The Nexus Between Religious Practices and Rural Community Development in Ethiopia: The Study of Ethiopian Orthodox Church Monasteries Experience



People argue that religion hinders socio economic development confined to non working saint days while there are a number of works being done in these days that are equivalent to “working” days. The overall objective of this study is to examine the role of religious practices to rural community development with a particular reference to Ethiopian Orthodox Church Monasteries, particularly Sellasie Monastery of Debre Elias Woreda, East Gojjam Zone, Amhara Region. A cross-sectional study design and qualitative research approach was used emphasizing on a phenomological methodology. Hence, in-depth interviews, Key informant interview, Focus Group Discussions and Field observation have been used to collect primary data. Study participants were selected from ascetic members, services users and surrounding community residents of the study monastery by using purposive sampling. The major finding indicates that hard work is considered as healing and rehabilitation mechanism and activities being undertaken in the study monastery have an influence on livelihoods, social attachments and psycho-social conditions of the communities. Attendants in the monastery and surrounding rural communities have being educated and baptized to be well and productive members. Moreover, the monastery has established practical income generating activities for residents of both monastic and surrounding community farmers. In general, the religious practices in the study area have been playing great role in the reduction of poverty and harmful traditional practices (including criminal acts), and for the improvement of health, community mobilization, social solidarity and therefore economic development of surrounding rural communities.

Keywords: Religion, religious practice, Monastery, Community development

DOI: 10.7176/JCSD/60-03

Publication date:June 30th 2020

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ISSN 2422-8400

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