USAID’s Ethiopia Civic Engagement Activity

USAID’s Ethiopia Civic Engagement Activity is designed to strengthen the social fabric in key regions by supporting inclusive dialogue, respect for human rights and advancement of more effective, citizen-responsive and accountable governance through civil society organizations and the private sector. 

Despite legal and political reform efforts undertaken since 2018, citizen distrust of the government runs deep and opportunities for meaningful engagement when shaping policy and budget priorities are limited. Deep political and intercommunal conflicts continue to create instability, including a two-year war that left an estimated 600,000 dead and millions displaced from their homes.  

The four-year Activity uses a collective impact approach bringing together Ethiopian citizens to raise citizen-defined issues in an iterative process and propose solutions that will strengthen their ability to hold their leaders accountable The Ethiopian Civil Society Organization Council, with more than 3,900 members, will bring together a cross section of organizations and individuals – including youth, women, traditional leaders, faith-based organizations, diaspora and others – to co-create activities, while simultaneously building their organizational skills, comity, connection and trust. 

With its main office in Addis Abada and regional offices in Hawassa and Bahir Dar, the Ethiopia Civic Engagement Activity will develop 20 cluster networks to support civil society organizations. Supporting this network of clusters will be two brick-and-mortar Civic Incubators that will provide training, mentoring, co-creation opportunities and data-driven analysis for civil society organizations.  

VNG International, with its social accountability expertise and deep networks in Ethiopia, focuses its efforts on reenforcing advocacy and government accountability for service delivery and budgets for USAID’s Ethiopia Civic Engagement Activity. The Center for International Private Enterprise, which implements the Addis Ababa-based Civic Engagement Hub, facilitates network dialogue and consensus building and institutionalizing collective impact practices and culture for the Activity. 

During the four-year USAID Ethiopia Civic Engagement Activity, it will issue more than 80 grants to civil society organizations, universities, institutes and others to conduct research, run training, pilot novel civic engagement ideas, run advocacy campaigns and more.  

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