The Integrated Holistic Approach Urban Development Project is situated in Addis Ababa, capital city of Ethiopia. IHA-UDP grew out of an urban renewal project by Norwegian Save the Children operating in what the World Bank had identified as the poorest part of the city.

Members of Glenfall church have been out to the project half a dozen times in the last ten years. In addition to making a couple of videos to raise money, we have donated a minibus, provided materials for several concrete-block houses, provided a special hose-pipe for clearing blocked drains, sent/taken-out medical and other supplies, jointly sponsored an international conference on how churches can serve the urban poor, sponsored research into waste recycling and charcoal production, published and distributed a booklet of Bible reflections, administered a regular newsletter for more than 200 of the project's Christian supporters, and organised several annual conferences held in Oxford.

The Project began in 1989 in four kebeles, or administrative areas. Nearly all development projects concentrate on just one area of need (eg. clean water supply). IHA-UDP is almost unique in trying to do everything, starting on a small scale and rapidly growing in every direction. The Project takes as a symbol a simple triangle, the three sides of which represent:

  • Physical Upgrading, eg. provision of street lighting, sanitation, housing...
  • Community Development, eg. job creation, provision of schools, care for the disabled and elderly
  • Primary Health Care eg. provision of health clinics, basic medicine, health education...

By implementing these three activities simultaneously, the project has begun to break the cycle of poverty for over 35,000 people. Each of the three main areas has dozens of minor projects all running simultaneously. IHA-UDP has featured on Comic Relief and more recently in a documentary by David Dimbleby who describes the founder, Jember Teferra, as 'a modern-day Mother Theresa'.

The work has been so successful that in 1998 the project workers handed-over control to the local community themselves and then started again in another kebele. It has become an important role model for similar projects in other parts of the world.




“One often meets his destiny on the road he takes to avoid it.”
Kung Fu Panda