CECOE Gears-Up To Observe The Upcoming Referendum In The SNNPR

CECOE Gears-Up To Observe The Upcoming Referendum In The SNNPR

On the 13th of December 2022, the Coalition of Ethiopian Civil Society Organizations for Elections (CECOE) conducted organized a one day training of for trainers (ToT) for trainers who will train referendum observers. The training is part of CECOE’s preparation to observe the referendum in the  South Nation, Nationalities and  People’s Regional State (SNNPR) slated for February 2022. The 15 trainees drawn from different  zones of the SNNPR regional state and CECOE’s staff will cascade the knowledge they acquired to more than 1,300 observers through training scheduled to be held in Wolaita Sodo, Araba minch, Jinka and Dila towns. 

The topics of the ToT covered the three phases of the referendum: pre-referendum, voting day and post referendum phases. To acquaint the trainers very well with the referendum concepts they were provided with practical examples and video materials. 

It is to be recalled that in August 2022 the House of Federation had given green light for 6 zones and 5 woredas that were under the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples Region (SNNPR) to hold a referendum and establish a new region, if supported by the inhabitants.

The other zones and special woredas, namely Hadiya Zone, Hallaba Zone, Kenbata Tenbaro Zone, Gurage Zone, Silte Zone and Yem Special Woreda, would remain in the Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples Region, it further decided. 

Previously CECOE observed the Sidama, the South West Ethiopia Peoples’ Region referendums  and the 6th Ethiopian general elections that were held in 2019 and 2021 respectively. During these electoral processes,  CECOE trained and deployed different types of election observers — namely: Long Term Observers (LTOs), Election Day Observers (Mobile and stationary), mobile  and post-election observers.  In order to observe the election with a high-level of professionalism, all CECOE’s observers  had taken several training sessions in different rounds. During the training sessions, the observers took part in different simulation exercises which were  based on real-case scenarios.  

As part of its efforts to set an exemplary election and referendum observation system in Ethiopia, CECOE established an Election Situation Room (ESR) in which it received and analyzed election observation data sent via text from observers. On the voting days, the observers, who went through  meticulous training on election and referendum observation and reporting, were sending observation data to the ESR in real-time. Data – clerks working in two shifts were also receiving, organizing and analyzing the received data. The  data was analyzed using Apollo software and the findings were communicated to media outlets, members and partners as the voting process was underway.

It is with the same zeal CECOE is making preparations to systematically  observe the upcoming referendum.  Furthermore, CECOE has planned to organize  consultation forums whereby key stakeholders deliberate on  the role of CSOs and higher education in the referendum.

Trainings On Peacebuilding And Conflict Mitigation

Trainings On Peacebuilding And Conflict Mitigation

From the 23rd to the 30th of November 2022, the Coalition of Ethiopian Civil Society Organizations for Elections – CECOE conducted five different trainings on Peacebuilding and Conflict mitigation. The trainings were provided as part of CECOE’s effort to augment the role of CSOs in Peacebuilding and Conflict mitigation. A total of 194 trainees drawn from different parts of Ethiopia participated in the trainings. Of the five trainings, the first Training of Trainers (ToT) was conducted in Addis Ababa on 22 -23 November 2022. This ToT was followed by four other trainings conducted in Dire Dawa and Hawassa on 25 and 26 November and in Bahirdar and Adama on November 28 and 29.

The training was designed to build the capacity of CECOE member organizations to contribute to peacebuilding and the national dialogue processes. In a bid to provide effective training, CECOE prepared and provided training modules and training manuals to the trainers. Similarly, the trainees were provided with well-developed reading materials and worked examples.

The training provided an opportunity for the participants to network with conflict experts, examine their roles in peacebuilding, and devise strategies for mitigating conflicts accurately, impartially, and responsibly.

CECOE Holds A Dialogue Session On Citizenship And Ethnic/National Identity In Ethiopia

CECOE Holds A Dialogue Session On Citizenship And Ethnic/National Identity In Ethiopia

On 6 October 2022, CECOE organized a national  Dialogue Session on Citizenship and Ethnic/National Identity in Ethiopia.  The main objective of the session was aimed at creating a platform for discussion among different actors where genuine dialogue between competing views on Ethiopian citizenship and ethnic identity can take place. The dialogue was opened by CECOE’s Executive director, Abera Hailemariam, who welcomed everyone and went on to describe the coalition’s aim to promote democratic culture. 

