Table of Contents
Conclusion and Recommendations
References ………………………………………………………………………..22 Appendices……………………………………………………………………….23
The civil society has taken a very active role in the quest for democracy that continues to spread across the continents till it reached the Middle East region only recently. This is clear given the successive revolts that have taken place in many of the Arab countries calling for real democracy. Therefore, especially in Egypt, efforts should be directed toward defending civil society organizations and activists who are being threatened by the coercive authoritarian government actions over the past decades (Naidoo, 2007). The civil society as identified by Khallaf (2010) comprises “non-governmental organizations (NGOs hereafter), community groups, professional associations, trade unions, media organizations, research institutes/ think tanks, and advocacy and human rights civil society organizations” (p.2). However, the current paper aims at focusing mainly on the role of NGOs in strengthening democracy. This is due to the major role NGOs play in several areas in order to enhance democracy. Among these are their role in: (1) allowing a wider range of interest groups to have a ‘voice’, pluralizing institutions to act in a ‘watchdog’ role vis-à-vis the state, networking and creating alliances of civic actors to place pressure on the state, (2) working with grassroots organizations comprised of poor and marginalized groups, and (3) exerting some pressures on the state by pressing for change and developing alternative policies (Mercer, 2002). Previous Studies of civil society in Egypt, over the past twenty years, have been both superficial and confined to only limited areas, namely (issue based publications, academic publications, training materials/ manuals, directories, conference publications, empirical comparative studies, civil society organizations’ (CSOs) publications, donor guide books and publications, CSOs coalitions occasional papers, evaluation studies, and web based sources) (Khallaf, 2010). (Figure: 1).
Figure : The diversity of civil society research in Egypt
Therefore, more detailed studies should be directed toward deeply investigating the civil society organizations operating in Egypt. Khallaf (2010) has mentioned that more research has been directed recently to track the actual magnitude of civil society through donor efforts in Egypt. However, the literature has pointed to serious gaps in the study of NGOs in Egypt. These include; First: Updated statistical information on number of NGOs. Second: The systematic evaluation of NGOs activities. Third: periodic assessments such as the CIVICUS or Civil Society Index and the Philanthropy study. Forth: studying participatory governance and the involvement of civil society in decision making processes. Fifth: changing Laws and regulations governing NGOs in Egypt. Sixth: An impact assessment of all new NGOs working in charity or development. Seventh: an assessment of aid effectiveness to Egypt (Khallaf, 2010). Finally: a detailed diagnosis of the NGOs operating in Egypt is needed. This should focus on both internal and external analyses of the selected NGOs and provide policy recommendations for possible improvements in the sector. The current paper attempts to draw light on how the civil society operates in Egypt. A well recognized Egyptian NGO was selected in this ethnographic research. It is called the Future Protectors Association for Care and Development or “Homat Al-Mostakbal”. The reason behind selecting it is the higher credibility and the good reputation it is enjoying. This is quite well perceived by the researcher based on her personal experience with this association. The current research can add valuable insights both theoretically and practically. Theoretically, it attempts...
References: Khallaf, M. "Civil Society in Egypt: A Literature Review." (2010): 1
Page, J. "The Role of Civil Society in A New Egypt." (2011): 1-45.
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