CALL FOR TENDER: Assessment – Mapping hate speech and disinformation in Ethiopia

Country: Ethiopia
Organization: European Institute of Peace
Closing date: 11 Oct 2020

Do you want to make a real difference to peace? Are you interested in using your skills to shape conflict resolution?

The European Institute of Peace is looking for exceptional individuals who share our vision for a world where people live in safety and peace because conflicts and grievances are resolved through inclusive dialogue and lasting political agreements.

We design and help deliver sustainable peace processes and agreements by providing practical experience, technical expertise and policy advice on conflict resolution. We use a variety of tools to help us do this, including analysis, mapping and design, facilitating policy discussions, mediation support and practical engagement.

Based in Brussels and active in 15 countries, the European Institute of Peace is an independent organization working collaboratively with European decision makers, the parties to conflict, and those who represent people suffering from insecurity or at risk of violence, as well as the conflict prevention, resolution and mediation community.

Our approach enables us to be agile, creative, trustworthy and effective in everything we do, and these are key qualities we look for in our team members.

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We are looking for an international expert on hate speech and disinformation for an EIP project on preventing and countering extremism in Ethiopia.


1. Introduction

1.1 Background

Violence has increased in the past years in Ethiopia. Individuals have fought and killed one another as a result of political differences, ethnic rivalries, or religious extremism, as well as a variety of disputes over land, borders, and other resources. Hate speech, both online and offline, proliferated. At times, this brought Ethiopia into rough water. For example, in June 2019, when the Amhara regional governor Ambachew Mekonnen, and General Seare Mekonnen, and other government officials were killed; in October 2019, when violence across Oromia killed at least 86 people; and recently in June 2020, when following the murder of the famous singer Hachalu Hundesa, 166 people were killed, and more injured amid a wave of destruction and displacement in Addis Ababa and Oromia region.

The typical response to widespread instability from the Ethiopian government is to shut down internet – 3G and 4G networks – in the country. These can be nation-wide shutdowns, such as following the murder of Hachalu, or partial shutdowns, such as the blackout in West Oromia that was enforced for months as government forces battled with the Oromo Liberation Front. Although internet penetration remains low, many people have access to the internet through mobile phones, and many get their news from Facebook and other forms of social media. Shutting down the internet therefore severely restricts people’s freedom of information and ability to communicate and report.

Despite the issue of hate speech and disinformation often being discussed in relation to Ethiopia, there is little information out there about hate speech in Ethiopian media. How prevalent is it? Which media are prone to spread it? What may be dividing issues along which people can be mobilised? What are the risks, and how can effective tools be developed to address there? There questions are especially important considering that the government of Ethiopia has adopted a new law of hate speech in 2019. Experts have criticised the law for its definition of what constitutes hate speech, which is considered too broad, leading it open to political interpretation, and the harsh punishments of up to five-year imprisonment of spreading hate speech.

1.2 Relevance to EIP

The European Institute of Peace (hereinafter “EIP”) is an independent body that partners with European states and the European Union to craft strategic and effective approaches to conflict prevention, resolution, dialogue, and mediation. EIP’s purpose is to protect and improve the lives of people experiencing, at risk of, or recovering from violent conflict. Its work is guided by states that share a common commitment to human rights and to European values in reducing violence and promoting a global peace agenda. EIP operates in 15 countries in the Middle East, Central Asia, Africa, Latin America and Europe.

EIP has been active in Ethiopia since 2017 and is currently implementing an EU-funded programme focused on reducing the drivers of internal and external extremism in Ethiopia (August 2019 – February 2021). The intervention intends to strengthen Ethiopia’s approaches and capacity to address internal and external threats of extremism and political violence. One of the outputs is to develop meaningful dialogue initiatives in Ethiopia that have an impact on extremism.

The requested assessment would contribute to a better understanding hate speech in an Ethiopian context, and provide recommendations and analysis for policy makers to refine Ethiopia’s tools to address disinformation, hate speech, and fake news.

2. Description of the analysis/ research

2.1 Main objective

The assessment will provide a thorough analysis of fake news in Ethiopia and deliver a series of recommendations to Ethiopian policymakers.

2.2 Specific deliverables and terms of reference

Specifically, the service provider will provide the following deliverables:

  1. The production of one (1) assessment on hate speech and fake news in Ethiopia, including but not limited to:

  2. a media landscape review;

  3. assessment of the amount of fake news present on Ethiopian media;

  4. weaknesses and challenges of the media landscape, and risks posed by it;

  5. developing tools for potential mitigation;

  6. The preparation and delivery of three (3) workshops with Ethiopian stakeholders.

2.3 Timeline


Publication date

5 October 2020

Deadline for submitting tenders

11 October 2020 23:59 CET

Interviews (if any)

Week of 12 October

Evaluation **

Week of 12 October

Notification of award **

Week of 12 October

Contract signature

Week of 12 October

Start date

19 October or shortly thereafter

Paper outline

10 November (indicative)

First draft

1 December (indicative)

Final draft

10 January (indicative)

2.4 Target audience

The primary target audience of the assessment is the Ethiopian government.

2.5 Budget

EIP estimates between twenty (20) to thirty (30) working days for an international expert, who will be supported by two full-time EIP consultants based in Ethiopia.

2.6 Monitoring and comments

EIP’s Programme team, consisting of Programme Manager, Programme Officer, and Senior Advisor, will monitor the delivery of the research as set out according to the above deliverables and timelines.

Upon submission of the draft report EIP will provide the contractor with feedback after which the contractor will submit a final draft.

2.7 Language

The language of the final research product and all intermediate notes is to be English.

2.8 Presentation and copyright

The final report will be formatted according to the standard lay-out of the European Institute of Peace. The name, organisation, and logo of the contractor can be displayed on the report alongside the EIP logo. EIP will retain all copyright rights of usage to the report.

3. Qualifications and Requirements

The following expertise is required:

  • An excellent understanding of Ethiopian politics;
  • An excellent understanding (conceptual and practical) of disinformation and related concepts;
  • Expertise in process design; and
  • Fluency in English, with any of the languages spoken in Ethiopia a significant benefit.

How to apply:

Submission of proposals and criteria for evaluation

EIP is inviting interested parties to submit a research proposal, including a technical proposal, a budget setting out all fees for the research, and CVs for all consultants that would be involved in project implementation to EIP’s Senior Programme Officer Camille Schyns at

EIP will evaluate the provider on the basis of

  1. The quality of the proposal (80% weight)

  2. The cost of the proposal (20% weight)

EIP is under no obligation to award the current contract for which proposals are requested. In this case applicants will be informed of EIP’s decision not to award the contract.

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