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Ethiopian CSO Observers.


Despite high hopes for a democratic transformation in Ethiopia after Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s election in 2018, the country has encountered significant challenges to progress, including civil unrest,  postponements of elections, a state of emergency introduced in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and conflicts in different regions. These challenges negatively impacted the country’s democratic transition, and contributed to severe humanitarian crises and escalated ethnic and political divisions. Following the national elections in 2021 and in response to the accumulation of challenges, including internal armed conflict, the Government introduced the National Dialogue process to resolve differences of opinion on fundamental issues and forge a “national consensus”. 

NDI’s programming in Ethiopia supports civil society to occupy civic space and enhances the capacity of political institutions including political parties to promote informed citizen participation to drive democratic change and peaceful and representative political processes. NDI provides assistance for CSO partners’ long-term citizens-led monitoring during the pre-and post-election periods; and political parties supporting inclusive political party campaigns, preparation for the National Dialogue, and strengthening multi-party dialogue. The Institute also provides support to local civil society groups to address and combat violence against women in elections (VAW-E), advocate for electoral reform, as well as encourage active participation of marginalized communities in political processes. This engagement involves gathering valuable inputs from local groups for reforms and inclusion in the National Dialogue, as well as advocating for the rights of persons with disabilities and internally displaced persons. To further enable citizen-informed legislative decision-making, the Institute supports the Ethiopian Parliament in strengthening its oversight role and bolstering civil society monitoring efforts of the institution. These programs are designed to further strengthen democratic principles and inclusivity in Ethiopia's political landscape. 

NDI programs in Ethiopia began in 2019 and are supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the National Endowment for Democracy (NED).

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