Our integrated approach

Our integrated approach

A way out

People can find a way out of poverty through a variety of initiatives from all areas of life.

Many different initiatives are needed to develop a region as a whole because all areas of life are interrelated. We are therefore implementing an overall concept in the regions, with projects in the areas of agriculture, water, education, health and income.

How we’re helping

  • Development of entire regions that are on average half the size of Vorarlberg, with the aim of leaving them again;
  • Helping people to help themselves, enabling them to bring about improvements themselves and making them independent of outside help;
  • Implementation of an overall concept with initiatives from all areas of life to ensure sustainable development;
  • Collaboration with the population as equals and implementation of initiatives by people themselves.
Our work always focuses on people and their needs. The principle behind our work is to meet the people face to face and to actively involve them. Our motto here is “helping people to help themselves”. We want to empower them, not give them handouts. Being close to the people is important to us and is why staff in the project regions live in the remote villages themselves and work hand in hand with the population to develop their communities.

The population actively participates in the implementation of initiatives because this is the only way to make entire regions independent of outside help in the long term.

5 elements of development

Initiatives in only one area of life often bring only short-term success. It is only through the interplay of different initiatives in all areas of life that a fundamental and lasting change is achieved.

Interplay of initiatives
For example, improving medical care by building and equipping health stations is an important step. However, for long-term disease prevention and health protection, access to clean drinking water and an adequate, vitamin-rich diet are needed.

Income improves nutrition
Those who earn too little can barely afford enough food. When incomes rise, family nutrition improves, as do children's educational opportunities. For example, especially women who have an independent income thanks to a microloan invest in their children's education.

Water improves education
Wells and spring catchments must be built near villages so women can take advantage of programs like these and for girls to be able to pursue their education. This is because it saves them a lot of time that they would otherwise spend drawing water from distant, unprotected sources.

There are a variety of these kinds of interactions. That is why Menschen für Menschen is convinced that it takes an integrated approach – this bundle of initiatives – to develop entire regions sustainably.

Helping people to help themselves

Initiatives in all areas of life

People in Ethiopia are faced with a variety of challenges. The steps taken to meet these challenges must therefore be just as multifaceted. Since all areas of life are interrelated, initiatives are also coordinated and linked with each other. Only in this way are sustainable changes possible.

Together with the population, our Ethiopian colleagues in the project regions implement initiatives in the areas of agriculture, water, education, health and income. You can find out exactly what we do, what factors we consider and what the background issues are in individual areas.


Familie in Äthiopien inmitten ihres Gemüsefeldes


Frau mit ihrem kleinen Kind in ihrem eigenen laden in Äthiopien



Äthiopische Kinder in der Schule


Project procedure: step by step to shared success

Only initiatives planned and jointly implemented with the population on an equal basis can have a sustainable and positive impact. That is why, from start to finish, our staff work hand in hand with the people in the project regions to achieve successes that last, step by step. Here you will learn how the projects are planned in detail and implemented, from selection of the project region to reviewing our work.
Mitarbeiter von menschen für Menschen im Projekt

Selection: a district becomes the project region

The inhabitants themselves take the first step, even before the actual project work begins. They, represented by their community members or councils of elders, ask for support directly from Menschen für Menschen. Whether a woreda (district) then becomes a project region depends on two important factors: whether enough financial resources are available and what the situation in the region is like. Menschen für Menschen generally works in remote regions which are very much in need.
Mädchen in Äthiopien schöpft Wasser aus einer Pfütze

Planning: project plans for initiatives and budget

The needs and challenges in the region are ascertained in a so-called “baseline study”. The project plan is prepared on the basis of this study and includes both specific initiatives and their desired long-term effects, as well as the budget required for them.
Männer in Äthiopien bauen einen Brunnen

Implementation: project work with the population

Ultimately, staff in the project regions implement the initiatives together with the population. They generally follow a logical chronology: for example, the implementation of microcredit programs only makes sense once women have been relieved of their daily work through the construction of wells, among other things.
Mitarbeiter von menschen für menschen macht Foto von einem neuen Brunnen

Checks: internal and external audits

The initiatives are documented and recorded during implementation. In addition to purely quantitative controls, case studies are also conducted to examine the impact of initiatives on people's lives. Independent experts regularly carry out additional evaluations of project initiatives.
Mädchen in Äthiopien holt Wasser von einem neuen Brunnen

Completion: a project region is finalized

It takes about 10 to 15 years to create a good basis for further development in a region. Project activities are handed over gradually, for the most part immediately after completion. A small observation team assists the people once all the work has been completed.
Weisse Frau sitzt in Äthiopien in einer Gruppe von Menschen

Review: effect continues to unfold

The long-term effect of the work is examined in particular in so-called “ex-post evaluations” conducted five years after the project work is completed. They indicate whether the implemented initiatives are having a sustainable effect and are being carried forward by the population.