CSOs Urged to Scale Up Engagement in Creating Social Solidarity and Cohesion

Addis Ababa December 06/2018 Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) should strengthen their engagement in creating social solidarity, cohesion, and bondage, Executive Director of the Consortium of Christian Relief and Development Associations (CCRDA) said.

Executive Director of CCRDA, an umbrella association of 400 partners, Meshesha Shewarega told ENA that “CSOs need to do awareness creation, particularly with the youth, on hate speech disseminated through social media.”

These are not in the interest of social cohesion and coexistence of the various groups in Ethiopia, he stressed.

According to Meshesha, CSOs have comparative advantage in improving the attitudes and views of the youth and should do so.

The executive director further pointed out that building community groups in terms of providing training towards creating a more resilient community is also essential, though the capacity of CSOs is not adequate.

Resilience could be in terms of disaster risk preparedness, Meshesha noted, adding “but more importantly in terms of peace building the capacity to prevent violent conflict.”

Christian Aid Country Director, Yitna Tekaligne said on his part CSOs need to capitalize on various social capitals like ider and ikub to promote the development efforts of the government.

Creating resilient community is part of development efforts, he said, adding that “the traditional social arrangements are fertile grounds to promote development interventions in Ethiopia.”

Yitna said he does not see any distinction between humanitarian and development interventions. “Unless you address immediate and pressing needs of communities, it would be difficult to talk about development.”

Oromo Self Help Organization (OSHO) Director, Mulugeta Debebe said CSOs must act proactively prevent conflict and mange as well as resolve them when they happen.

The engagement of CSOs in areas such as creating resilient economy would facilitate the desired nation building, he added.

For this to happen, Mulugeta noted that “they themselves must get organized to help the community and the nation as well.”

The half-day consultative forum was organized by the consortium under the theme “Harnessing Social Capital for Nation Building and Inter-Citizen Groups Peaceful Coexistence in Ethiopia — the Role of CSOs.”