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Call for Proposals for Small Grants

Call for Proposals for Small Grants

(Open for Individuals/Group Human Rights Defenders and Newly Registered CSOs)

  1. Background

CRD is partnering with EHRCo. and CARD, civil society organizations basing in Ethiopia, for a project titled “Supporting Transition through Empowering HRDs in Ethiopia”. EHRCo. (Ethiopian Human Rights Council) is the oldest independent human rights organization in Ethiopia and CARD (Center for Advancement of Rights and Democracy) is a civil society organization recently founded and run by civil rights’ defenders in Ethiopia with the vision of seeing democratic Ethiopia. CRD (Civil Rights Defenders) is an international organization that is partnering with and supporting human rights defenders who work in some of the world’s most repressive regions on four continents.

The joint project has a range of activities form giving extensive human rights training to internship and grant for new project proposal. This call is for the grant amount allocated to reward the best proposal to contribute to democratic transition in Ethiopia.

  • Purpose of the Grant

The purpose of the grant is to enable individuals/groups of human rights defenders and/or new organizations learn to go through all the processes of developing rights-based project proposal to its implementation and reporting it with the mentorship of CARD and EHRCo. Furthermore, the two hosting organizations give space and expert assistance to the developers of the three winning project ideas, and support the successful execution of the projects. 

  • Expected Proposals

Potential grantees are expected to present proposal on the topics/subtopics of:

  • Protection of Human Rights in Transitional Political Situation of Ethiopia
  • Managing Civil Conversation in Democratic Transitions in Ethiopia
  • Combatting Hate Speech and Fake News on the Social Media
  • Uncovering of Human Rights Violation in Conflict Areas and Internally Displaced People’s Camps
  • Combatting Gender Based Violence in Conflict Areas and Internally Displaced People’s Camps

Project proposals should be submitted to before 15th of September 2019.

  • Eligibility and Qualification Criteria

Potential grantees will be eligible only if:

  • Individuals living in Ethiopia and who have active ID cards; or
  • Civil society organizations who are registered in Ethiopia not before 2018;
  • The Proposal

The proposal should be written in either English or Amharic and between 1,000 and 2,000 words. It also needs to have the following structure:

  • Executive Summary of the Project
    • Project Owner’s Name
    • Title of the Project
    • Purpose of the Project
    • Period of the Project (*cannot exceed 6 months starting from November 2019)
  • Brief Description of the Project Proposal
  • Expected Results
  • Profile of the Applicant
  • Goals and Objectives
  • Major Activities of the Project
  • Budget (*shouldn’t exceed USD 6,000 or its equivalent in ETB; it should only indicate amounts allocated for administrative and program purposes.)
  • Evaluation Criteria

Joint team from CARD and EHRCo will evaluate and make selection of project proposals, and the team’s decision is final. The following criteria will be used by team for evaluation:

  • Consistency with grant objective;
  • Likelihood of proposed project to be implemented;
  • Capacity of applicant to implement the proposed project;
  • Budget allocation for program and administration

The selection will be based on the following score weights:

Proposal Evaluation Form Score Weight Point (out of 25 each) Sum
Consistency with the grant objective 15%    
Likelihood of proposed project for implementation 40%    
Capacity of the applicant 25%    
Budget allocation 20%    
Total 100%    

* Female applicants are entitled for 10 % more score to what they are evaluated in sum than that of male applicants in affirmative measure to gender inequality.

Paid Internship Program


The Ethiopian Human Rights Council (EHRCO) and Ethiopia Human Rights Project (EHRP), in collaboration with Civil Rights Defenders, organized paid Internship opportunities to emerging human rights defenders. The Internships provide individuals with valuable hands-on experience working with local human rights organizations. The Paid Internship last 4-5-months and consist of 20-hour work per week.

Interns work side by side with experienced human rights defenders to enhance the human rights efforts among human rights civil society organizations operating in Ethiopia.

The internship opportunities are competitive, and candidates will be selected through careful examination of credentials. A small pool of candidates will be invited for an interview.

Internship dates and duration

The duration for the internship program is for 4-5 months and will begin on August 01, 2019.

Purpose of the Internship Program

The internships are intended to:

  1. Increase the interns’ understanding of current human rights issues in Ethiopia and give them an insight into the work of their host organizations.
  2. Provide host organizations with the assistance and contribution of outstanding youth who are willing to enter into the human rights work in Ethiopia.

Responsibilities of Interns

Interns will be responsible to:

  • Involve in the day-to-day work of hosting organization
  • Researching human rights issues
  • Drafting analytical reports
  • Assistance with Special Projects
  • And other related duties as required by the host organization

Qualifications required

Please keep in mind that even if you meet the qualifications described below, there is no guarantee of an internship. You will be contacted directly by the Selecting Committee if you are selected.
Applicants to the internship program must at the time of application meet the following requirements:

  1. A strong interest in the area of human rights
  2. Have graduated with a university degree
  3. Applicants with human rights activism experience and knowledge of online social activism are preferred
  4. The program requires fluency in English & Amharic with additional local language skills is preferred

How to Apply

To apply, please send a cover letter with a resume to     

Application deadline – on July 28, 2019

Ethiopia: A new era for human rights organisations?


Geneva-Paris-Brussels, February 8, 2019. After years of repression under the 2009 Law on Charities and Societies, the adoption of a more democratic regulatory framework reopens the space for civil society organisations (CSOs) and their engagement in human rights activities. While rejoicing in this important step forward, the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, the Human Rights Council of Ethiopia, and the Consortium of Ethiopian Rights Organizationsand the Association for Human Rights in Ethiopia express their concerns about several challenges which the new law fails to address.

