Harari people national regional state 
Harari Relief and Development Association (HARDA) 

1. Emergency relief operations 
2. Disaster prevention 
3. Poverty reduction 
4. Environmental rehabilitation 
5. Economic and social development 

Harar in History 
      In 1855 AD the British explorer Richard Burton became the first European to enter the City of Harar and in his letter of justification for embarking on a venture perceived to be fraught with unknown dangers he describes Harar as the entre-pot between the Red Sea and Indian Ocean coasts and the massive Ethiopian hinterland as:-  The ancient metropolis of a once mighty race, the only permanent settlement in Easten Africa, the reported seat of Muslim learning, a walled city of stone houses possessing its independent chief, its peculiar population, its unknown language, and its own coinage… and the great manufacture of cotton cloths, amply it appeared, deserved the trouble of exploration. In the 140 years since then Harar had gone through innumerable vicissitudes including four major wars, a series of socio-economic upheavals and natural catastrophes. And yet it has maintained its dignity. Its unique culture and a particular brand of serenity. 
     Harar today is a city whose people thrive on smiles and friendliness. And unlike Burton’s days. It can be easily and most comfortably reached along an asphalt high way from Dire Dawa. Which is only 55 kms away and by all weather road from Jijiga.  In historical retrospect, Harar began to come into geo-political prominence with the founding of the first Muslim Sultanate in 896 AD. It flourished through the centuries and served as a powerful economic and commercial capital of a vast Muslim State, which vied on equal terms with the Atse state in North West Ethiopia. It further became the administrative capital of the Region in 1521 AD. The great defensive wall called the Jugal, that surrounds the inner citadel of harar was built in the 1550’s by Amir Nur, the nephew of the great Imam Ahmad ibn Ibrahim al Ghazi, commonly known as “AHMED GRAGN” Harar is located in South Eastern Ethiopia at about 526 kms from Addis Ababa. It is situated between 9018’. North latitude and 4207’. East longitude. It is bordered to the north by Combolcha and jarso, to the South by Fadis, to the East by Babile and to the West by Alemaya. It is situated on the plateau between 1600 ms and 1900 ms above sea level. 
     Aw Hakim is the major mountain near the city. The main rivers are the Hamaressa, Erer and Bissidimo further more numerous rivers in the area flow South to drain in the Wabi Shaballe basin. In fact the Jugal itself is surrounded by streams which spring intermittently in their very short course from the five gates. Climatically, Harar is among the luckiest cities in the world which are mild throughout the year. To quote Richard Burton again it is “warm but not hot. Cool but not cold.” The rainy season lasts from June to September. The annual average rainfall varies between 700-800 mm. And the temperature between 12.60C and 260C. Agriculture is the main economic activity. The cash crops include the finest coffee, the high grade hides and skins, ground nuts, fruits and chat (cata adulis). As it has been stated earlier, Harar, the ancient metropolis of Eastern Ethiopia became a fully developed city state almost 1000 years ago _ _  just at the beginning of the second millennium A.D. The “Jugal” or the defensive wall surrounding the inner city, was erected by Amir Nur early in the 16th century, as a bastion against the marauding hordes, propelled by the massive south/north cushitic migrations and the subsequent upheavals, which through the course of three-score years redesigned the ethno-cultural and socio-economic configuration of Ethiopia. In the more recent past, the imperialist conflicts in Europe, which instigated inter alia the “Scramble for Africa” further fragmented Eastern Ethiopia and drastically circumscribed the role of Harar as a major entrepot, or “half-way house” between the Ethiopian hinterland and the Red sea/Indian ocean littorals and waterways. However, with the completion of the Ethio-Djibouti railway in the first quarter of the current century, Harar could maintain a classic “geographic inertia” to benefit economically from Ethiopia’s expanding foreign trade through the period of the Italian occupation till the end of world war II. In fact, at the conclusion of the Ethio-Italian War in 1941, the province of Hararghe which consisted of an integrated Land mass divided from the major Ethiopian massif, and cut off to the East, by the Great Rift Valley. However, by the early 1960’s, Arussi and Bale were whittled away by the Haile Sellassie regime to from runaway mini-provinces. And in 1988, the Derg further carved the already impaired Hararghe Province into two “Administrative” and two the so-called “Autonomous” regions. And finally, in 1992, the Transitional Government of Ethiopia (TGE), as part of a fundamental restructuring of the Ethiopian state on democratic bases, has delimited Harar and its surrounding sub-districts into, Region XIII, consisting territorially of the inner city of Harar and its concentric rural rings within an approximate radius of 10 to 15 kms to form the democratically elective and autonomous Region. After formation of Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, Harari People National Regional State became one of the nine Regional States of Ethiopia. 

