Filosofinen tiedekunta, 2015
Master's Degree Programme in Intercultural Studies in Communication and Administration
Civil society is a widely disputed notion in public governance debates, mostly precipitated by systemic economic and political failures and the growing questions over accountability, especially now as the world is going through a process change from the Middle East to Europe, Asia and Africa. Placing itself at the center of the ideological divide between leaders of the developing world, western financial institutions, business interests and consumer, environmental and rights protection groups, it is at a conceptual and practical cross road; re-defining its roles in an attempt to stay relevant as a representative of people’s interests amid an escalating contest between state and market forces for the control of public sphere.
The main interest of this study is focused on three questions. 1.What are the key theories, definitions, and types of civil society? 2. What is the history and relevance of civil society in Ethiopia? 3. How does the new law on charities and societies affect the role and future of civil society in Ethiopia? These three questions are thus responded to from the point of view of their current relevance in the global political and policy discussions and the impact of the possible changes that follow the new regulation mechanisms in the Ethiopian context.
The study is qualitative; and materials used consist of both national and international literature on related topics. Besides printed materials, electronic resources from international organizations such as the World Bank and world association of non-governmental organizations are used. Eleven people were also interviewed from different stakeholders of the civil society in Ethiopia.
The central finding of the study reveals that there was a clear need to have strict supervisory guidelines on civil society operations placed by the government. While the need to reach consensus on relaxing the financial guidelines is found to be a more urgent and practical matter, the restrictions placed on rights advocacy and other political engagements have minimal disruptive impact on the activities of the majority of the civil society organizations.
Civil society, non-governmental organizations, charities and societies law