The Civil Society Innovation Fund (CSIF) is a multi-year initiative to support civil society in Ethiopia. Funded by the French Development Agency (Agence Française de Développement – AFD), CSIF aims to support new and emerging CSOs dedicated to the development of a more democratic, pluralistic, and innovative civil society sector. Its overall objective is to contribute to a stronger role for civil society in support of a democratic, peaceful, and stable Ethiopia.
The CSIF was formally launched in July 2022 and will run into 2025. INTRAC is working in partnership with local Ethiopian organisation AGAR Development Partners Consulting. Together, INTRAC and AGAR have been contracted by AFD to provide technical support in project management, coordination, and capacity development of CSIF partners.
The CSIF takes the form of three consortia projects, which together involve a total of 15 local CSOs:
- Project 1: Promoting inclusion in society through rights-based research, dialogue, and advocacy. This project is led by the Centre for Advancement of Rights and Democracy (CARD) and will take place in Addis Ababa as well as Amhara, Oromia, and SSNPR Regional States.
- Project 2: Advancing human rights through legal aid services. This project is led by Lawyers for Human Rights (LHR) and will take place in Addis Ababa, Adama, and Hawassa.
- Project 3: Ethiopian Civil Society Engagement Program (ECSEP). This project is led by the Civil Society Resource Center (CSRC) and will take place in Addis Ababa as well as Amhara, Oromia, Sidama, Somali Benishangul-Gumuz and Gambela Regional States.
The formal launch event for the CSIF took place on 5 July 2022 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The event was organised and attended by the INTRAC-AGAR team. Speakers at the event included:
- Ms. Valerie Tehio, director of AFD in Ethiopia
- Mr. Befekadu Hailu, Executive Director of CARD
- Ms. Abebaye Asrat, Resource and Capacity Building Manager at CSRC
- Mr. Ameha Mekonnen, Director at LHR
The launch event was followed by a Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL) workshop facilitated by the AGAR-INTRAC team consisting of Jebessa Senbeta, Sosena Lemma, Walelign Wondiye and Meti Busha from AGAR, with Paul Knipe, Alison Napier and Willemijn de Bruin as INTRAC’s core staff working on CSIF. For more information about the launch event, see the INTRAC news story, “The beginning of a new journey”: successful event launches Civil Society Innovation Fund in Ethiopia".
The inception period for the CSIF began in April 2022. In early 2023, the programme then entered its full implementation phase. This included a workshop in Addis Ababa in February, at which participants discussed and endorsed a capacity development plan which had been developed during the inception phase. The plan builds upon organisational capacity assessments (OCAs) and discussions which AGAR carried out with the 15 CSOs involved in the CSIF; it is tailored to their specific needs.
For more information about the capacity development plan, upcoming activities in 2023 across all three programmes, and the CSIF Theory of Change (ToC) and Theory of Action (ToA), see the blog post "Civil Society Innovation Fund, Ethiopia – from inception to implementation".
In March and in June 2023, CSIF Ethiopia held successful training sessions in Addis Ababa for the 15 CSOs that form the project consortia.
In late March, participants undertook a four-day training in effective, innovative, and evidence-based advocacy. It was packed with insights, practical tips and tools about the ruman rights-based approach to advocacy. This included how to develop and communicate an advocacy message, as well as the use of traditional, digital and social media channels - all in the context of Ethiopia.
In mid-June, a five-day course was run on rights-based and gender-transformative project coordination and management (PCM) and monitoring, evaluation and learning (MEL). It aimed to enhance understanding of how to mainstream rights-based and gender-transformative approaches in PCM. It also focused on results-based project management, MEL, and reporting. In addition, the training equipped participants with the knowledge and skills on project design tools and techniques to enable them to design sound and competitive proposals and concept notes as well as apply R-MEL and results-oriented reporting.