dwellings with “slums in the sky”, This attitude arose from fears that poor workmanship and inadequate maintenance and operation of facilities, such as water and drainage in condominiums, would result in conditions worse than was currently being experienced.


This is mitigated against, by IHA-UDP, through the construction of communal latrines, washing, cooking and water points beside the condominium buildings to relieve pressure on the internal systems, assist in the transition of families to internal cooking and sanitation facilities and to provide an alternative in times of disruption of power or difficulties with plumbing etc. Considerable training is also undertaken to assist the new residents to adapt well, to their changed conditions.


SDCEPP Support for the IHA-UDP

The condominium-construction element of IHA-UDP’s programme was given significant assistance (€65,000 to the end of 2009) by the project towards the construction of their first condominium block, housing 40 slum-dwelling families. Many family members secured training in construction skills and were given employment on the construction works. The first block was completed in August 2009 and the families moved into their new accommodation early in 2010.

Slum-dwellers working on the first condominium


Our financial assistance represented 13% of the total cost of construction and fit-out and was funded exclusively by SDCC staff and Councillor contributions through a payroll deduction scheme.

First condominium block in background with work on new block underway in foreground (March 2011)

Work commenced late in 2010 on a second block at the same location. A further €105,300 has been advanced by the project in 2010-2012 towards the cost of this second block.

Work being completed on the 2nd condo - viewed from the first block (Oct 2012)

Of the total assistance of €170,300 advanced to IHA-UDP over the period 2006 to 2012, €94,800 was contributed by SDCC staff and Councillors through salary deductions and the balance of €75,500 from SDCC corporate contribution. No Irish Aid funding was allocated towards this element of the project.

SDCC County Architect Eddie Conroy with Dr. Jember Teferra, visiting the condominium sire in May 2009.

Recent Developments
Recent developments in Ethiopia have brought an end to many of the programmes operated by the IHA-UDP.  In particular, The Charities and Societies Proclamation of Ethiopia which was enacted in 2009 and implemented from January 2011, prohibits foreign NGOs from engaging in activities pertaining to human rights, women’s rights, children’s rights, disability rights, citizenship rights, conflict resolution or democratic governance.  Ethiopia’s government said in 2009, that it had introduced the law to regulate the country’s more than 3,800 NGOs. It also said that it was the role of the state, rather than foreign-backed groups, to protect human and democratic rights.
Local NGOs such as IHA-UDP, which receive more than ten per cent of their funding from foreign sources, are considered “foreign” for the purposes of the proclamation, and the new law has forced them to substantially alter the scope of their work.

In effect, much of the tremendous work of the IHA-UDP has now come to an end and the only which remains is that of the educational programmes for social workers 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. 

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