|Note: CSSP’s First Call for Proposals has now been closed.|
What is the Civil Society Support Programme?
The goal of the Civil Society Support Programme is to support civil society to contribute to Ethiopia’s national development, poverty reduction and the advancement of good governance, in line with the Government’s policies and strategies. Government representatives will provide ongoing guidance as members of the CSSP governance structure.
It is anticipated that the CSSP will manage a fund of at least €25 million euros over the first five years. Support to civil society groups and organisations will be initiated from early in 2012.
The CSSP proposal emerged from a review of donor engagement with civil society. A number of Development Partners concluded that the quality of their support for civil society would be enhanced by pooling their resources and technical support into a single mechanism and working together to design a programme aimed at enabling this important sector to enhance its contribution to Ethiopia’s national development.
The purpose and expected outcomes of the CSSP relate mainly to capacity building for civil society organisations so as to help them to develop, to deliver on their purpose and to assist in contributing to sustainable national development and poverty reduction. This is also in line with the Growth and Transformation Programme framework and the Proclamation for Charities and Societies.
The outcomes which it is expected that the CSSP will contribute towards include:
- enhanced internal governance, responsiveness and accountability in the civil society sector;
- enhanced financial sustainability of CSOs;
- enhanced capacity of CSOs for evidence based learning and constructive dialogue; enhanced partnerships between CSOs and Government, and within civil society;
- enhanced harmonisation, coordination and aid effectiveness, and reduced transaction costs for both Development Partners and CSOs;broader support for CSOs in terms of activities, geographical scope, beneficiary groups and donor support;
The approaches which CSSP will adopt to achieve its Goal, include:
- Extending civil society support beyond the confines of the major urban areas;
- Adopting an exploratory approach, adapting to context and addressing gaps—reaching out to remote areas and disadvantaged groups;
- Increasing investment in CSO capacity and bringing together complementary organisations to work together more effectively.
How will the Civil Society Support Programme work?
The Lead Donor managing the pooled funding and supervising the Management Agent is Irish Aid. In addition, a CSSP Management Board (CMB) chaired by one of the Development Partners, and a Programme Steering Committee (PSC) chaired by Irish Aid will be put in place. The CMB will provide strategic direction and guidance and primarily comprises Heads of Agencies of each CSSP Development Partner. The PSC will have operational oversight and its membership will be open to Development Partner Technical Officers, Government of Ethiopia representatives, representatives of other major CSO support programmes and the Management Agent. A few other prominent players familiar with civil society issues may also be added later upon approval by the CMB.
The Implementing Team
The CSSP Development Partners have selected the British Council, in association with its partners IDL & INTRAC, as the Management Agent of the CSSP. The Management Agency team comes with expertise and experience from many years of working in a number of countries in areas such as programme and financial management, grants systems development and management, capacity building, innovative approaches to development, equity, political economy and learning.
The Management Agent has been tasked with developing and implementing the CSSP during the initial five years of the programme. The design of the CSSP contains provision for the exploration of a second phase of the programme managed by an Ethiopian rather than international Management Agent.
Funding Modalities & Intended Beneficiaries
The CSSP will fund Ethiopian civil society organisations on a competitive basis through three modalities: Block Grants; Direct Grants and Core Funding. A range of additional Capacity Building Grants will also be available. Small, medium and large scale grants will support differing CSO capacities and objectives, and increase programme flexibility and learning. The CSSP places a particular importance, among other things, on investing extensively on capacity building for civil society; working with harder to reach organisations; adhering to impartial and transparent processes in the selection of beneficiary CSOs; and ensuring benefits to the citizens and poor people that CSOs serve.
The CSSP will adopt a broad and inclusive view of ‘civil society’ ranging from Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), Community Based Organisations (CBOs), professional associations, trade unions, faith based development organisations, non-profit making learning and research institutions, non-profit making media organisations and other registered and recognised Ethiopian/Ethiopian Resident civil society organisations. The CSSP will extend to rural as well as urban areas. While the primary focus of the CSSP will be on Ethiopian CSOs (Resident or Ethiopian, within the scope of the law), the programme also allows international NGOs to contribute in a supporting role, primarily to facilitate and coordinate capacity strengthening. The private sector is not targeted expressly, but proposals could be considered if the proposed initiative will provide public goods, and is not for profit.