CSSP activities

British Council 

The Civil Society Support Programme (CSSP) is a capacity development programme designed to support Ethiopia’s civil society and its contribution to the country’s national development, poverty reduction and advancement of good governance in line with the government’s policies and strategies.


CSSP built the capacity of community organisations to deliver basic services to hard-to-reach communities. It worked with over 600 partners reaching 3 million people. The programme focused on previously neglected issues such as prison reform, women’s rights and mental health issues. Seventy per cent of activities have focused on gender equality and violence against women, including income generation and supporting girls to stay in school.

The first phase, five-year multi donor funded programme, managed a fund of more than €35 million from 2011-2016. Moreover, a one year Extension Phase ran from 2016-2017 and built on the capacity development for hard-to-reach civil society organisations through regionally-led programming, with a particular focus on people affected by social marginalisation, geographic remoteness, under resourcing and neglected development issues. The grants offered funding opportunities at local, regional and national levels. They were intended to encourage innovation and creativity in civil society organisations to develop capacity, and foster collaboration among various stakeholders, including government.


On 8 August 2018, The Civil Society Support Programme Phase II kicked off 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. The British Council was contracted to be the service provider to implement to CSSP II following an open FCDO 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 FCDO 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).   

CSSPI was highly lauded by various CSO representatives and comments forwarded during a Reflective Seminar organised just before the launch of the second phase 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!’.

Please contact information@et.britishcouncil.org with any queries associated with CSSP (both phase I and Phase II)

External links