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Prime Minster Hailemariam Expresses His Government’s Willingness to Revisit CSO Law

Representatives of CSOs discussing with the Prime Minister

Prime Minster Hailemariam Desalegne expressed government’s willingness to revisit CSO law.

The Prime Minster met with Representatives of CSOs and held discussions with them on April 13, 2017 at his office. During the discussion, the CSO representatives presented a fourteen pages proposal for the amendment of Ethiopian Charities and Societies Law number 621/2009 and improve its implementation.

Prime Minster Hailemariam stressed on the occasion that the government strongly believes that citizens should actively participate in the democratization process through CSOs. He further noted that the government will further continue discussing with CSOs through its Center for Democracy.

The proposal by CSOs underlined the need to establish and strengthen CSOs that would contribute for increasing public participation in the effort to build a democratic system in the country. It also mentions that as stated in the second Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP II) the government believes in CSOs involvement in development activities and in the role they play in monitoring and evaluation of development. The representatives said there had not been CSO law and appreciated the government for introducing the charities and societies law in 2009. They said it is now high time to see the impact the law made in the past eight years. They noted that several researches were conducted on the law which indicated the loopholes in it. And various stakeholders complained that the law and the regulations and directives issued following it, have posed serious challenges on CSOs by limiting their programmatic and operative space. Moreover, coupled with other non-legal factors, they resulted in the weakening and shrinking of the CSO sector.

The representatives of CSOs that met with Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn

The fact that CSOs, particularly those categorized by the law as Ethiopian Charities and Mass-based Societies, are forbidden not to mobilize more than 10% of their budget from foreign sources has seriously affected citizens right to be organized under them, the representatives underlined.

The 14 pages proposal also raised issues relevant to implementation of the law.

The CSO representatives further asked Prime Minster Hailemariam Desalegn to meet with them twice a year and discuss issues that concern CSOs, and he agreed.

 

CCRDA Holds Its 245th Members’ General Assembly

Participants of the General Assembly

CCRDA held its 245th Members’ General Assembly on March 30, 2017.

While updating members on current CSOs/NGOs operating scene, CCRDA Executive Director, Dr Meshesha Shewarega, told the participants the decision by the government to review the charities and societies proclamation by assessing the key challenges related to its implementation and contents. He said a taskforce has been established which is led by the State Minister of the Ministry of Federal Affairs and Pastoralist Development. Based on the request of the Ministry, CCRDA and other consortiums have given their comments on the proclamation. CCRDA on its part has given ten pages of comments on the proclamations and various guidelines that its members want to be revisited, Dr Meshesha said. He further noted that the final report has been submitted to the Prime Minister’s Office and CCRDA and other consortiums are waiting for the final outcome.

Dr Meshesha Shewarega presenting the 2016 CCRDA Annual Report

While presenting the 2016 CCRDA Annual Report, Dr Meshesha said CCRDA managed to raise more than birr 101,346,269 in 2016; its total asset in the past year was 111,188,466. It channeled more than 80%, 81,077,015 birr, to members. He told the participants of the meeting that the Secretariat managed to implement nearly 85% of what it had planned.

 

While listing the major achievements of the Consortium in 2016, he said, “A Code of conduct was signed by many member organizations and the CCRDA Ethics Panel was established. Regional Chapters became operational resulting in more ownership members. A five years Leadership Development Program was launched. The Post Graduate Diploma was upgraded to MA program in collaboration with Ambo University. More than 90 organizations received institutional strengthening support, a weekly Begonet Radio program was launched to promote the good practices of members of CCRDA; and UKAID/RIF was launched.”

 

HaddisTadesse, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) Deputy Director for Africa and Country Representative for Ethiopia and the African Union, was invited at the Membership General Assembly to talk about the foundation. During his presentation Haddis told the participants that the BMGF was founded in 2000, but the family had started supporting Ethiopia since 1998, even before the establishment of their foundation. Since then the BMGF has invested 500 million US dollars in Ethiopia. Haddis noted that the foundation mainly worked in the areas of agriculture, private sector, health, nutrition and livestock. He said four of the elven pillars of GTP II have clear alignment with the foundation’s work. He said in Ethiopia BMGF mainly works with government institutions. It is figuring out with CCRDA to see how to work with local NGOs, he added.

HaddisTadesse, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Deputy Director for
Africa and Country Representative for Ethiopia and the African Union

A participant asked what the criteria of BMGF are for selecting an organization to work with. Haddis Tadesse answered, “We start looking into a problem and its scope and we look for organizations that can address the problem. We consult a lot of people before we do what we do. We tend to gravitate to bigger organizations. But we know there are some things that we miss working only with bigger organizations.” He said the foundation looks into capabilities of an organization before it decides to fund them.

 

During the meeting, the participants elected the next CCRDA Board members. They elected Rahel Gebremariam, Dr Mulugeta Debebe, Ephrem Tesgay, Melaku Sibhat and Mekdes Alemu as the next CCRDA Board members.

Partial View of the participants of the General Assembly

In his closing remark, Chairperson of Membership Assembly of CCRDA, Ato Feyera Abdi, congratulated CCRDA for its tremendous achievement in 2016. He underscored that the Consortium’s performance is consistently moving well and the resource generated is impressive given the current difficult financial terrain. He also appreciated the CCRDA Executive Director for his leadership and brining the organization out of its financial crisis and repositioning along such positive course.

 
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