Towards a History of Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in Ethiopia since the 1960s


Dr. Aychegrew Hailu

Research Area:


Despite its enormous human and natural resource potential, Ethiopia is a textbook example of structural poverty that has left the majority of the people in abject misery, hunger and backwardness. This was particularly true following the mid-twentieth century, as the country repeatedly experienced severe droughts and famines. Since the 1960s, successive governments have made attempts to tackle the problem; unfortunately these attempts did not lead to any substantial breakthroughs. The effort of the government to ameliorate the conditions of Ethiopians was supported by non-state development actors in which Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) are currently a more visible part. This research intends to examine the role national and international development-oriented NGOs have played in the fight against poverty since the 1960s and the circumstances in which they operated. More specifically, it explores how NGOs managed to deal with the difficult relationships with state and non-state actors with a view to achieving their objectives. Thus, this study explores the logical contradictions and collaborations NGOs have had with international funding agencies, beneficiaries, civic organisations, community elders, local institutions, scholars and activists. In doing so, the study will examine how the varying interest of each and every party affects the discourse of NGOs’ involvement in development activities and its outcomes. Such aspects will be studied in a manner that clearly identifies the broad spectrum of interests and parties involved in local and national development and that enables the state and other stakeholders to competently handle the management of NGOs for a better result.