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Community Mobilization & Citizens’ Engagement

This program is as old as HUNDEE itself and has almost become our trademark. This program was originally designed to popularize women’s human rights and protection against gender-based violence among traditional communities in our intervention areas. The target groups of the program in a sense are rural communities. The program heavily relies on community dialogues delivered in separate and mixed forums organized for men and women, boys and girls. Through these forums and workshops community members are introduced to laws put in place to advance women’s rights and protection from gender-based violence and other harmful traditional practices. The execution of the program involves other stakeholders from government and community leaders whose opinion and participation matters a lot in terms of achieving positive changes. Their full participation in community dialogues and on analysis of legal provisions on women’s rights and protection against GBV is an aspect of capacity building for the stakeholders such as women’s affair offices to undertake their own initiatives with rural and urban communities.

The program is executed within the culture of the local communities and addresses traditional power centers that command community respect and trust. The program has enabled us to reach rural communities and have been able to mobilize communities, men and women, old and young, government functionaries, traditional leaders in the advancement of women’s rights and protection against gender-based violence. Essence and meaning of this program is measured in what it wants to achieve in terms of institutionalizing RESPECT, PRTECTION and FULFILLING of women’s human rights in grassroots associations and institutions. Institutionalizing human rights principles at this level will also facilitate empowerment of women. Here, the process of intervention relies heavily on active involvement of relevant community actors in project management and decision-making.  The process continuously encourages women to actively participate and exercise decision-making during the design, implementation and monitoring and evaluation of different projects.

This program, with adjustments made to comply with the requirements of a law on charity and society, still remain one of the core programs of that HUNDEE is currently promoting among its target communities in Oromia. Under this law, HUNDEE, registered as Ethiopian Resident Charity is no longer allowed to address the issue from human rights perspective. As a result, and as clearly stated in our memorandum of association, we have only been mandated to tackle the issue of harmful traditional practice only health angle.