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In Egypt's complex political environment NGOs suffer - Daily News Egypt

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In Egypt’s complex political environment NGOs suffer

Critical members of Egypt’s civil society will not survive the transition they fought to secure


Egyptian NGOs have been seeing sources of funding decline following a security crackdown on NGOs earlier this year.

Donors to NGOs, both in Egypt and abroad, are simply donating less money and some NGOs are being forced to shut down.

Rana Gaber, who works for the NGO: the Egyptian Youth Federation, said there are countries that are “holding their funds waiting to see what will happen in the future”.

She added that what’s harder than getting the funding is getting the government approval to work in Egypt; a very time-consuming process on its own.

There are over 28,000 NGOs in Egypt registered with the Ministry of Insurance and Social Affairs, according to the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP), many of which suffer from a lack of human resources as well as sources of funding.

There are 116 NGOs in Egypt which receive foreign funding valued at a little less than EGP 600 million, according to a government official.

Nihal Nasr el Din, from the Ismailiaya based “Sahm El Theqa” Foundation, a group which works in social development that used to rely on funding from Germany, said foreign countries and international organizations are hesitant to donate to Egyptian NGOs, while they were waiting for the results of the presidential elections.

She said foreign funding going to government ministries and governmental organization has not stopped but “all funding going to NGOs has stopped.

The donors are afraid; they are worried about the safety of their workers.”

Nasr el Din said the uncertainty is caused by the fact there are several draft NGO laws, some of which place stark restraints on NGOs and one which removes those restraints.

Nasr el Din is hoping the Muslim Brotherhood, who opposed the NGO raid, will approve of the proposal presented by members of civil society organisations.

For some the waiting will be too much.

NGOs like the Al Gora Community Development Association have suffered to the point of being forced to close.

Last December, more than 40 people were arrested, in a government-crackdown on NGOs for receiving illegal foreign funding and inciting unrest in what was seen by many human rights and civil society organizations as the government’s attempt to limit freedoms.

The NGOs were violently raided, computers and files were seized.

The NGOs targeted, included pro-democracy and human rights organizations.

Most of the NGOs were Egyptian, but three were American: the National Democratic Institute, the International Republican Institute and Freedom House.

Among the raided NGOs was the Konrad Adenauer Foundation, a social development foundation based in Germany.

In what seems to be a systematic and determined government effort to harass NGOs, in April, 8 US-based NGOs, including the Carter Centre, were denied licenses to operate in Egypt, according to McClatchy Newspapers.

Nasr el Din said the raid was done for political purposes; to keep the NGOs from monitoring the elections.

She said many of the organizations raided had been “working in Egypt for years and had applied for approval from the government but the government never gave them an answer.”

In an unexpected statement earlier this month, former US ambassador to Egypt, Frank Wisner said he thinks the US should quit funding NGOs in Egypt and focus on helping the country economically.

Egyptians have very strong anti-US sentiments. Many blame the US for the current setback the country is suffering from and consider US funding of organizations within Egypt meddling in the country’s affairs and a threat to its sovereignty.

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https://dailynewsegypt.com/2012/06/26/in-egypts-complex-political-environment-ngos-suffer/
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