ADDIS ABABA - Ethiopian Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) are working to launch civil society council at federal level this September, it was learnt.
Consortium of Ethiopian Human Rights Organizations (CEHRO) Executive Director, Mesud Gebeyehu told The Ethiopian Herald that all important preparations have been finalized to launch the council next month. We have developed the by-law, five years' strategic plan of the council, and code of conduct.
"We have fulfilled almost all necessary prerequisites to launch the council. Now, what is needed is the approval of the majority of CSOs through available mechanisms taking COVID-19 into consideration," he added.
According to him, since the amended civil society organization proclamation has been effective, the council is supposed to be effective as of the amendment of the proclamation, but because of COVID-19 pandemic it is delayed.
He also noted that the amended civil society organization proclamation has brought fundamental changes. For instance, it has banned the interference of the government and other interest groups in the activities of the CSOs. Now, the sector is regulated and managed by the CSOs themselves.
"As FDRE Agency for Civil Society Organizations reported that, in Ethiopia, there are 2,600 registered civil society organizations at federal level," he indicated.
According to him, the political situation of the country has not been conducive for CSOs as they could hardly freely carryout their activities. Besides, the state of affairs of the current peace and security in the country is also a challenge to move across the nation and undertake a range of deeds.
"The first thing that the government should do is creating enabling environment and creating platform for CSOs to work effectively and freely, he said adding that, from this perspective, the government has done lots of positive things like amending the CSO proclamation, reforming the Agency for Civil Society Organizations and bringing dedicated individuals to leadership," he underscored.
"When we go to some ministerial and regional offices, we face challenges and even the attitude some have come up with is not stimulating. We are trying to approach different government officials. We will also have a discussion forum with service delivery government officials within the shortest time possible," he opined.
He also urged the donor community, private sector, citizens, and other concerned bodies to support, engage, and/or even to ask what these organizations are doing and back them as much as they can.