The Civil Society Support Programme Phase II kicked off on 8 August with a launch event that took place in the British Council premises. The launch was opened with speeches by the Guests of Honour; the Secretary of State for International Development, the Right Honourable Penny Mordaunt and HE the Deputy Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Demeke Mekonnen.
During her speech, RH Penny commented that the British Government believes in the significant contribution Civil Society Organisations (CSO) make to achieve a world free from poverty. She also added, 'The Civil Society Support Programme will continue to allocate grants for marginalised people, provide support to strengthen civil society organisations’ capacity and facilitate collaborative relationships with Government’.
HE, Demeke Mekonnen, when addressing the 70 or so invitees indicated that civil societies are the school of democracy and the fundamental instruments for check and balance. He added that the government will move to revise the Charities and Societies Proclamation which had a stifling effect in CSO's work for a good part of the past 10 years.
The British Council was contracted to be the service provider to implement to CSSP II following an open DFID tender and it will deliver this programme in association with PACT UK and Social Development Direct. The programme is a three-year capacity development endeavour with a total budget is £16.8m.
CSSPII will be managed by DFID but includes contributions from The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Norway MFA), Swedish Government, and the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade of Ireland (Irish Aid).
From 2011 to 2017, the first phase of CSSP provided over 800 grants to over 500 CSO’s across all states and city administrations in the country. Over 3.2 million people, most of them in hard-to-reach communities, benefited directly from the programme through the work of these CSO's. CSSPI was highly lauded by various CSO representatives and comments forwarded during a recent Reflective Seminar include:
‘CSSP didn’t just create a link between us and the government, it also created links between the CSOs themselves’
‘Giving voice to the voiceless, CSSP has encouraged community members to say what is in their heads. This will, I believe, take Ethiopia to enormous heights’
‘CSSP was a life saver. More than 600 CSOs were supported at a time when the financial crisis hit the CSO sector hard’
The Deputy Prime Minister of Ethiopia, HE Demeke Mekonnen, also lauded the British Council for its management of CSSPI during the launch ceremony by adding, ‘The achievement of the first phase of this Civil Society Support Programme is a proven example of the successful management of the British Council as a lead managing agent. Congratulations!’