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  • Email info@csf3.org

CSF-III Programme

The European Union (EU) has been supporting the civil society sector in Ethiopia in pursuit of its conviction that a genuinely independent, pluralistic and vibrant civil society is central to a country’s development and stability, to ensuring democracy and human rights, building inclusive societies and in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The EU-supported Civil Society Fund (CSF) started in 2006, and was implemented up to the end of 2018 in two phases. Following the successful implementation and lessons learnt from these previous interventions, a third phase of the Civil Society Fund (CSF-III) started implementation in December 2018.[1]

The overall objective of CSF-III is to increase participation of citizens and CSOs in the development and democratization process of the country. The programme aims to help civil society gain a stronger foothold in policy-making and implementation, and encourages the government to establish a closer partnership with CSOs and the people. CSF-III intends to strengthen the engagement of CSOs in Ethiopia by going beyond their usual function of service provision, and seeks to enhance their intermediary role between state bodies and citizens.

The specific objectives of the programme are:

  • Strengthening citizens’ voice for policy dialogue;
  • Reinforcing citizens’ role in the monitoring of national policies;
  • Strengthening the sustainability and contribution of CSOs, including those working on gender equality and women’s empowerment and of women’s groups, to the development and democratization process.

 Whilst grant support to CSOs constitutes the main delivery mechanism of the programme, non-grant support is also a significant component. The former involves the award of grants to CSOs through a Call for Proposals with a total budget of EUR 11.75 million (approximately ETB 380 million). The non-grant component comprises technical assistance, capacity building and networking support to the sector. In any case, both approaches encompass a strong focus on gender equality and women’s and girls’ empowerment, the targeting of hard to reach, vulnerable and marginalised groups of society – including the elderly, children, the youth, people with disabilities, pastoralists, minorities and those most effected by ethnic violence – and equal participation of such groups in project activities. The programme also encourages the incorporation of principles that enhance social cohesion and inclusivity in peaceful transformation and the use of innovative and best practices.

Technical Assistance Unit

CSF III is managed by the Delegation of the European Union to Ethiopia (EUD), assisted by a Technical Assistance Unit (TAU). International Consulting Expertise (ICE), a company based in Belgium in consortium with INTRAC, FCG International, and Cideal Foundation, is contracted to provide technical support to the EUD and the civil society in Ethiopia in the implementation of the programme. The TAU commenced operations on 13 November 2018 by establishing an office and appointing the necessary staff in Addis Ababa.

 The TAU provides administrative, capacity building and technical programme support to ensure that grantees implement activities in compliance with EU procedures, and in accordance with sound financial and project management standards. In doing so, the unit works in close consultation with the Delegation. Its support includes training of, and advice and mentoring to grantees, thereby limiting the risk of them incurring ineligible expenditure, whilst at the same time facilitating the achievement of their projects’ objectives. In addition to grants management, the TAU recognizes its role as a significant stakeholder in the Civil Society environment in Ethiopia. As such, it positions itself to develop a deep understanding of the needs and potentials of the sector, and to deliver relevant, effective and timely support. Its understanding of the context also enables the Unit to provide detailed, accurate and dynamic feedback to the EU and the civil society sector on issues of strategic relevance to the political, economic and social endeavours in the country.

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