The Current Socio-Economic Situation 
      The Eritrean unification and the acquisition of the port of Assab in 1960, laid the foundation for the deliberate strangulation of Harar’s life-line through the near-total diversion of the national trade flows and foreign economic transactions, initially by the Haile Sellassie, and later extensively by the Derg regimes to the North along the Addis Ababa - Assab axis. Directly, Harar and its province underwent a shriveling economic decline and sustained debilitating capital resources outflows to the northern centres of dictatorship. Whatever the geographic designs and re-designs, Harar cannot be considered in isolation from its contiguous regions, i.e. the component elements of the traditional hararghe province, which had included the Ogaden, Arusi and Bale regions as its Awrajas. From the early 1960’s todate, this vast region (approx. 405,000 km2) bore the attritive brunt of: two large-scale wars; a series of droughts (at the rate of one every three years) which culminated in the major famine of 1987/88; mass displacements of people through the ill-advised centrally dictated villagisation schemes; and a chain of Ethiopian returnee and Somali refugee migrations.  These events devastated the meager socio-economic infrastructure of the region and accelerated the degradation of its fragile eco-system to an advanced stage of impairment. The damage was further exacerbated by the massive military overload and mindless exploitation of the natural cover by its retinues. In the event, the primitive and extremely limited health, sanitation, drinking water and education facilities in Harar, Dire Dawa, Jijiga, Neghelle and other urban units in the region became over-exploited by, and critically congested with, large non-productive communities.  The confluence of these region-specific constraints and the massive socio-economic crises, which have jettisorted Ethiopia as a whole into the abyss of human deprivation and grinding poverty, underscore the imperatives of extensive interventions in the region so as: to ensure food and water security, and access to minimally acceptable health, sanitation and education services; to rehabilitate and reconstruct, as needed, essential economic and social infrastructures such as rural roads, small-scale irrigation networks; and to protect the environment and restitute ecological damage through community-based reforestation, multipurpose tree planting and soil and water conservation schemes as pre-requisites for sustainable development. 

