|Visit To Awassa|
Oct. 25, 1962
|Realizing the great potentialities of co-operative community action in national progress and |
development, We established the Ministry of National Community Development as early as 1957.
Our chief concern has been to improve life and living conditions of Our people, especially the
weaker section of Our society like nomads, who live in under-developed regions of Our Empire.
In the world of today, community development is universally recognized as "A process designed to
create conditions of economic and social progress for the whole community with active
participation and largely dependent upon the initiative of the community."
Accordingly when people have the ability and means, their partnership with the Government in
development plans strengthens both the people and the Government. It is therefore with this
belief that We have undertaken extensive educational plans throughout the nation.
Community development, thus, comprises two important elements:
(1) the participation of the people themselves in efforts to improve their level of living with as
much reliance as possible on their own initiative, and
(2) the provision of technical and other related services in ways which encourage initiative,
self-help and mutual aid and make these more effective.
Self-help thus is the quintessence of community development programmes. It is, therefore,
essential that initiative and desire for improvement should emanate from the people and not be
superimposed from outside. It is of course the primary task of community development workers to
motivate and stimulate the people to cross barriers of apathy and helplessness.
It is quite possible that weaker communities in backward areas display neither interest nore
enthusiasm for their welfare, and may even expect an outright handout from the Government for
their welfare. On the other hand more progressive and alert agricultural and pastoral communities
may display keen determination to improve their lot relying on their community's own genious
and resources. While it is important to give attention to both these types of situation, it should be
remembered that any help given to the first category of community should always aim at making
them stand on their own legs and to support the self-help potential of the second group to
accomplish higher objectives each time, thus serving as a model and inspiration to others.
|Community development is a unique programme, differing from other governmental departments, |
in that it is in the truest sense a partnership between the government and the people. It devolves
on the people to manage their own affairs making the best use of technical and other resources of
There are a number of essential public services which have to be managed entirely by the
Government such as large scale and key industries, Transport and Communications, Education,
Health, Defence, Public Security, Law and Order and Administration of Justice and the like.
These nation-building activities naturally claim a major portion of governmental resources both in
terms of finance and personnel. In the eternal tussel for national priority, small village problems
often are relegated to the background and are subjected to long delays before they are attended to.
In Amharic there is a proverb saying "Fifty lemons can serve as decoration for fifty men but
constitute a load for a single person." Similarly in our local communities, if people co-operate to
undertake small improvements it could make a vast difference in our level of living and also
conserve national efforts and resources for other equally important purposes.
One can think of a vast and unending catalogue of self-help projects which can be tackled by
energetic community action. Feeder and link roads in the countryside; small bridges, improvement
in water supply, housing, sanitation, construction ov communit institutions like, schools, clinics,
community centres, or the undertaking of economic improvement projects for better agriculture,
handicraft, cattle breeding, poultry, fish culture and the like, on the basis of their own initiative.
|We are deeply impressed and encouraged to see our people assuming social responsibility and |
making substantial contributions towards community betterment through hundreds of self-help
projects in all walks of life. All the same, in our fight against poverty, disease, and ignorance, Our
people will ahve to put in greater efforts and sacrifices so that we may attain Our cherished goal of
a higher and more satisfying level of life and living. In this noble task each one of Our people, men
and women, young and old, rich and poor, able and disabled, has a role to play and We are sure
Our Empire will march ahead towards prosperity and progress through united efforts of all Our
citizens. In order to hasten this process, numerous projects have been launched both with local
community support as well as international assistance.
Let us be very clear that the Ministry of National Community Development by itself cannot tackle
this gigantic nation building task unless it is assured the fullest and whole-hearted co-operation of
all other Ministries of our Government especially the Ministries of Education, Agriculture, Public
Health, and Interior.
These ministries ought to support community development projects by assigning their respective
workers and also make available adequate programme funds on a priority basis. The Ministry of
Community Development is responsible for training and assigning district and village workers to
guide and organize the people for their development. Similarly, the Ministry of Interior could
instruct its officials to assist the project through their provincial and district administrators. As
this co-ordination and team work has already been established, it would avoid duplication of
efforts and waste of time and money. These Ministries should always assist all projects launched
by the community in all possible ways through technical assistance as well as material aid. All Our
fourteen provinces, shold therefore be thinking and working out their regional development plans.
The sum total of these efforts and experiences would assure a general improvement and progress
of the whole Empire. The example of developed countries amply proves the truth of the proverb
"Unity is strength." Today it is the duty of Africans to preserve and strengthen the already
established African unity. Our best contribution to the ideal will be to work for and achieve
co-operation and development within Our own country.
|In this co-operative venture between the people and the government, voluntary organizations like |
the National Literacy Campaign committee and other welfare agencies have a great role to play and
indeed they have been doing good work in the past and We hope they will continue to do so.