February 5, 2019 marked an historic date in the history of Ethiopian civil society. One year after the beginning of the political transition which led to the release of around a thousand political prisoners and human rights defenders, the peace agreement with Eritrea, and the opening of the borders to human rights defenders who had been living in exile for more than a decade, the House of Peoples Representatives adopted the revised Civil Society Proclamation 1113/2019, which repeals the Proclamation No. 621/2009.

The process by which the CSO Proclamation was revised by the Legal Advisory Council, the participation of local civil societies and the public hearing before the approval by the House of Peoples Representatives is an important harbinger of how the government shows its commitment to revising laws in line with international human rights norms ahead of the 2020 elections” said Yared Hailemariam, Executive Director of AHRE.

Under the previous framework, all organisations receiving more than 10% of funds from foreign sources were labelled as “foreign organisations”, and therefore prohibited from engaging in any human rights-related activity[1]. Under the effects of this law, at least 17 organisations were forced to either change their mandate or close down, while several others had to significantly reduce their activities. 

Ethiopian civil society is very much looking forward to the entry into force of the revised Civil Society Proclamation and to experience positive changes in their daily operational environment. We believe that the restitution of CSOs assets, which had been frozen according to the previous law, and the facilitation of any re-registration process should be among priorities to enable Ethiopian CSOs to effectively revive their activities“, said Biniam Abate, HRCO Executive Director.

The new law, which was adopted at the end of a highly participatory process which saw the engagement of local civil society organisations, addresses several of the concerns expressed in relation to the previous law. The funding constraints are lifted, and the powers of the CSO Agency are also limited in particular by the introduction of the right to appeal against the refusal of registration. This will allow all organisations, local and international, to work on human rights-related issues, and has already opened the door to several organisations which will now be able to end their exile. 

After years of violent repression of the human rights movements in Ethiopia, we are extremely glad to witness this crucial change and we hope that the new CSO law will live up to the expectations by providing new impetus to the Ethiopian civil society movement. In this key moment, we need to stand as steadfast as ever on the side of local civil society organisations to be sure that theywill be able to carry out their work free from hindrances, threats and legal restrictions” said Gerald Staberock,OMCT Secretary General.  

Nevertheless, important constraints remain. Firstly, the CSO law opts for an authorisation rather than a registration regime, contrary to the recommendations of the ACHPR Guidelines on Freedom of Association and Assembly in Africa[2].This means that CSOs’ staff could be held criminally liable should the organisations be operating informally. Organisations which were already registered under the previous law will have to register again, thus imposing an additional and unjustified burden. Secondly, the majority of the staff composing the CSO Agency in charge of the registration procedure will be appointed by the government; and this body maintains ample discretionary powers to order closures and asset freezes of CSOs.  The Board of the Agency, which is the appeal body over the decision of the Agency, is nominated by the Government, CSOs and by the judiciary system. Thirdly, the law imposes a cap on the administrative expenses of NGOs, which cannot exceed 20 % of the total budget thus limiting their independence and flexibility. Lastly, significant and vaguely defined restrictions remain with regard to the work of international organisations, which cannot engage in advocacy and lobbying of political parties nor in election monitoring without an explicit permission from the relevant authority.

This revision of the Civil Society Proclamation is a significant step forward. Yet, the persisting severe restrictions to the work of local and international organiastions hamper the full recognition of the right to freedom of association in Ethiopia. The authorities must ensure that civil society organisations are free to engage in regional and international synergies in their work for upholding respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in the country, and more broadly in our continent,“ added Sheila Muwanga Nabachwa, FIDH Vice President.

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (the Observatory) was created in 1997 by the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and FIDH. The objective of this programme is to intervene to prevent or remedy situations of repression against human rights defenders. OMCT and FIDH are both members of, the European Union Human Rights Defenders Mechanism implemented by international civil society.

The Human Rights Council of Ethiopia (HRCO) is a non-profit, non-governmental organization that works towards building a democratic system, promotes rule of law and due process, and encourages and conducts human rights monitoring.

The Association for Human Rights in Ethiopia (AHRE) is a non-governmental, nonpartisan and not-for-profit organisation dedicated to the advancement of human rights in Ethiopia. AHRE isregistered and based in Geneva, Switzerland.

The Consortium of Ethiopian Rights Organizations (CERO) is a consortium of Ethiopian Charities working on advocacy of human rights and governance issues.

HRCO releases the Executive Summary of the 142nd Special Report

HRCO 142nd Special Report English Executive summary

In anticipation of the translation of the 142nd Special Report from Amharic to English, HRCO releases the Executive Summary of the report. The Special Report shows the findings of the investigations regarding human rights violations committed after the issuance of the State of Emergency Declaration. In the report, HRCO calls on the Government to stop commission of human rights violations, to redress victims of violations and take measures to prevent further violations.

See Here.

Stop Human Rights Violations Against Citizens during the State of Emergency!

HRCO released 142nd Special Report

In its 142nd Special Report (Amharic), HRCO discloses gross human rights violations committed by the Ethiopian Security forces in different parts of the country. The Special Report incorporates the wide ranged human rights violations committed after the six-month state of emergency is declared on October 9, 2009 by the Government of Ethiopia.

You can find the English version of the Executive Summary of the 142nd Special Report here