About CARD

The Center for the Advancement of Rights and Democracy (CARD) is a board-led, for-not-profit organization registered in Ethiopia under the Civil Societies Law 1113/2019 with registry number 4307. CARD acquired its legal personality on 24 July 2019.

CARD aspires to see Ethiopia where democratic culture flourished on human rights values and has been working with a mission to empower citizens and groups of citizens to ensure their ability to promote and defend human rights and build democratic governance in Ethiopia.

Making Democracy 
the Only Rule of the Game!

CARD is a civil society organization that is working to build up democratic mass cultures in popular movements through awareness creation, organizing, and advocacy embedded with human rights values.

CARD’s Vision

​​​​CARD aspires to see Ethiopia where democratic culture flourished on human rights values

CARD’s Mission

​CARD works to empower citizens and groups of citizens to ensure their ability to promote and defend human rights and build democratic governance in Ethiopia.

CARD’s Core Objectives

CARD, as legally registered for, and is mandated to:

  • Awareness creation to nurture democratic culture in Ethiopia;
  • Monitoring and evaluation of the state of human rights and democracy, in order to hold both state and non-state actors accountable;
  • Conducting research, holding consultations, and pursuing advocacy in order to influence necessary policy changes that help democratization;
  • Providing technical and professional support to democratic institutions;
  • Monitoring and evaluating police detention centers, correction centers, and courts to ensure human and democratic rights are respected; and
  • Performing elections observation, as well as civic and voters’ education.


CARD is an organization that follows a rights-centered approach to help the democratization process in Ethiopia. Currently, CARD has five programs:

  1. Civic Engagement

This program aims to ensure the creation of agencies and platforms of diverse civic engagements in human rights and democratic issues. The projects and activities under this program include:

  • Empowering formal, informal, and customary groups to institutionalize and formalize their movements.
  • Building human and resource capacities of emerging civil society organizations to improve their impacts.
  • Creating a series of dialogue platform for inter-group and intra-group bodies over controversial socio-political issues to develop consensus.
  • Investigating causes of conflicts and advocating for participatory resolution mechanisms.
  1. Media Literacy

This program aims to ensure the development of the media’s capacity and space to bring about democratic culture. The projects and activities under this program include:

  • Advocating for the media space and freedom of expression to keep the media space improving.
  • Protecting and defending the safety and security of journalists for the healthy growth of professional journalism.
  • Monitoring narratives, combating disinformation, hate speech, and incitement raises the culture of ethical discourse in both formal and informal platforms.
  • Advocating for the independence of public (state-run) media outlets to provide accurate and diverse information to the public.
  1. Youth and Women Empowerment

This program aims to ensure youth and women’s participation in civic activities through the facilitation of empowerment opportunities. Projects and activities under this program include:

  • Creating awareness about human rights values and democratic principles through a series of training targeted at high school and university students.
  • Raising the capacity of youth and women to make knowledge-driven societal changes through the facilitation of research opportunities.
  • Promoting inclusion and diversity through human rights seminars and festivals, creation of cross-sectional dialogue platforms, and other public events.
  • Promotion of gender rights and protection of marginalized and vulnerable groups.
  1. Digital Rights

This program aims to ensure the promotion of digital rights as well as the safety and security of citizens online. The projects and activities include:

  • Advocating for the free and all-inclusive accessibility of the internet to reduce the impact of the digital divide among society members.
  • Defending the rights of online expression and access to information.
  • Promote the protection of personal data, individuals’ privacy, security, and safety of online citizens.
  • Supporting activities of online platforms improve their moderation efforts by raising the understanding of local contexts to protect the physical and psychological safety of their users.
  1. Democracy Index

This program aims to ensure measured progress of democratization in Ethiopia through observing and evaluating the state and progress of democratization in all the administrative units of Ethiopia including regional states and federal administrations. The projects and activities under this program include:

  • Periodic rating and ranking of states and federal administrative units to evaluate their yearly signs of progress of democratization as well as develop a culture of healthy competition among one another and their own respective past.
  • Creating a research-based resource to identify strengths and weaknesses of each of the administrations so that stakeholders can be able to prioritize their focus areas in pursuit of democratization.
  • Designing and implementing policy advocacy based on trends in the democracy index reports to further positively shape the future democratization activities.

Methodologies and Targets

CARD’s methodology of program and project activities implementation always starts with knowledge creation which leads to the designing and implementation of activities. The types of activities range from awareness creation to advocacy. Both awareness creation and advocacy efforts, assisted by experts, will be led by local and grassroots agencies. Our engagements are not only knowledge-based but also rights-based – through advocating more rights promotion. The local agencies who are the targets of our programs include:

  1. Formal and informal youth groups in civic engagement
  2. Youth leaders, social movements organizers, and activists
  3. Local customary institutions
  4. Media, journalists, and online content producers
  5. Civic society organizations
  6. Public democratic institutions
  7. Online networks and social media platforms.