Church in Ethiopia Welcomes New CRS Country Representative
CANAA || By Makeda Yohannes, Addis Ababa || 11 May 2017
The Ethiopian Catholic Secretariat’s (ECS) Secretary General, Father Hagos Hayish, Tuesday, May 8, received in his office and expressed a word of welcome to the newly appointed country representative of the Catholic Relief Services (CRS) to Ethiopia, Mr. John Shumlansky.
Mr. Shumlansky will be taking over the position of country representative from Mr. Matt Davis who has been appointed the regional director for CRS Africa.
During the meeting Fr. Hagos, explained to Mr. Shumlansky the working structure of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Ethiopia (CBCE), ECS, and the diocesan offices. He also briefed the new country representative on the working relationship between Caritas Ethiopia, partners with offices based in Ethiopia and relevant government offices.
The Secretary General also lauded the long standing relationship between the local Church and CRS, which he said has benefited countless number of Ethiopians in times of drought and hardship through humanitarian programs.
“During my 10 years of service as the Secretary General for ECS, I have witnessed that our relationship has been mutually respectful and supporting one another. This very commendable relationship that we have has (borne) fruits not just through short term emergency relief but we can also see sustainable development and change in the lives of the community,” said Fr. Hagos.
ECS Secretary General also recalled that the Ethiopian Catholic Church Microfinance Institute, Metemamen M.F, which was established with the support of CRS and is currently making good progress toward becoming the first Catholic Bank in the country.
CRS has rendered a tremendous support to the water and sanitation department, which has currently grown into the ECS Water Works Company plc, owned by the Church as part of her efforts to become financially sustainable.
Fr. Hagos also explained how CRS supports the local Church with capacity building in the Church’s effort for self-sustainability and expressed his hope for a continued and strengthened relationship with CRS.
He also briefed Mr. Shumlansky about the upcoming 19th Plenary Assembly of the Association of Member Episcopal Conferences in Eastern Africa (AMECEA) to hosted by the Church in Ethiopia in 2018.
On his part, the outgoing CRS Country representative in Ethiopia, Mr. Matt Davis shared with his successor the areas of partnership with ECS and his experience in Ethiopia.
Mr. Matt Davis will officially be handing over office to the incoming country representative in August.
The two CRS personnel also met Mr. Bekele Moges, Executive Director of Ethiopian Catholic Church Social and Development Commission (Caritas Ethiopia) and discussed about ongoing CRS and Caritas Ethiopia projects and partnerships.
Mr. John Shumlansky will be joining the Ethiopia office from Cambodia where he has been serving as the Deputy Regional Directory for CRS’ East and South Asia Region.
From 2009 to 2014, he was the Country Representative of CRS India.
Ethiopia would not be the first African experience for him as from 2005 to 2009 he was Country Representative for CRS in Lesotho. Prior to that, he worked for CRS in Niger on food security, nutrition, microfinance and education programs.
CRS has been working in Ethiopia supporting the CBCE in serving the poor and the vulnerable and ensuring integral human development for the people mainly in rural areas for 59 years.