Strengthening Federal Governance and Pluralism in Ethiopia
2017 to 2022
The Forum of Federations and its local partners took some important steps in starting up a new 5-year project “Strengthening Federal Governance and Pluralism in Ethiopia”, financed by the Global Affairs Canada. This project tackles challenges and opportunities in Ethiopia’s federal governance with the ultimate outcome of a strengthened and more responsive federal system for Ethiopian men and women.
In December, The Forum and House of Federation (the Upper Chamber) organized four consultation workshops in Hawassa, Ethiopia. They were aimed at soliciting project design inputs from key stakeholders representing federal and state government institutions as well as non-state actors like opposition parties, women’s organizations, judiciary, academics, among others.
The four workshops dealt with the project’s proposed design around three main outcomes plus one specifically on contributing to gender equality. Thus, the four workshops dealt with:
• Enhanced management of inter-governmental relations by the government of Ethiopia in the context of Ethiopia’s multi-cultural federations.
• Improved intergovernmental fiscal relations that support environmentally sustainable and equitable development for men and women.
• Increased understanding of the Constitution by Ethiopian men and women regarding their rights and avenues of recourse.
• Consultation on Ethiopian Federalism and Gender Equality.
These events were well attended by senior Ethiopian government officials such as the Deputy Speaker of the House of Federations, senior federal and regional parliamentarians, senior staff of the House, Ministry of Federal Affairs and Ministry of Women’s Affairs, to name a few. The project design includes extensive elements of consultation and feedback between levels of government but also between government and other stakeholders.
The Forum of Federations, in collaboration with Oromia Regional State of Ethiopia, recently conducted a four-day federalism leadership development rollout event in Adama, Ethiopia (28th June to 1 July, 2016).
The program is part and parcel of the Forum’s flagship program, Federalism Leadership in Ethiopia. The Forum, together with the Ethiopian House of Federation and regional state partners, have developed this program over the past six years. The current program is designed in the form of training-of-trainers (TOT). So far over 70 trainers and coaches have been trained, practically tested and coached. These trainer-coaches have now gone down to their respective regional states and institutions to train hundreds of leaders and experts across the country.
In order to ensure the sustainability of the program various arrangements were made during the startup phase. One of these arrangements was to have a tripartite agreement between Forum of Federations, House of Federation and regional partners. As per this tripartite agreement, regional partners are expected to run (rollout) the program by their own resources, experts etc.
Accordingly, the Oromia Regional Council has taken on a major initiative to train over 100 speakers of Woredas Councils (local government) of the region. The Forum played key roles in program design, availing leadership coaches and other technical and material assistance.
During the opening session Ms. Rosa Umer, Deputy Speaker of the Oromia Regional Council, stressed the need for sustainable capacity enhancement programs for frontline leaders of the region in order to attain regional goals of peace, democracy, development and good governance. Maeregu Habtemariam, the Forum’s Director for East Africa noted the efforts of the regional state government to sustain the program and reconfirmed the Forum’s commitment to support similar initiatives.
Justice Jisha Gudissa of the Oromia Supreme Court, Mr. Meles Abayneh and Mr. Abdi Kedir were the facilitators of the program — as graduates of the Forum’s second round TOT program. They were assisted by two leadership experts from the Center for Creative Leadership. The program was successfully ended with major commitments for implementation and general admiration by all participants. One of the participants expressed that, “(T)his program is an important instrument for leading ourselves, our families as well as our public administration duties.”