The Five-Year Strategic Plan on Social and Development Programs of ADCS

Three-Years PASTORAL PLAN (2007-2009)

In its strategic plan document a broader, deliberate and formalized strategic perspective for five years has been established. ADCS remains to be a learning organization, however committed to innovation and a responsive approach to new challenges and opportunities. For this purpose, ADCS has the main responsibility to effectively and actively monitor the external environment. Find below the summary of the strategic goals and directions of ADCS for the next five years (2006-2010).

A. Programme Level Strategic Goals and Directions

  1. Enhancement of Household Food Security
  2. Promotion of Justice and Peace 
  3. Improvement of Program Quality for Sustainable Impact
  4. Improvement of Natural Resource Management and Utilization
  5. Improvement of the Quality and Quantity of Basic Services
  6. Enhancement of Emergency Responding Capacity of ADCS and the Community Partners
  7. Strengthen Community Self-reliance
  8. Develop Favorable Ground for Responsible Parenthood
  9. Development of Comprehensive Expansion Strategy
  10. Enhancement of ADCS’ Capacity to Addres the problem of destitiute and disabled people

B. Organizational Level Strategic Goals and Directions

1. Develop Stable, Growing and Diversified Own Resources Generating Mechanisms

2.Improvement of ADCS’ Internal Operating Environment

3. Development of Stable and Diversified Programme Funding Base

4. Improve Coordination and Integration Between and Among ADCS and religious Congregations

5 Create Effective Networking Systems and Advocate for Public Policies.

A. Cross-cutting issues strategic Goals and directions

1. Promote gender equity at program and organization level

2. Contribute to the Reduction of the Spread of HIV/AIDS and Mitigate its impact

3. Contribute to the Reduction of the Spread of HIV/AIDS and Mitigate its Impact.


Ongoing Major Social and Development Interventions of ADCS

  • Education
  • Health
  • Integrated Rural Development and Food Security Projects Programs of ADCS
  • Emergency Relief and Drought Recovery/Rehabilitation
  • Urban Development and Tourism
  • HIV and AIDS interventions
  • Women in Development and Gender and Development
  • Needy Children Support and social welfare  services
  • Capacity building and Organizational Development  


The Catholic Church has contributed a tremendous effort to the development of educational sector in Ethiopia. More than 200 schools (from kindergarten to college levels) are currently run by the Catholic Church in the country. It was in the Adigrat Eparchy that the Catholic Church started modern education for the first time in the country’s history, and became the first institution to pioneer activities related to Schooling.
About 11,000 students are enrolled in Catholic schools annually, in the diocese. To plan, implement and coordinate the education programs of the Catholic Church, ADCS has organized education and training division under the social and development coordinating office.

Currently, ADCS runs 49 education institutions ranging from kindergarten to pre accredited technical & vocational colleges, including 1 Major Seminary/Institute of Philosophy & Theology affiliated to the Pontifical University Urbaniana in Rome.
. In terms of students’ admission, the Catholic Church in the Diocese contributes about 13,000 students.  Of the 49 Catholic schools in the Diocese, 25 schools are directly administered by Diocese/ADCS while the rest 24 administered by religious congregations. These figures indicate that the involvement of the church in education program is immense and the contribution region wise is very significant. The church believes that education is a base for development, especially in areas where natural resource-base is heavily degraded and the livelihood options are very limited.
The Catholic Church is involved in education because it concerns the future of the community, the Church as well as the future of the young generation.  The number of schools run by the Catholic Church is greater than those of any religious institutions in the diocese (Tigray Region). Education program will remain the as major priority for the Catholic Church for the following reasons.

