Civil society’s role in holding the powerful to account is under increasing threat around the world. Hardening of legislation, state violence, extra-judicial measures and restrictions on funding are just some examples. The voices of those who speak out on injustice and play a vital role in ensuring that governments are accountable, are in danger of being silenced.
This briefing paper explains why urgent action is needed from both international donors and INGOs in order to ensure an open, supportive and enabling environment for civil society.
This paper is the synthesis of case studies of four Ethiopian civil society networks; the Ethiopian Catholic Secretariat, the Ethiopian Interfaith Forum for Development, Dialogue, and Action, the Network of Ethiopian Women’s Associations and the Poverty Action Network Ethiopia. The networks used the Network Functions Approach developed by the Overseas Development Institute to analyse each other through a peer review process and draw conclusions about their roles, form and functions.