ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA — European Union provides rare funding to Ethiopian civil society – The Delegation of the European Union (EU) to Ethiopia has awarded grant contracts to 12 Ethiopian civil society organizations (CSOs) worth about 1.6 million Euro from the European Commission Civil Society Fund in Ethiopia programme, the Delegation announced here Monday.
The funds are being offered to the civil society organizations in Ethiopia for improved governance, women empowerment and conflict resolution in various parts of the East African nation.
The EU Head of Delegation to Ethiopia, Ambassador Dino Sinigallia, stressed the Delegation’s strong commitment to supporting the work of the civil society in the country.
“The contracts awarded under the recent Calls for Proposals are testament of the EU’s commitment to strengthening Civil Society’s contribution to the country’s development endeavours,” the Ambassador said.
The civil society funding comes a year after Ethiopia’s enactment of a civil society law that banned foreign non-governmental organizations from engaging in the fight for equality of tribes, conflict prevention and religious freedoms was enacted in the country.
The new civil society law puts the NGOs under a serious government scrutiny and specifically bans wholly-funded foreign organisations from engaging in campaigns on issues considered internal affairs by the Ethiopian authorities.
The EU Delegation to Ethiopia said in a statement the money was drawn from the European Commission Civil Society Fund.
The funds would be used for a range of activities by the 12 non- governmental organisations.
“Their objectives range from enhancing institutional capacity and networking, promoting good governance amongst non-state actors and community based organizations, to women’s empowerment and conflict prevention, in line with the new Charities and Societies Proclamation 621/2009,” the EU statement said.
The new contracts were signed with Ethiopian Charities, Ethiopian Resident Charities and consortia of Ethiopian Resident and International Charities.
The organisations which will receive the money include those dealing with forced migration, pastoralists’ affairs, those dealing with issues of peace settlement and negotiations and child welfare issues, according to the statement.
“The signing of the new contracts affirms the European Union Delegation’s commitment to supporting non-state actors’ (NSAs) contribution to development efforts in Ethiopia in the framework of the Cotonou Partnership Agreement,” the EU said.
The signing of these new contracts brings the total number of ongoing projects under the programme up to 26, worth about 4 million Euro.
Around 400 Ethiopian Civil Society Organisations have been benefiting from capacity development activities in the framework of this joint EU-Government of Ethiopia programme.
The Civil Society Fund (CSF) is a 10-million-Euro Programme of support to the civil society being implemented over a six-year period (2006-2011).
The CSF is financed by the EU through the European Development Fund (EDF), in cooperation with the government of Ethiopia.
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