  • Education is believed to be the basis for all sorts of development.  It is a means to transmit knowledge, skill and attitude that will enable young people to become productive citizens of a society.
  • Education is an instrument for community empowerment
  • Education concerns the future of the community as well as the Church. The Catholic Schools have also served as a main source of vocations for the priesthood and religious life so that it couldn't be exaggeration to say that most of the priests and religious serving our church to day have come out of these rural schools
  • The Catholic schools are the means and part of the Church’s overall social development and pastoral strategy

Health Care services

To improve the basic health care services of the community, the Catholic Church in the diocese is involved in community based health care and curative services through ADCS and  5 Catholic  Clinics. In addressing the health problems ADCS make use of integrated approach. It mainly focuses on the integration of health, hygiene, sanitation, nutrition and potable water supply services, HIV/AIDS prevention, care and support.  
The  major services provided in this sectors  are: health education, immunization and EPI,  HIV/AID prevention,  care and support to the people affected and infected by HIV and AIDS,  voluntary counseling and testing,  anti-natal and postnatal care,  providing supplementary food  to malnourished children and mothers (pregnant and lactating),  laboratory diagnosis and out patient sercices.
There are five Catholic clinics (4 of them run by Daughters of Charity Sisters and 1 Daughter of St. Anna) providing both preventive and curative health services in the diocese. A health division is organized in the Diocesan Office in order to coordinate the overall health activities of Catholic Church in the diocese.

Integrated Rural Development and Food Security Programs/Projects

In the diocese of Adigrat, combinations of factors (such as recurrent drought and war) have led to serious and growing problems of food insecurity and social crisis. In our diocese (Tigray Region) more than sixty percent of households are food insecure and for most of the time in the year they depend on external food aid.

Even though Catholics represent less than 1% of the Tigray's 4.3 million people, the Catholic Church is widely acknowledged by the community and regional government as a leading institution due to its extensive work and contribution. In the social and development sector, the Church is working in addressing the chronic food security and poverty in the Diocese. For the last several years, the Catholic Church was involved on providing emergency relief and free handouts to the people affected by recurrent drought and manmade calamities.  As the years progressed, the Church has shifted for the distribution of food aid and free assistance to integrated development interventions, to address the major causes of food in security and bring sustainable development.

To ensure integrity and collaboration with local government and other humanitarian organizations, the Church exerts possible efforts to plan and implement its programs within the framework of existing social and economic policies and strategies of the regional and federal Government.
It can be said confidently that the ADCS has accumulated plenty of experience in the implementation of integrated rural development and food security programs/projects.  Currently, there are 18 integrated development projects in 13 weredas of Tigray Region.  Food security and poverty reduction at household level is the major focus of the interventions.
The ongoing major areas of intervention by ADCS in addressing the major causes of Food Insecurity and Poverty area the following

Rehabilitation of Degraded Land/Natural Resources Management (various conservation measures, afforestation, area closure etc)

  • Water Resources Development (multiple use of water, potable water supply, small scale irrigation, gardening, horticulture)
  • Hygiene education and sanitation facilities development
  • Livestock Development (fodder development, improved variety of livestock, veterinary services,
  • Crop Production Improvement (compost making, moisture retention measures, improved variety of seeds, improved farming practices)
  • Agribusiness development and marketing (establishment of cooperatives and market oriented production, etc)
  • Capacity building and learning (through training the community, local administration, staff of ADCS and government sector offices)

Emergency Relief and Drought Recovery/Rehabilitation

Since its establishment, ADCS with the support of its local and International partners has been implementing various emergency response and drought recovery projects with following the main objectives:
  • To save human lives and livelihoods of drought affected people through provision of job opportunities in the form of cash-for-work, avoid house hold assete depletion and build community asset.
  • To improve access to potable water, hygiene and sanitation of  targeted households
  • To help improve the livelihoods and general living conditions of chronically drought-affected people;
  • To provide sustainable assistance which promotes local self-help development and community capacity building;
  • To work with communities to address the root causes of vulnerability and help mitigate the effects of future emergency situations;
  • To respond to the special needs of the war and drought-affected communities; and
  • To strengthen  the capacity  of ADCS, to respond to the  immediate emergency situations and future emergencies

Such projects and programs served as a life-saving bridge during the hunger gap and protect the livelihoods of drought-affected people in the Diocese.
Majority of these interventions/projects have provided cash-for-work opportunities for the most vulnerable to mitigate the effects of elevated food prices and recurrent drought. Cash-for-work interventions were used to undertake activities which focus creation of communal assets mail on soil and water conservation (check-dams, terraces), road construction and maintenance, construction of ponds for livestock water supply, construction of micro-dams,  irrigation structures (reservoirs, canals).

