Improving the legal framework for Ethiopian Charities and Societies

Early findings from the Civil Society Support Programme (CSSP) Results Review, currently being conducted by a team of independent consultants around the country, are indicating that CSSP is helping to strengthen dialogue and relations between civil society and government institutions nationally and in Ethiopia’s regions, impacting upon local and national development planning frameworks and policies.

Collaboration is key

One of the key recent developments has been a formalised amendment to the 70/30 Directive of the Charities and Society Proclamation, relating to the proportion of funding that civil society organisations (CSOs) can spend on programme and administrative costs respectively. CSSP financed a series of collaborative regional meetings in collaboration with the Federal Charities and Societies Forum that sought to stimulate constructive dialogue between civil society organisations, the Charities and Societies Agency and regional government bodies.

Challenges and solutions arise from discussions

Eleven meetings have taken place in Ethiopia’s regions – from Afar to Oromia – with around 50 institutions represented in each.  The meetings enabled CSOs and government partners to discuss some of the operational challenges they were facing, and find solutions that enable their work with hard-to-reach people and communities to be improved.

Collectively, the dialogues have contributed to an amendment to the 70/30 legislation, that now enables care-givers’ salaries and some material costs to be included as programme expenditure.  This change gives CSOs more scope to finance their operations, benefitting people and organisations working with persons with disabilities, providing HIV support, environmental protection, water supply and agricultural production – amongst others.

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