The significant impact that the Ethiopia Civil Society Support Programme (CSSP) has had in the field of civil society strengthening was recognised this month at the annual British Expertise International Awards, winning the award for ‘Best International Development Project (non-infrastructure)'. It was presented to members of the project team on 11 April 2016 in London.
The award recognises the CSSP as a shining example of effective and innovative capacity development programming, supporting Ethiopia’s civil society and its contribution to the country’s national development, poverty reduction and advancement of good governance.
Currently in its final phase, the project has been running since 2011 and is funded by the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID), Irish Aid, the Royal Norwegian Embassy, Embassy of Sweden, Embassy of the Netherlands and the Canadian International Development Agency.
A key feature of the CSSP is that it extends civil society support beyond the confines of major urban areas and well-established NGO aid recipients, thereby empowering the people and organisations that are often the hardest to reach.
Through the 750 capacity development and grant awards made to date, the programme has reached more than 6.5 million adults and children and made major contributions to supporting and demonstrating the effectiveness, legitimacy and value of Ethiopia’s civil society.
The CSSP is one of the largest civil society support programmes on the continent and has succeeded in a very challenging political context. A key outcome has been the strengthening of civil society-government relations. Through careful relationship building, dynamic leadership and committed staff, a growing number of civil society organisations are now able to work on sensitive issues thanks to the local government engaging proactively with civil society.
The British Council has been operating in Ethiopia since 1943, made possible by our unique position as a longstanding, credible and trusted partner to both governments and civil society. The programme is implemented by a talented cadre of Ethiopian staff and supported by UK experts.