Transforming Health & Society with Evidence-based Insights

Enhancing Civil Society Organizations’ engagement through evidence generation

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Creative Associates International (CAI) is currently engaged in a four-year USAID-funded Civic Engagement Project, aimed at enhancing inclusive governance and empowering citizens. This project, known as the Ethiopia Civic Engagement Project, strives to augment the collective capability of civic and community-based actors to participate in policy research, advocacy, discussion, and collective action for peaceful, democratic change in Ethiopia. To support the evidence needs of this initiative, MERQ has secured a blanket purchase order agreement to provide evidence generation services for Creative Associates, including conducting a pivotal Civil Society Organizations’ (CSO) survey.

MERQ is implementing this survey, which aims to map the civil society organizations actively engaged in civic processes in Addis Ababa, Dire Dawa, Dessie, and their surrounding areas. This mapping will enable CAI to ascertain the focus areas of these organizations, understand their project support interests, capacity status, networks, and power dynamics. It will also refine the focus areas and approaches of the Ethiopia Civic Engagement Activity (ECEA) and aid in the development of the AMELP framework. Furthermore, the survey will illuminate strategies for CAI to engage with civil society organizations effectively to fortify the civic fabric in Ethiopia. Anticipating the outcomes, MERQ expects that the survey results will contribute significantly to designing interventions that bolster the capacity of civic actors to engage in policy analysis, advocacy, dialogue, and collective action. This initiative aims to foster multi stakeholder civic partnerships that support inclusive dialogue, respect for human rights, and promote more effective, citizen-responsive, and accountable governance.

Throughout the survey, MERQ is meticulously exploring various dimensions including the legal and regulatory environment, the social, political, and cultural context, as well as organizational and technical capacities. Additionally, the survey addresses factors limiting civic space and identifies emerging trends to pinpoint primary gaps, strengths, weaknesses, needs, and opportunities for supporting civil society in achieving the objectives of the ECEA. In conducting this survey, MERQ places a strong emphasis on the meaningful engagement of a diverse range of civil society actors and entities. This includes both formal and informal, member-serving and public-serving organizations, community-based organizations, traditional leaders, faith-based organizations, media outlets, and the private sector, ensuring a comprehensive and inclusive approach to enhancing civic engagement in Ethiopia.

MERQ’s leadership role in this comprehensive CSO survey significantly underscores its commitment to fostering good governance and strengthening civil society development. By providing detailed, evidence-based insights into the dynamics of civic engagement, MERQ is not only facilitating a deeper understanding of the current landscape but is also laying the groundwork for more informed and effective policy-making and governance practices. This endeavor not only highlights MERQ’s pivotal role in enhancing the capabilities of civic actors but also reflects its dedication to promoting a robust, democratic, and participatory civic environment in the country.

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