Learning in Partnership Building inside the Eritrean Forces for Democratic Change

By Fesseha Nair


This article will deal with learning in partnesrhip building inside the Eritrean opposition diaspora either they are political or civil society organizations. The main point of this article is if we have learned over the past 15 years in building partnership and co-operation in our struggle to bring changes in our individual and organizational making.


What is learning? Learning is when we understand and interpret the reality that surrounds us, internally and externally and try to change it.


The focus of this artilce is on the individuals and organizations who were involved in building partinership during the past 15 years. ( 1999-2016) How the structure, process and cultures of the building partnership was in the opposition camp do they succeeded or failed in creating sustainable partnership/co-operation? What were the factors that made learning difficult in the opposition forces?


This articel will try to discuss on this two above mentioned questions.


  1. The Opposition has structural obstacles to learning


Looking at the political and civic organizations structure on can identify that all of them are organized on the lines of various identities. ( religious, ethnic, cultural, clan and geographical) Building partnership( EDA, ENCDC………. ) among these various identities was difficult, it is not because of the diverse identities but failed in building a structure accommodating these identities and the interests and rights of the stakeholders in the partnership.


Partnership was not appreciated by the leadership of the various political and civic organizations. All were involved blaming each other for the failed outcomes and this has resulted in a very serious learning block. To overcome this weakness that hamper learning the Eritrean Opposition need soul searching and work for common purpose that guarrantees future peaceful co-existance to all citizens without discrimination in Eritrea.


  1. Partnership work process and culture


The Eritrean experience of partnership building that started in 1999 by political oppositions in diaspora was extermely narrow only confined by its leadership but it gradually developed to include all political organizations and civil society movements later from 2008 to broaden its potential partnership and expand its network.


In the past 15 years, the attempts to build alliances , coalitions and partnership were failed because of narrow-minded political and civic elites. Partnership building is not a one time work activity but is a process with a comprehensive work programmes designed appropriately that satisfy people’s needs and wishes. Partnership building needs commitment and implementation of the accords adopted by consensus. What makes a partnership successfull is when the partners participate in programme activities and contribute to positive outcome.


In any organization, learning takes place through work experience and discussions with colleagues. Observing the Eritrean diaspora opposition at local, regional and global level, there is no culture of working together. In the past 15 years we have developed a culture of animosity and intolerance and has been strong enough to exclude and supress each other. It is this culture of work that hampered the common efforts to build a strong partnership.




  1. What were the factors that made learning difficult in the opposition forces?


The Eritrean diaspora opposition whether they are political or civic movements have difficulties in learning to be good learners. Learning is not only individual but organizations must also learn. Any organization that does not learn cannot change themselves and their surrondings. Building partnership, alliances and coalitions in the Eritrean Opposition Diaspora were characterized by unclear or conflicting objectives that has created difficulties for the grassroots of the partner organizations to co-ordinate and harmonize their efforts and activities towards the common goals. The main factors behind this sad situation of the diaspora opposition is the political cynicism- the attitude of mistrust of each other lack of faith and hope on each other, relationship based on personal cults- clans, internal organisational weakness and lack of knowledge and skills to learn to understand and change your surroundings for the benefit of the public not for the individual interests.


What should be the exit strategy from this sad situation of the struggle from dictatorship to democracy?  To remedy these defects all the oppositions forces must search new approaches targeting the salvation of the Eritrean people from the ugly policies of the totalitarian system of governance in Eritrea and lay foundations for building a democratic society in the long run.




  1. EGDI, Learning in Development Co-operation


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Posted by on Oct 7 2016 Filed under Articles. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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