Brot Fuer Die Welt

Brot Fuer Die Welt

OAK Foundation

OAK Foundation

Save the Children

Save the Children

Street Kids International

Street Kids International

Civil Society Support Program

Civil Society Support

Ethiopian Social Accountability Program Phase 2

Ethiopian Social Acc.


US Aid

self Help Africa

Self Help Africa

Comic Relief

Comic Relief

Water Aid

Water Aid


Ethiopian Government

Ethiopian Government

Menschen fur Menschen

Menschen fur Menschen

Banyan Tree Foundation

Banyan Tree Foundation

Canadian Feed the Children.

Canadian Feed the Children

Christian Children's Fund

Christian Children's Fund

Koperazzjoni Internazzjionali-Malta

Koperazzjoni Internazzjionali

Based on the 2017 projections by the Central Statistical Agency of Ethiopia (CSA), the Afar Regional State has a population of 1,812,002, consisting of 991,000 men and 821,002 women; urban inhabitants number 346,000 of the population, a further 1,466,000 were pastoralists.

EDA animal health and functional adult education (FAL) projects take a holistic approach to ensure that both men and women have equal opportunities to access quality education. The FAL or education program is integrated with livelihood according to the community-led development approach.

Poor reading and writing skills of the young girls in the lower grades have a negative impact on a girl’s academic success through primary, secondary, and post-secondary education. EDA has partnered with private stakeholders, the school community, the government, and Teachers Training College to provide young students with a safe school environment and a solid academic foundation.

Dr. Tessema Bekele

Dr. Tessema Bekele is the founder, the heart and the soul of Emannuel Development Association. Dr. Bekele has been actively working toward his vision for the children of Ethiopia since 1996, but his desire to help started long before and is rooted in his personal history.

At the age of two, Tessema’s father, a church priest, passed away, leaving Tessema’s mother, Yeshi, with two daughters and two sons. The small salary that his father had made at the church was all the income that the family had, and without it life became very challenging. Tessema’s mother had to take care of her children without a permanent income.

Thanks to her resilience, Yeshi was able to generate an income from employment at simple jobs and send Tessema to school. This meant that he had to say goodbye to his friends, the kids he normally played with on the street, whose families could not afford to send them to school.
The dirt road to the school was rough. One day, when Tessema was running home from school barefoot, he cut his foot on a sharp stone and came home bleeding. He went to his mother crying to tell her.

“My son,” she said, “don’t be discouraged and cry. Look at your friends who sit on the street in the dust. They don’t have the opportunity to go to school, but you do. If you work hard in school, then one day you will grow up to help Ethiopian children.” Tessema stopped crying. The words his mother said that day have never left him. From that day on he knew that, in the future, he wanted to help poor children access education.

Tessema was very successful in school. While in high school, he worked as a coordinating leader to preach the word of Jesus Christ, but under the Military Dergthis this was not allowed. Tessema was imprisoned and tortured for a year. Following this difficult year, Tessema joined the air force and trained as a pilot. This decision helped him support his mother financially. His experience in the Air Force built his confidence and reinforced his commitment to helping others.

Thanks to Tessema’s academic achievements he joined the Addis Ababa University and began his lifelong quest for higher education. He completed a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration, Masters of Art Degree (MA) in Organizational Leadership and Development from the UC and was granted a PhD from the University of Phoenix, AZ, in 2017.
While in University, Tessema began to better understand international development and how to establish a charity. This led him to join World Vision Ethiopia, as a program coordinator in Northern Ethiopia. With this experience, Tessema gained more knowledge about child and community development. World Vision was vital in bringing a clear focus to Tessema’s vision. He wanted to establish a national development child development organization in Ethiopia.

In 1996, Tessema created the Emmanuel Development Association (EDA). There were many initial challenges. The government required donor commitment before EDA could be registered as an official charity; however, at this point, no international donors knew about the organization. Tessema convinced the government that he could raise local funds and was given a certificate to operate for only 6 months.

This was the point where Tessema had to decide how committed he was to his goals. He consulted with his wife, and with her support, he decided to resign from World Vision and raise funds for EDA. He took the $US 1000 which he was given when he left World Vision and contributed it to EDA. There was no car, no office: just a committed board of directors and a community in need.
EDA chose to help 30 street children who didn’t have access to basic education in the Akaki-Kaliti area. Within the first 6 months, the project attracted the attention of local communities, the government and donors. Many private supporters extended their hands, and in one year the number of children EDA could support increased from 30 to 120. The first years were challenging, but thanks to community support, EDA survived and grew.

From this point on, under the leadership of Tessema Bekele, EDA has grown to include not only basic education, but also child protection, water, sanitation and hygiene, community health, livelihoods and environmental sustainability. The association has also expanded their work to the Amhara region, the Afar region and, in 2015, the Oromia and SNNPR regions.

Tessema’s dream has become a reality.

Vision: Bright future for children.

Mission: EDA works to improve the well-being of vulnerable children, youth, and women through promoting rights-based and community-led development approach in Ethiopia


Quality service:-We use improved approaches and processes for better quality service
Entrepreneurship Spirit and Innovation:-We continuously develop, test and scale-up proven approaches to combat poverty and marginalization
Safe Environment:-We promote a safe environment for children, youth and women to intervene in their own development
Non-Discrimination:-We do not discriminate in our interventions or activities on the basis of gender, ethnic background or economic status
Team Spirit:-We enable our team members to feel welcome, improve their work quality, and assume responsibility
Transparency and Accountability:-We are transparent and accountable to our stakeholders and beneficiaries

The Emmanuel Development Association has made remarkable progress in its goal to help impoverished Ethiopians attain education, wellbeing and a financially sustainable life.  Throughout the years, EDA has been generously supported by international aid organizations.

Please contact us or make a donation through one of the organizations below if you wish to help EDA work for children, change and sustainable development.

  • Ato Alebachew Mekonen Zenebe, Chair person.

  •  Engineer Teketel Markos Sendabo

  •  Engineer Sirabizu Akele Fares

  •  Ato Yosef Getachew Wagaye

  • Bilen Seyoum Alemu

  •  Ato Addis Adugna Amanu

  •  Enginer Yeneneh Dawit Beyene

A Message from EDA’s Board Chairman

The development theory of EDA has highly inspired me to work for EDA as a volunteer and supporter of the target groups which EDA has committed to address in Ethiopia. Before I joined EDA, I first heard about the founder and current Executive Director of EDA, Dr. Tessema Bekele.

His passion and commitment as an orphan, raised by a single mother, motivated him to help marginalized children—and moved me to know about EDA more in-depth.

As a businessman, engineer and architect, I was not aware or interested to give attention, help or support to community development programs and charity organizations. However, the work and vision of EDA for marginalized community groups greatly convinced and inspired me to go out of my way to contribute to and support EDA.

Over the past years, EDA has addressed the needs of over 1.5 million marginalized community members in Ethiopia, particularly children, youth and women—who are the major target groups in all of EDA’s intervention areas. EDA is a learning organization and will never stop learning and looking into new ideas and development directions in order to work towards a better future for the target community. I am very proud to be a part of EDA’s team and to work for the poor, supporting the work of EDA financially and technically.

I would like to congratulate the team at EDA and the supporters who commit themselves to EDA's development in Ethiopia. Last but not least, I would like to invite donors, private businesses, and learning institutions to join EDA in supporting and developing the future of the emerging young community, for the betterment of Ethiopia’s future.


Girma Bizuneh

Board Chairman

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