Mikiyas Bekele Kidane, Solen Gemechu Megersa, Abel Wabella Sugebo, Michael Million

This project explores the culture of representation across the micro- and meso-levels in Ethiopia, with respect to civil society organisations’ participation in federal law-making processes. Mikiyas B. Kidane (@MickyEthiopia), Lecturer in Law, and his Ambo University colleague Solen G. Megersa (@solen_gemechu) have conducted interviews with legal experts, politicians, former parliamentarians, and parliamentary officials, as well as analysing reports and minutes that document law-making processes and the drafting of legislation.

Their research sheds light on participatory democracy. They are looking at the role of civil society organisations and the ways in which policymakers and law-makers engage with them; the kinds of relationships that parliamentarians have with their constituents and the mechanism for integrating people’s concerns and needs in drafting legislation; and the range of public engagement activities that civil society organisations are involved in. The result is a holistic overview of how people, parliamentarians, and civil society organisations interact as part of the law-making landscape. In addition to presenting their findings at a workshop and panel discussion with invited scholars, activists and community members, the team are developing a collective action network to advance participatory democracy in Ethiopia.

The team are also working with journalist AbelWabella (@Abelpoly), managing director of the newspaper Addis Zeybe, to develop a robust media dissemination and communication strategy. Finally creative artist Michael Million is writing, directing, and producing a short film about civil society engagement and participation in politics and law-making that will be shared across social media and other platforms in order to generate dialogue and action.