It was a research project on the space given to the Ethiopian Civil Society organizations and their impact on policy dialogue as well as the degree of their performance. The project was undertaken through a budget obtained from European Union and was aimed at enabling local CSOs to contribute to the improvement of the environment for civic engagement in Ethiopia by identifying constraints and limitations on the institutional and organizational dynamics within the Ethiopian Civil Society and by developing and/or strengthening good practices relating to those dynamics. It was a comprehensive study which encompasses four regions, namely, Oromia, Addis Ababa, SNNPR, and Gambella.

The activities of the project revolved around undertaking of a comprehensive survey in the above mentioned target areas, conducting national and regional workshops in which findings of the research were presented and feedbacks incorporated in the final research output were obtained and, Publication and dissemination of the final research out put and a handbook of good practices.

As a follow up to this project a national workshop was held under the theme "Creating an enabling environment for civil society in Ethiopia." It brought together over 150 participants.

At the end of the conference a set of recommendations was adopted by the participants to promote the creation of an enabling environment for civil society, and a task force was also established to facilitate, coordinate and contribute to the creation of an Enabling Environment for Civil Society in Ethiopia. OSJE is the secretary to the task force. The task force has also developed its own Term of Reference (ToR) and rules of procedure (bye-laws) and currently it has started implementing its activities in line with the recommendation of the CSO conference. As a secretary, OSJE played a great role in taking minutes of the task force meetings and keeping records of various documents of the committee. OSJE was also highly engaged in activities related to the Charities and Societies Proclamation. Responding to the government's invitation for consultation, OSJE has participated in series of meetings with higher officials of the concerned government ministry and the prime minister. In addition, it was involved in a consultation and follow up meetings organized by the sector itself and the Ministry of Justice. OSJE as an executive committee member has played active role in the formulation of position papers and recommendations to the then draft proclamation.

Four commentary papers on the proclamation have been prepared and submitted to the Ministry of Justice

Donor to the project: European Union

As human rights NGO dedicated to promoting social justice in Ethiopia, OSJE pursued diverse activities contributing to the promotion and the enjoyment of human rights. The Project “Improving Access to Judicial and Administrative Services in Rural Ethiopia "directly falls under that category. This project took the form of giving a paralegals' training in Kamashi Woreda, Benishangul-Gumuz Regional State and was undertaken with a financial support from Initiative Africa and in collaboration with Action Aid Ethiopia Kamashi CCDP.

Under this project OSJE had developed a tailor made training manual and delivered a 15 days training to individuals selected from the community leaders, students, and teachers. A workshop aimed at creating awareness on the importance of paralegals in addressing access to justice problems and setting a ground for forging a smooth relationship between judicial and law enforcement organs and, paralegals was conducted in Assosa. As one of the activities of the project a booklet on the contribution of paralegals in addressing the problem of access to justice was also published and distributed.

Donors to the project: Initiative Africa