8th August 2021
The ACAP IV National Workshop in Ethiopia kicked off on the 2nd of August 2021 facilitated by the Ethiopia country study consultant Matewos Tera and his team. The opening ceremony was characterised by the team taking participants through preliminaries of introductions and stating the main aim of the workshop. Twenty Churches and Church-related organisations were represented in the workshop that was attended by thirty-eight participants.
The Executive Director, Consortium of Christian Relief and Development Association (CCRDA) Dr Nigussu Legesse delivered the keynote speech and declared the workshop officially open. In his speech, he began by pointing out that Churches in Ethiopia were pioneers of literacy, numeracy and cultivators of moral values and ethical principles in the country. He singled out the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church (EOTC) that has over 15,000 schools called “Nibab Bet” meaning “reading houses” where students are taught religious texts such as Psalms in the Ge’ez language.
He also noted that other evangelical Churches such EECMY, Kale Hiwot Church and the Seventh Adventist Church among others later on began social services such as health and education and community development through training centres and vocational schools alongside their missionary work.
In his message to the participant read by the Globethic.net East Africa Regional Officer, Msgr. Prof Obiora Ike the Globethics.net Executive Director noted that “It is globally expected that the Christian Churches and religious organisations bear a moral responsibility to give the ethical compass to society at all levels - social, political, economic and cultural since their primary concern is to reconcile the world to the creator through service of action and preaching the Word of God.”
He went on to inform the participants that their meeting was part of a long term agenda pursued under Globethics.net Geneva, Switzerland coordinating efforts with the sister Churches at the All African Conference of Churches and supported by Bread for The World Berlin, Germany to help build the capacity of the African Churches themselves towards local standard-setting.
Dr Nigussu pointed out that Churches in Ethiopia are endowed with a lot of assets that include spiritual capital, human capital, material assets and financial assets. He went on to note that Churches alone constitute huge human capital of the country, a potential he said that has not been efficiently utilised for improving weak financial and assets management and influence the government in setting standards and political engagement.
This is due to the fact that “There is no strong and cohesive networks of Churches that focus mainly on policy-related advocacy and lobby areas despite members of Churches have a diverse professional background.” In line with these sentiments, Prof. Obiora said, there is a need to find “means, strategies, resources, education of the stakeholders with values that help all to engage in ethical investments, assets management and monitoring, policy guidelines.”
Others who delivered messages of goodwill included Genet Eshete from the AACC Liaison Office at the Africa Union as well as Christoph, the BfdW Regional Director who said that the ongoing collaboration with the UN is opening doors for the church to more constructively engage with the communities from inside out and emphasised that the gathering was a clear demonstration of commitment from all key stakeholders.