ECSOF envisions to create a strong and vibrant charities and societies sector for sustainable development.
Ensure the existence of enabling the environment for charities and societies sector through strong representation, constructive dialogue, and partnership using consortiums and other legal establishments as a platform for action.
- Transparency and accountability: Everything that we do will be with members and partners participation, open and accountable to members and for the relevant institutions.
- Innovativeness: Generating and devising new ways of engagement and partnership.
- Solidarity and complementarity: Strengthening the spirit and practice of collaborative engagement.
- Inclusiveness: Non-partisan (diversity of organizational settings) regardless of gender, disability, religion, region, age group, ethnicity, and so on.
ECSOF was legally established in May 2013 with a special legal status comprising both Charities and Societies. The includes all types of charities and societies through networks, and other representation mechanisms like 3 category representatives in the Executive Committee, and grouping mechanism with no boundaries as to their legal status. The Forum’s operational scope is at a federal and regional level with a focus on legal, institutional and operational issues and processes that commonly concern the Charities and Societies sector in Ethiopia. The major objectives of ECSOF is to establish a formal non-statutory institutional arrangement whereby Charities and Societies actively participate in coordinating, collaborating, networking, facilitating and supervising a range of initiatives aimed at strengthening and maintaining conducive enabling environment for their effective engagement in and contribution towards the national development endeavors; establish an institutional arrangement and platform which ensures the effective administration, management, and representation of Charities and Societies registered and operating in Ethiopia; and put in place the foundation for the establishment of necessary arrangements guiding the interaction between Charities and Societies, government bodies and other relevant stakeholders.
Context and Rationale
An active, informed and organized citizenry can substantially contribute to a mature and stable democracy. Charities and societies have an important role to play in reducing poverty, deepening democratic processes and promoting accountability. They can also offer alternative perspectives, opening space for poor, marginalized and vulnerable women, men and children to articulate their priorities, demands, and opinions.
It is acknowledged that many of the gains achieved in poverty reduction and other areas in the last half decade were due in part to the contributions of Governments, private and ChS these days not only work closely with but also recognize the strong support of ChS and their contributions to the development effort. ChS have gained strong recognition and support from the donor community too.
As such the responsible government organs duly acknowledge the fact that facilitating and supporting initiatives of collaboration and cooperation among stakeholders is immensely instrumental to develop the best possible foundation for successful outcomes and visible impacts to be commonly achieved in relation to attainment of national goals and objectives in general and specific goals pertaining to the charities and societies sector. Putting it differently the absence of institutional arrangements ensuring participation of Charities and Societies in the development endeavors of this nation dictate putting in places the necessary frameworks creating an operating environment conducive for the involvement of all members of Charities and Societies.
That being the case in a bid to gain the maximum advantage from such commitment from the public sector, there is a need to reinvigorate the collaborative engagements of members of Charities and Societies through strengthening the existing structural arrangements and working procedures as well as ensure effective linkage is created between the sector and the relevant governmental stakeholders. This necessitates the establishment of a forum for cooperation, coordination and collaborative engagement, consisting of Charities and Societies, which is found out to be highly instrumental towards the efforts to create a more enabling environment for Charities and Societies affairs. In order to maximize the effectiveness and efficiency of their roles in and contributions towards poverty reduction and sustainable development, the Networks and Consortiums of Charities and Societies Organizations (ChS) operating in Ethiopia recognize the need to reinvigorate their collaborative engagements, partnerships, coordination and networking through establishing and strengthening a Federal Forum.
The various Networks and Consortiums of Charities and Societies Organizations (ChS) operating at federal and regional levels in Ethiopia have accordingly, come together in May 2013 and established the Ethiopian Charities and Societies Forum.
Ethiopian Civil Societies Organizations Forum (ECSOF)
Ethiopian Civil Societies Organizations Forum (ECSOF) is a non-partisan, independent, inclusive and voluntary federal and regional level forum with its primary constituency (through membership of their Consortiums/ Networks and representative ChS) being the Charities and Societies Organizations (ChS) registered by the Charities and Societies Agency (ChSA) and operating in Ethiopia, in their diversity and configuration. The Forum recognizes the independent existence of various national and regional level ChS Consortiums/Networks as the bases of its foundation and as an important ChS coordinating mechanisms with complementary comparative advantages.
The Forum’s operational scope is at Federal and regional level with a focus on legal, institutional and operational issues and processes that commonly concern the Charities and Societies sector in Ethiopia. In accordance with the legislative, institutional and operational frameworks of Charities and Societies Organizations (ChS), the Forum will play important roles in representing the Charities and Societies sector; encouraging, facilitating, supporting and strengthening collective actions and voices; creating linkages, networking, coordination, partnerships, and solidarity; sharing of information, knowledge, experience, innovation, best practices and lessons learnt; and constructive dialogue amongst members of the Forum as well as with the Government bodies, development partners and relevant stakeholders. The Forum will also play vital roles towards further improvement of the enabling environment for ChS operation as well as in harnessing and strengthening efforts for the promotion, building a positive image and profile and wider recognition of the Charities and Societies sector, including its roles, added values and contributions towards poverty reduction and sustainable development in Ethiopia.
Objectives of ECSOF
To establish a formal non-statutory institutional arrangement whereby Charities and Societies Organisations (ChS) actively participate in coordinating, collaborating, networking, facilitating and supervising a range of initiatives aimed at strengthening and maintaining a conducive enabling environment for their effective engagement in and contribution towards the national development endeavors.
To establish an institutional arrangement and platform which ensures the effective administration, management and representation of Charities and Societies Organisations (ChS) registered and operating in Ethiopia.
To put in place the foundation for the establishment of necessary arrangements guiding the interaction between Charities and Societies Organisations (ChS), government bodies and other relevant stakeholders.
Roles and Responsibilities of ECSOF
In general, the forum shall mainly be responsible for facilitating the collaborative engagements of Charities and Societies towards the creation of the necessary systems and infrastructures conducive for the affairs of as well as meaningful participation of Charities and Societies in the development of the nation. More specifically, it shall be responsible for;
Facilitate the establishment of an enabling environment regarding the affairs of Charities and Societies at all levels of engagement.
Promote the value of vibrant and effective Charities and Societies for bringing about sustainable development of the country.
Create information and knowledge base on all pertinent issues of Charities and Societies at comparative and national levels.
Facilitate experience and information sharing forums among different stakeholders from the public, donors’ community and representatives of Charities and Societies aimed at effective dialogue and coordination regarding the enjoyment of an enabling environment for the sector.
Facilitate effective partnership between Charities and Societies and different sector offices of the government.
Design and facilitate the realization of efforts aimed at putting in place an effective system for following up, monitoring and evaluation of the activities of the forum regarding creation of an enabling environment for Charities and Societies sector.
Design and adopt a code of conduct at which Charities and Societies can operate in an ethical and accountable manner.