Though not a primary objective of the emergency projects, numerous kilometres of rural access roads rehabilitated and constructed. In order to improve re-vegetation of the environment, decrease erosion and improve moisture retention and ultimately contribute to agricultural productivity and future disaster prevention and food security, different types of terraces, bunds and other conservation measures were carried out.

Urban Development and Tourism

In the operational areas of ADCS, mainly the Regional Sate of Tigray, the youth population reaches around 1 million of which over 25% are unemployed. Urban poverty in Tigray is over 60%.
Considering the overwhelming poverty and chronic vulnerability to food insecurity which afflicts the urban dwellers of Diocese, ADCS in partnership with its partners have conducted a “Participatory Needs Assessment in May - June 2007” in  three  selected urban centers, namely Mekelle, Adigrat and Alitena/ Dewhan.  Conclusions of the assessment concluded  that there is:

  • Limited employment opportunities
  • Lack of capital
  • Lack of market driven training opportunity
  • Limited technical & administrative support from respective organs

In resposne to these prevailing problems, ADCS developed an urban development program with overall objective of reducing extreme poverty of urban risk population in Mekelle, Adigrat and Alitena/Dewhan by strengthening human, social and economic capabilities of the population, and focusing on employment generation.
The specific objective of this program is to sustainably improve the income of vulnerable and poor urban and peri-urban including 20% female headed households and 70% of women beneficiaries.  The major components of the programs are Education, Business Development, and Tourism, the main activities under each component are described below:

Education (Functional Adult literacy and skill training):

In this component the program deals with marketable skill and knowledge of targeted people, mainly unemployed youth & female headed households in the three urban centres will increase which will improve their opportunities to have access to jobs & self employment.  Main activities are

  • Construction and equipping of Multipurpose training centre in Adigrat
  • Training centre rehabilitated in Alitena
  • Training methodologies, contents and material developed
  • Training of trainers (ToT)
  • Provision of basic education for illiterate people
  • Provision of short term marketable skill trainings  
  • Organization of awareness raising activities on cross-cutting issues  

Business Development
This component of the urban development program has been designed in order to develop and strengthen sustainable micro and small business in the program area to improve the income and livelihoods of the poor and vulnerable groups targeted by the program. Main activities are:

  •  establishment of business development centres
  • Organize students (unemployed but skilled youth) into cooperatives and provide strengthening support
  • Undertake micro credit feasibility study and provide credit services . 
  • Provide close follow up and technical assistance
  • Conduction of continuous market assessments and finding of market opportunities for MSEs 


By implementing this component, ADCS strives to stimulate and strengthen  the tourism sector at regional and local level. Major activities are:

  • Construction of a hotel in Adigrat which includes will have a restaurant, internet and information centre and handicraft shop
  • Identify  and develop  four community tourism lodges
  • Promote/market tourism nationally and internationally through websites & other networks
  • Network, advocate and lobby for tourism development in the region
  • Capacity development on tourism for the main stakeholders


HIV/AIDS Activities and HIV/AIDS focused Strategic Plan of ADCS

ADCS is implementing projects/programmes to reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS pandemic in the Diocese. This has given ADCS the opportunity to learn what is necessary to tackle the spread of the disease. As the spread of HIV/AIDS will undermine all development efforts of ADCS, it will approach the problem through three broader strategies: Mainstreaming HIV/AIDS issues in programme/project cycle, mainstreaming HIV/AIDS issues in all dimensions of the organization through the development of work place HIV/AIDS policy, and working in partnership with HIV/AIDS specialized coalitions and advocacy organizations.
Currently, ADCS is highly involved in the fight against the spread of HIV and AIDS by providing comprehensive interventions such as behavior change communication, VCT service, and care and support for people affected and infected with HIV/AIDS.

HIV/AIDS is also spreading rapidly across the country. In the diocese of Adigrat the situation is aggravated by the displacement of people, military mobilization due to the border conflict. In addition to the infecting and killing individuals in the most productive age group (15 to 45 years age group), the pandemic affects household food security in various ways, eroding the capacity of households to attain food security and or to withstand shocks.
During the implementation of its HIV/AIDS programming, ADCS recognized the importance of developing HIV/AIDS focused five years strategic plan to create transparency among staff and collaborators and harmonize the action against the spread of HIV/AIDS, prioritize the areas of focus for intervention, avoid duplication of efforts, ensure quality of service to the people in the Diocese and create a conducive environment for improved partnership that mobilizes and maximizes access to resources locally, nationally and internationally.

