Oxfam calls on the African Union and civil society organizations to increase collaboration

“Oxfam has invested approximately $1 million in grants support to African civil society organizations.”
Published: 22 November 2007

Oxfam International urges for intensified engagement and more visible roles for African civil society organizations in their partnership with the African Union (AU).

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia - Monday, 08 October 2007. International agency Oxfam today reiterated its support to Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) across Africa in their engagement with the African Union.

While on an official tour of the AU offices in Addis Ababa, Oxfam GB Executive Director, Barbara Stocking, urged for enhanced collaboration between such venerable organizations as the AU and civil society organisations. In setting an example of such future collaboration, Oxfam and the AU signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) formalizing the relationship between the two organizations.

“Actions like this (signing of the MOU) affirm Oxfam’s commitment to supporting African Civil Societies in becoming more effective in their engagement with the AU on issues of protection of civilians and women,” Ms. Stocking said.

Ms. Stocking commended the Chairperson of the Union, Professor Alpha Konare for achieving such laudable results under his leadership at the Union, including, the application of peer pressure on errant African states, emergence of progressive policy and human rights standards, and increased assertiveness of the continent in the global arena. She further commended the Union for continuing to provide protection to civilians in situations of conflict under very difficult circumstances and poor financing.

Although the MoU was signed today, Oxfam has been working with the African Union over the last four years by lending support to the Union in delivering on its mission in critical areas such as global trade relations, gender equality and women’s empowerment, the protection of civilians in conflict situations, democratic governance and international financing for development.

In this respect, Oxfam has invested approximately $1 million in grants support to African civil society organizations including the Global Call to Action Against Poverty (GCAP), Solidarity for African Women’s Rights (SOAWR), the African Civil Society Coalition on HIV/AIDS, and the African Youth Parliament, among others. In addition, Oxfam has facilitated and supported over 200 African NGOs in attending and participating in various Heads of States and Government Summits, where they were able to voice their concerns and bring key community issues to the table.

“With the AU is now more open than ever to civil society, there is a huge opportunity for CSOs  to add value and quality to the Union’s decisions, and ensure effective implementation of its priorities," Ms Stocking added. “Constructive engagement with civil society is a necessity for the AU and Oxfam urges the Union to ease access for all civil society groups allowing them to play a vital role in the decisions being made.

Contact Information

For further information, please contact:

Mandy Woodhouse, Country Program Manager, Ethiopia:
Tel: +251 0116 613344, Mobile: +251 0911 215224,
Email: mwoodhouse@oxfam.org.uk

Désiré Assogbavi, Pan-Africa Senior Policy Analyst, Oxfam Liaison Office with the African Union
Tel: + 251 (0) 11 661 16 01, Mobile + 251 (0) 911 20 83 32
Email: dassogbavi@oxfam.org.uk

Mark Shephard, Media and Communications officer, Ethiopia:
Tel: +251 0116 613344, Mobile: +251 (0) 911369196,
Email: mshephard@oxfam.org.uk