The success of community development to a large measure depends on the co-ordination and
effective communication between various government agencies. While departmentalization of
government function and parliamentary activity is inevitable in order to cater to specialize
interests and problems, once We leave the outskirts of towns and cities all these neat divisions
vanish and the totality of the rural problem becomes a vast interrelated complex. When people
express their felt needs, these have to be formalized into plans. The chief aim of training
village-level workers in this centre is to meet the problems of the community. The only way We
can reach them is through a unified approach of community development workers at the village
level. The various ministries could support the work of these multi-purpose workers by assigning
specialists at the district level and for selected projects.
We have already established a National Board for Community Development consisting of
representatives of various developmental ministries apart from the National Ministry of
Community Development, Agriculture, Education, Health, Public Works and Interior.
In this task the government officials through their dedicated services, disciplined behaviour,
humility, helpfulness and efficiency, should present an image of selfless and devoted community
workers. They should make every effort to integrate and preserve national culture and promote
and strengthen traditional institutions like Shengo, Idir, Debo, Iqub, through administative and
other measures. These mutual-aid institutions can serve as a sure foundation of community
development and progress in Ethiopia.
It is the duty of all government officials, religious leaders and local dignitaries who enjoy the trust
and confidence of the public to promote, continue and improve all that is healthy in Our
community life and discourage harmful practices and attitudes. They should guide, support, and
assist the local community workers. Modern governmental activity must transcend old ideas of
law and order and embrace and extend welfare of all sections of the people. We hope and trust
that Government and Community leaders will become friend, philosphers, and guide of Community
Development and eventually themselves become model social workers in the community.
In this task, We shall not do full justice to Our responsibility if We do not use national and
international resources duly imported, coupled with Our own hard labour.
|Students of Today -- Teachers of Tomorrow|
|Graduates of this training centre, who graduated two years ago, have already become pioneers in |
the field of community development and set new traditions and an image that "government
servants" are "people's servants." They have proved that the government has trained a new type of
worker who can handle difficult community problems. Patience, courage, and persistent effort
alone can help our workers to bring about social change effectively. You, who have deliberately
chosen this missionary vocation, therefore, need to be congratulated. We should follow the
example of this type of community service, even those who had the privilege of education abroad
should be prepared to dedicate their services in rural surroundings even at the cost of personal
Our nation, with 90% of its people living in rural areas and serving the backbone of Our economy,
is desparately looking up to young men of your calibre and training to rise to the occasion.
While you were at this training centre, it is true that you have learned many principles and
techniques of community development. To learn these principles and techniques is one thing and
to apply them is yet another.
Do you like to serve people? Are you happy to work with people? Are you doing your best? We
hope you will ask yourselves these questions as often as you can while you are in this noble
The community development worker's task is unique. We must be prepared to work late at night,
on official holidays or any odd hour, if the need arises.
A good community development worker is always as ready to learn as to teach. If you are guided
by this principle you will always try to improve, which is good for yor own self-improvement and
for that of your work.
If you are open-minded and ready to learn, there are many things which you can learn not only
from books and instructors but from the very life experience itself. There are definitely many
things which you can learn from the people. If you are guided by this principle, you will be
surprised how pleasant life can be even under trying conditions.
Finally, We would like to thank the staff members of the training centre can all those who have
contributed in one way or another in the implementation of this important programme of training
community development workers.
The government has many development programmes intended to raise the standard of living of
Our people. The people on their part are keen to participate in these national development
programmes, and it is your job to mobilize their human and natural resources in order to
effectively tackle our developmental problems.
In this noble task, may the Almighty grant you faith, courage, tolerance and understanding to
crown your efforts with His glory and success.
Our people, realizing the great efforts deployed by Us for their welfare and betterment, have begun,
in several areas of their own free will, to assist co-operatively in the execution of Our plans. This
has been a source of gratification for Us, and your presence in the districts and villages to assist
them in their endeavours by giving them advice in the mobilization of their energies will contribute
a great deal in promoting and strengthening Our plans for their well-being. Having provided the
opportunities of education for Our youth, to see the young people who have benefited form this
education accepting the responsibility to go to the various parts of the country to advise Our
people in the new techniques that they have acquired, thus enriching the experience of the people
-- this act being a manifestation of Our desire to raise the living standard of Our people -- gives Us
peace of mind.
To live a full life and to be thankful for the blessings of God nothing is more rewarding than, after
having learned to teach your fellow-man, using your talent to teach others. May God guide you in
the accomplishment of this task.
We express Our gratitude to the Government of the United States of America for their contribution
towards the building of this centre and to its successful functioning.
|Haile Selassie the First - October 25, 1962|