 The two presenters and discussants at the session were Eyasped Tesfaye, Founder of Ubuntu Media and Communications, and Mulugeta Aregawi, Attorney  and Lecturer of Law at Addis Ababa University. The first presenter’s presentations were mainly focused on Ethnic/National Identity. “Nationalism is primarily a political principle, which holds that the political and the national unit should be congruent. Nationalist sentiment is the feeling of anger aroused by the violation of the principle, or the feeling of satisfaction aroused by its fulfillment. A nationalist movement is one actuated by a sentiment of this kind,” according to Eyasped.  

The second presenter’s, Mulugeta, presentation was mainly focused on citizenship identity, highlighting that ethnic based political systems have negatively contributed to flaring up conflicts both locally and internationally. He also explained that both citizenship based identity and its advocates  have been under a continuous attack in Ethiopia  for the past three decades. 

Participants of the session drawn from  various CSOs, partners and government agencies also reflected on the presentations and forwarded recommendations to thaw the current political tensions in Ethiopia. 

In a bid to promote such political dialogues and promote democratic culture, CECoE has planned to organize a series of similar sessions on various contested topics.    

CECOE And Its Partners Hold a Workshop On: The Role of Civil Society Organizations and Citizens Participation in the National Dialogue

CECOE And Its Partners Hold a Workshop On: The Role of Civil Society Organizations and Citizens Participation in the National Dialogue

On 25 August 2022, CECOE, in partnership with NDI and Redeem the generation, held a workshop themed: The role of civil society organization and citizen participation in a national dialogue- in Adama city. The objective of the workshop was to discuss possible CSOs and citizen intervention in national dialogue and gather input from participants. The participants of the workshop were drawn from CECOE’s member CSOs, non-CECOE members, professional associations, and youth associations based in the Oromia regional state.

The workshop was opened by an opening remark from CECOE’s representative. In his opening remarks CECOE’s program manager, Biniam Abate, welcomed the participants and expounded on CECOE’s previous and planned project activities. He also added that CECOE has planned various activities aimed at bolstering the role of CSOS in the ongoing national dialogue process.  

Following the opening remarks, CECOE’s executive director, Abera Hailemarim, made a presentation focused on the historical aspects of a national dialogue and roles that should be played by Ethiopian CSOs and citizens.  The following topics were the major issues raised in the director’s presentation:

  • Purpose of National Dialogue
  • Difference between National Dialogue & Debate
  • Factors affecting the success or failure of National Dialogue
  • Outcomes of national Dialogue
  • Role of Citizens in a Democratic Society


As supporting the country’s democracy building effort is one of CECOE’s organizational goals, the coalition intends to contribute its own fair share to make the national dialogue a success. To that end, CECOE has planned to organize a series of events whereby various germane stakeholders deliberate on the planned national dialogue.   To get latest updates on the events, please follow CECOE on Twitter (@CecoeEth) and subscribe to our newsletter using this link www. cecoe/newsletter.org,   

CECOE At The 2nd Ethiopian CSO Week

CECOE At The 2nd Ethiopian CSO Week

The Second Ethiopian CSO week was held from 30 June – 2 July 2022 under the theme “Proactive CSOs for Peace, Democracy and Development”. At the event, more than 85 CSOs showcased their products, reports, research documents, projects, and public relations materials. Furthermore, there were four sideline panel discussions whereby key stakeholders deliberated on various topics i.e.,: localization of aid; gender; role of CSOs in peacebuilding and the enactment of the new CSOs proclamation.

The CECOE at the exhibition showcased elections’ reports, Media Monitoring Unit, Apollo system (election observation data management software), Voter education report, IVote (digital voter education), and other publications. High dignitaries, including H. E Dr. Gedion Timotiwos, FDRE Attorney General, H.E. Dr. Ergoge Tesfay Minister of Labor and Social Affairs, visited CECOE’s booth and applauded the coalition’s works.

The First Civil Society Organizations (CSO), Government and Private Partnership Exhibition and Conference were held at Oromia Cultural Center in Addis Ababa, April 6-9 2021. H. E Dr. Gedion Timotiwos, FDRE Attorney General, H.E Dr. Ergoge Tesfay Minister of Labor and Social Affairs, and Mr. Jima Dilbo-Director General-ACSO were among the dignitaries who attended the opening ceremony and made brief visits to the exhibition. Similarly, parallel to the exhibition conferences on various pertinent topics were held.