15.1.2  Policies, strategies and programmes

Policies are important statements of government plans. They lie outside the hierarchy of laws because they do not have the same legal status as proclamations, regulations and directives; however, they are related. Policies are statements of overall purpose that set out goals and provide principles that should be followed to achieve those goals. Policy goals and principles are made into laws by proclamations and regulations.

A strategy provides details for implementing a given policy. It sets out how policy goals will be achieved, for example by identifying who should be involved, and allocating roles and responsibilities. Examples of national strategies include the Food and Nutrition Strategy, Poverty Reduction Strategy, Climate Resilient Green Economy Strategy, and National Hygiene and Sanitation Strategy.

Policies and strategies are put into effect in a range of programmes and projects, which could be described as action plans for implementation. Programme is a broad term used to describe any set of related events, activities or projects. Government programmes are specific to a particular sector and often cover a specified period such as five years. (Note that the word ‘policy’ is sometimes used in a more general sense to include any statement of overall aims, including strategies and programmes as well as named policies. We have used it in this broader sense in this study session.)

Ethiopian Government policies are based on the provisions of the Constitution. Several policies seek to deliver public benefits, including the Health Policy, Population Policy, Women’s Policy and the Ethiopian Water Resources Management Policy.

Public policy is created at all levels of government – federal, regional, zonal and woreda – but it is not only governments that have policies. Organisations, and even families and individuals, develop policies to guide their actions.

  • Can you think of any policies you are subject to at your place of work? (Or someone that you know if you are not currently in employment.)

  • The organisation you work for is likely to have a number of policies that apply to you, such as policies on holidays, sickness leave entitlement and disciplinary matters, to name a few.

15.1.1  The hierarchy of laws

15.2  Policy development