The beneficiaries 
      The native population of Harari People National Regional State is estimated at about 200,000 with a 55/45 urban/rural composition. However, a consistent decline in rainfall and water precipitation in the last three decades and the series of attendant droughts; internal and external social conflicts; and virulent mis-management of human and natural resources instigated an unending series of rural migrations and urban congestions. Harar, and by extension, Harari Region, became inundated with the poor and vulnerable elements of the communities of Misrak Hararghe. In fact, NGO’s presently active in and around Hararghe are presumed to have distributed in 1992 almost 80,000 metric tons of relief food supplies in the “food-for-work” mode alone to an estimated beneficiary total population of 556,234 persons. From a broader perspective, this is but the tip in the iceberg. The Hararghe region, which still considers the city of Harar as its spiritual metropolis, has a total population of almost 5,217,400 CSA 1992 projection) of which 4,649,500 are rural residents. Regarding the status of poverty, the 1992 estimate categorized 486,703 nomadic house-holds making up approximately 4,209,920 persons in urgent need of relief assistance, food security, minimal health and sanitation services and, most fundamentally, sustainable poverty alleviation and development assistance. 
      Reducing the larger Hararghe scale a further step to consider Eastern Hararghe alone: Only six hospitals (built during the Italian occupation and earlier) ill-equipped three health centres and 73 “hypothetical” health stations serve a population of over 2,470,000. There are no pharmaceutical or medical supplies in the government - managed health centres; while NGO establishments, which give commendable service are far and too few. With regard to rural water supply, the estimated national average of 11% coverage is much lower in eastern Hararghe due to the afore-mentioned influx into Harar from surrounding areas. 
     To address the grinding poverty and the bysmal human tragedy prevailing in this once rich and great region required the establishment of a dedicated agency, The Harar Relief and Development Association (HARDA), capable of: mobilizing human, material and financial resources from private, communal, governmental and international organizations and institutions; coordinating technical expertise and socio-cultural “know-how” and managerial cometence to deliver emergency relief and life-saving aid, care and maintenance of basic health, nutrition and sanitary services in the first instance; and initiating, managing and implementing multi-annual rehabilitation assistance and sustainable development interventions. 
      HARDA is a non-political and non-governmental welfare organization whose raison d’etre and fundamental terms of reference are the specific objectives hereinabove. 

      The previous self-centred dictatorial authorities were the least concerned about the well-being of those they considered to be peripheral or fringe societies. Consequently, any formal education system, which was set in place in Hararghe, was for the exclusive use of the non-indigenous communities. The challenge now is, therefore, to develop for the Region and its close neighbours a thorough-going strategy linking education to change and, therefore, targeted towards: improving: literacy in a script of regional choice; formal education; and practical knowledge in handicrafts and community-based irrigated agriculture and rain-fed farming; and stimulating these communities so that their human resource potential is cost-effectively used for the benefit of their very communities. Thus, the need is pressing not only to rehabilitate and reconstruct grade schools but also to establish community training and pedagogical centres. If the current environmental degradation in the Region (and Eastern Hararghe) is permittedto near future, human settlement in many parts will become unsustainable. It is, indeed, imperative that urgent steps are taken to rehabilitate specific aspects of the eco-system in this impaired and fragile region. 
Identified Program Components 
 In practical terms, the following would be priority activities, which HARDA will endeavor to pursue and “turn every stone” to mobilize resources and expertise for their urgent and effective implementation: 
   - developing rural roads network and construction of warehouses as part of the broad scheme of regional food security; 
   - upgrading and setting in place water supply and sanitation services, clinics, health centres, MCH facilities and expanded     immunization schemes;
   - introducing combined mobile medical and veterinary services for the agro-pastoralist communities around Harar and contiguous zones; 
   - establishment of schools and vocational training centres; 
   - providing credit facilities and financing, as necessary, feasible commercial activities and cottage and small-scale industries; 
   - developing renewable and alternative energy resources and, in particular, solar energy projects - initially as “pilot” schemes to be replicated in cost-effective modes; 
   - restoration and preservation of natural vegetation cover in the vicinity of settlements, villages and refugee/returnee encampment areas; 
   - preparing inter-regional road work projects; and rehabilitation and restoration of the historical and cultural heritages of     Harar and its immediate satellites of shrines and ancient mosques, the parallel civilizations of the Somalis, the Afars and the Red Sea Emirates as well as the pre-historic relics of Harla, etc. 
      HARDA has registered in the Ministry of Justice of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, entered into General Agreement with the Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Commission (DPPC) as mandatory if it is to fulfill its primary objectives of Relief and Development Activities in Harari Region. Furthermore, since HARDA is developing its institutional capacities and capabilities to bridge the relief  and development activities, it has forged close partner ship Links with Pact-Ethiopia and has joined CRDA membership ranks. And finally, we would add that the Harari People National Regional Government  in effect, considers HARDA as one of its specific non-governmental agency for aids and development.



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