This HIV/AIDS focused five years strategic plan, which covers the year 2007-2011, is formulated with the overall context of the Catholic Church and in line with the Ethiopian National HIV/AIDS policy and strategy and as well as the Ethiopian Catholic Church HIV/AIDS policy and strategic framework
The overall goal of the Diocese through the ADCS in regard to HIV and AIDS is to address the social, political, cultural and medical injustice conditions driving the spread of HIV and AIDS in the region so that the vulnerability of people and the impact of HIV are minimized through a community driven effort of integral human development according to the teachings of the Catholic Church. This includes:

  • Reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS/STIs in the Diocese through promotion of abstinence and faithfulness to one partner, and discouraging harmful attitudes and practices.
  • Improve the quality of life of People Living with HIV/AIDS, OVCs and Affected Families
  • Enhance pastoral oriented HIV and AIDS program through promotion of Integral Human Development.
  • Ensure HIV/AIDS Mainstreaming and Integration
  • Enhance the Human Resource Capacity of ADCS for effective response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic
  • Enhance quality HIV and AIDS organizational program.
  • Ensure Gender Equality in ADCS HIV/AIDS Program
  • Improve Networking among ADCS’s Partners
  • Improve ADCS’s financial and material resource that helps to respond to the ever-growing demand.

In the implementation of the above strategic goals, ADCS will promote five principles of strategic orientation based on the Catholic Social Teaching; Subsidiarity, Complementarity, Good Governance, Mainstreaming, and Sustainability.
Currently, ADCS is running 7 community based and integrated HIV and AIDS projects/programs in the diocese which mainly focus on prevention as well addressing the economic and psychosocial needs of people living with the virus, orphans and vulnerable children.  The overall objective of the ongoing programs and projects on HIV and AIDS is to contribute to the national efforts to reduce the spread and mitigate the negative impacts of HIV/AIDS.
The Catholic church works with other faith-based institutions (religions) in the HIV/AIDS prevention prevention, care and support  interventions  in the diocese.

Women in Development and Gender and Development (WID/GAD) Interventions

From long experience of development interventions ADCS appreciated that the existing gender disparity, which ignores the participation and role of half of the population, is a great obstacle in achieving the objective of poverty reduction. In response to this, ADCS established WID/GAD division under social and development coordination office in FY 2001 with the fowling objectives:

  • Upgrading the technical and managerial skills of women’s promotion centers/WPC/ and there by run sustainable and viable income generating projects
  • Setting appropriate mechanisms and ensure women/girls are active participants and beneficiaries of social and development programs of ADCS
  • Creating partnership and networking with Women’s Affairs Offices or Associations at different administrative levels and contribute for sensitization and awareness creation of women for their right and equal opportunities.

In the diocese there are about 6 women promotion centers, which are running by different congregations. Previously these women promotion centers had charity-based activities. But with WID/GAD technical support mojorty of the WPCs transfer their activities to income generation and socio-economic empowerment of women, which initiates self-reliance. In the last four years the WPCs involved in provision of skill training and startup loan to poor women headed families, single mothers and some destitute families.

Needy children support and social welfare services
With support of its local and international partners (sponsors), ADCS support vulnerable and needy school children.   These projects and programs project support needy school children with their parents and guardians to continue their education mainly providing assistance to cover costs of living and education.    The program also provides psycho-social support to those in need.  There are other social welfare services to assist the destitute, disabled and the aged.

Capacity Building and Organizational Development

ADCS has undergone restructuring and organizational development initiatives since 2001.  In the process partners assisted ADCS technically and financially.  This process was mainly focusing developing organizational structure, job descriptions, staffing key posts, developing administrative and other procedural manuals, enhancing Information Technology and communication infrastructures, training and upgrading of its personnel. As organization development and capacity building is a dynamic process, ADCS conducts regular capacity assessment and organizational structure review. Accordingly, ADCS has been and is working on capacity enhancement and organizational development plans.



©Copyright by Catholic Eparchy of Adigrat. All Rights Reserved