What we do
Ethiopia is a federation of ten states largely based along ethnic lines, and these ethnic divides continue to have a huge impact on the country’s political landscape, with ethno-nationalist tensions frequently erupting into violence.
These tensions also have an impact on attempts to develop a thriving and inclusive multiparty democracy, and one organization, the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), has dominated Ethiopian politics since the beginning of 1990s.
The objective of NIMD’s programme in Ethiopia, which began in 2017, is to contribute to the consolidation of democracy at both the national and regional levels, and we work towards that goal by providing democracy education, fostering dialogue, and helping develop democratic infrastructure.
Including voices from across the political and ethnic spectrum is key to the success of any political reform in Ethiopia, and NIMD contributes to fostering this inclusive environment by assisting in a number of national and regional dialogue platforms.
NIMD began a collaboration with the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) in 2018, which opened up many avenues for dialogue between the political parties given the mandate of the NEBE to organize political dialogue on electoral and political reforms.
In 2019, the NEBE established the Ethiopia Political Parties Dialogue, and NIMD supports this process by providing technical assistance, supporting the NEBE’s review of its strategic plans, and providing training for political parties on skills to support further interparty dialogue.
In March 2020, the Ethiopian Democracy Academy opened its doors to a diverse group of Ethiopian politicians and activists, with the aim of training the future leaders and emerging politicians who will help shape Ethiopia’s political future.
The target group for the academies are men and women aged between 25 and 40 years old from all of Ethiopia’s ten regions and the two city administrations of Addis Ababa and Dire Dawa. We welcome students from all Ethiopia’s political parties, some of whom are at the start of their careers, while others are already well-established on Ethiopia’s political scene.
The training covers theoretical areas including political economy, rule of law, human rights and federalism, as well as practical skills including leadership and conflict resolution. But one of the most important elements of the academies is the rare opportunity for representatives from the government and opposition parties to interact in an informal environment, as they eat, study, cook and even play sports together.
Alumni from the Ethiopian Democracy Academies also regularly come together to reconnect and ensure the exchange of skills, knowledge and ideas continues.
NIMD works with the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE), the National Parliament, the Oromia state legislature, regional assemblies, and Ethiopia’s political parties to strengthen the capacity of parliamentary institutions.
Activities facilitated by NIMD include an exchange visit between delegates from the Oromia state legislature to the National Legislature of South Africa and the Western Cape Provincial Legislature to exchange best practices. Delegates from the Oromia state legislature also visited to the Netherlands to observe the Dutch local government elections.
NIMD runs training sessions and workshops for parliamentary delegates on themes including the drafting of legislation, women’s leadership, and writing and research skills.
And through NIMD’s ongoing collaboration with the NEBE, we support legal reforms underway to help the conduct of free and fair elections, and support the NEBE’s review of its civic voter education programmes.