Stakeholders' Perspectives and Experiences on and Possible Consequences of the 2009 Charties and Societies Proclamation on NGOs and CSOs in Addis Ababa

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Ethiopia has a long history of informal community-based organizations but it took some time for the formal civil society to take root during the imperial regime in Ethiopia, and was severely restricted during the socialist derg regime. After the downfall of the derg, it became a relatively better period with respect to the freedom of civil society activities and their operational climate. Through the ages, different governments have enacted their own laws and regulations for the proper registration, coordination and administration of organizations in the third sector. The icebreaker was the 1966 Associations Proclamation based on the then civil code of Ethiopia. Other regulations to mention are the 1995 Guidelines for NGO Operations and the 1999 NGOs Code of Conduct. Recently, the FDRE came up with a new proclamation providing for the registration and regulation of charities and societies in the country. The proclamation was met with mixed reactions, predominantly negative from opposition parties, human rights watch dogs and the NGOj C50 community. This research was undertaken to find out the actual fact on the ground regarding the perspectives, experiences and possible consequences of the proclamation as per the views of NGOs and C50s; government officials and parliament members; and development practitioner researchers and journalists. The research used explanatory and descriptive research methods. The findings of the research indicate that there are indeed sizable disparities as to how the different respondent groups perceive the proclamation: how important they think the proclamation is, the actual reason for the government to come up with the proclamation at this time, how satisfied they are with their actual experiences, whether they think the pre-enactment process was fair and open to all, what they think of specific provisions and what they th ink would be the effect of the proclamation and whether those effects are positive or negative. But, the common ground that can be reached from their views on the issue is that there are some areas where by each and every concerned party should work on more to make the overall outcome better. Accordingly, based on the research's findings, conclusions and recommendations were drawn. The recommendations include that NGOs should be more proactive in their operations to align themselves better with the proclamation's provisions, that the agency should build more capacity to better meet the needs of its clientele, that the agency and the NGOj C50 community should promote a spirit of cooperation between them, that if possible some provisions have to be amended in the proclamation, that awareness programs should be undertaken, that the NGOs and C50s should be given more time to register, and finally that the agency should offer strategic assistance to organizations in the third-sector.



Possible Consequences, Societies Proclamation