On the 16th March 2016, the East Africa Civil Society organizations’ forum (EACSOF) held the 8th Annual General Meeting at Naura Springs Hotel in Arusha, Tanzania. The meeting was graced by 46 CSOs delegates from the East Africa Community partner states and key development partners such as the Commonwealth Foundation, The Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung, The Swedish Embassy, Foundation for CSOs in Tanzania (FCSO-TZ), and Action Aid. EACSOF President, Mr. Morris Odhiambo chaired the meeting.
The key achievements of EACSOF were highlighted by the Secretary General, Mr. Zaa Twalangeti of Tanzania as follows:
- EACSOF advocacy for the assent to the Rights Based EAC HIV and AIDS Prevention and Management Bill 2015 succeeded after all EAC Head of States signed the Bill.
- Constitutionalism: EACSOF in collaboration with PALU filed an application at the EACJ to obtain a ruling on the legality of the decision reached by the Constitutional Court of Burundi on 5th May 2015, which allowed President Nkurunziza to run for a third term in elections.
- Human Rights: EACSOF submitted a petition to EALA on the deteriorating human rights and humanitarian situation in the Republic of Burundi and undertook a workshop on the Right to Nationality (R2N) in Africa to raise concern on statelessness and R2N.
- EACSOF internal governance was strengthened by reviewing the Financial and Human Resource Policies.
- EACSOF, through a consultative process designed its Strategic Plan for the period 2016-2020.
- EACSOF received a token of recognition for undertaking initiatives in governance, diplomacy, peace and security from the International Peace Support Training Centre (IPSTC).
At the AGM, EACSOF members adopted EACSOF’s Annual Report 2015; the Strategic Plan for 2016-2020 was also presented to the members for review and was adopted with various amendments specifically EACSOF Thematic Areas Inclusion (Democratic Governance, Peace and Security, Social and Economic Justice, Natural Resources, Environmental Protection and Climate Change), Gender mainstreaming, Sustainable Development Goals and Sustainability. Further, a committee was formed to spearhead amendments to the EACSOF Constitution. Among others, the Task Force has the mandate of soliciting views from EACSOF Country Chapter on possible amendments to the Constitution.
The AGM enabled EACSOF to account to its members and strengthen its governance regime by having a more cohesive voice and a clearer strategy that will guide its interventions in the next 5 years.
The new Strategy will be spearheaded by a robust EACSOF Governing Council composed of CLARION/National Civil Society Congress (NCSC) represented by the President of EACSOF, Legal Resource Foundation, the Forum for Strengthening Civil Society (FORSC), Association of Girls Guide Burundi (AGB), Rwanda Civil Society Platform (RCSP), Strive Foundation Rwanda, Tanzania Association of NGOs(TANGO), Association of NGOs ZANIBAR (ANGOZA), Uganda National NGO Forum (UNNGOF) and Southern and Eastern African Trade, Information and Negotiations Institute (SEATINI).