Regional: MENA 2021

Solidarity Center (SC)

Worker Resilience Through Independent Unions


To strengthen the ability of workers in the Middle East and North Africa to collectively defend their rights and advocate for their needs through independent unions, the Center will support a labor rights oriented CSO through a subaward to train unionists on expanding social protections for workers, particularly women and workers in the informal sector, and using legal channels to ensure access to such protections for workers; train independent union leaders on improving their internal capacity to represent workers and defend their rights; and train women to take on leadership within union structures to influence their unions to advocate for the specific needs of working women. The Center will also support the participation of two representatives in a regional convening they are hosting on the need for a new social contract for workers post COVID-19.


Solidarity Center (SC)

Building Worker and Trade Union Power to Influence Sustainable Democratic Change


To continue to strengthen the power and effectiveness of trade unions to represent workers and to promote democracy and social and economic justice. The Center will broaden and strengthen the capacity of trade unions in Morocco, Tunisia, and Algeria to advance worker rights and freedom of association through worker organizing, collective bargaining, and advocacy campaigns. Activities include capacity building programs on organizing, occupational safety and health and collective bargaining for unions in the call center, agriculture, and municipal sectors in Tunisia. In Morocco, the Center will implement activities in the hospitality and garment sectors to sustain and strengthen union structures and will continue its program with the largest teachers’ union, advocating for education reform. In Tunisia, the Center will work with Tunisian General Labor Union (UGTT) to promote transparency in the tax system, as a basis to facilitate monitoring of revenue and state budget allocations and will enhance the knowledge of key stakeholders on the gaps between national legislation and content of ILO Convention 190 on violence and harassment, to conclude the campaign for C190 ratification. In Algeria, the Center will meet with Algerian General Labor Union (UGTA), independent unions and CSOs to determine partners and future program priorities.


Solidarity Center (SC)

Promoting Unions as Defenders of Workers During the COVID 19 Pandemic


To restore workers confidence in the Palestinian labor movement and unify independent unions and CSOs in Jordan to defend Freedom of Association (FOA), the Center will strengthen the capacity of local Palestinian unions , support a worker-led campaign on the minimum wage, and integrate youth into the labor movement. In Jordan, the Center will bring together unions and CSOs to advocate for legal reform to improve FOA. In both countries, the Center will support expansion of media use to promote worker rights and unions.


International Republican Institute (IRI)

PACE: Promoting Accountability through Community Engagement


To empower democratic reformers to advance democratic governance in Jordan, Tunisia and Morocco, the Institute will leverage Open Government Partnership action plans that each national government has committed to implementing and engage with local level activists to ensure wider public awareness of these reform commitments and provide further accountability for achieving the action plan goals.


National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI)

Channeling Popular Energy Into Effective Political Participation


To improve the ability of changemakers in MENA to identify and adapt strategies for channeling popular energy for political change into meaningful and sustainable reform, the Institute will identify and support reformers from across the MENA region to engage in cross-regional dialogues and distill lessons that encourage greater political engagement and more effective reform advocacy. This program will provide reformers with opportunities for skills-building and peer-learning as well as resources, including tailored public opinion data and comparative experiences from a broad range of partners outside of the region, to better recognize and pursue various avenues for constructive change within their individual contexts.


Solidarity Center (SC)

Overcoming Barriers To Women’s Participation in the Labor Market


To reduce the obstacles and difficulties that women workers face in joining and maintaining employment in the private sector labor market in Tunisia and Palestine, the Center will support the tourism union in Tunisia to identify obstacles to decent employment for women and participation in the labor market; implement a campaign based on recommendations for addressing these obstacles; and engage with employers and government officials in tripartite social dialogue to secure commitment for improving decent work opportunities in the sector for women. In Palestine, the Center will provide a subaward to the Women and Media Development Association (TAM) to work with the PGFTU and its affiliates to implement a campaign focused on eradicating gender-based violence and harassment in the world of work and to implement a campaign to reform the labor law in ways that address identified barriers to women’s participation in the labor market and facilitate increased participation.


Arab Association for Constitutional Law

Enhancing Constitutional Law


To strengthen expertise on rule of law and constitutional governance and better prepare scholars and practitioners to engage in constitutional reforms; and to stimulate and contribute to national and regional debates on constitutional reforms. The grantee will hold its annual academy for constitutional and rule of law scholars, jurists, policy and decision-makers from the MENA region. The grantee will mentor participants before and after the academy as they develop policy papers and lead activities in their home countries to promote their policy recommendations. The organization is a membership network of constitutional experts from across the MENA region. With its international, regional and institutional relationships and expertise, it is well-placed to provide timely and relevant guidance for future jurists to affect democratic change.


Democratic Transition and Human Rights Support Center

Research and Monitoring of Constitutions, Legislation and Policy in Democratic Transitions


To strengthen a political, cultural and legislative environment supportive of democracy; and to contribute to the production of and access to knowledge on democratic transformation. The grantee will engage diverse civic and political actors from Egypt, Libya and Tunisia at both the national and regional levels to review, assess and make policy recommendations. The focus over the next two years will be on internet freedoms and digital access to information and their impact on democratic transitions. The grantee will continue to develop its electronic platform on democratic transitions and produce annual reports. The organization   has developed a strong online infrastructure for monitoring political transitions in the MENA region and its staff include researchers with expertise on these topics.


Arab Watch Coalition

Empowering Civil Society to Promote Accountability of Development Initiatives


To strengthen civil society groups’ ability to monitor development projects, contribute to shaping development plans in their countries, and hold their governments accountable. The grantee will develop the institutional capacity of the coalition it represents, provide technical support to its coalition members in the region, strengthen collaboration among members, produce and disseminate information and analysis on the activities and policies of International Finance Institutions (IFIs), and facilitate engagement with IFIs. The organization is dedicated to enhancing local civil society engagement and accountability in the design and implementation of IFI-funded development programs.


Arab Alternatives Forum for Social Studies

Youth Socioeconomic Rights Researchers’ Network


To create a cohort of youth leaders to support good governance in public policy related to socioeconomic rights, derive lessons learned from political transitions and generate new ideas for socioeconomic policy in the Middle East and North Africa. The project will support young researchers from countries that have experienced political transitions over the past decade by improving their analytical skills, facilitating an exchange of experiences, and working with them to develop actionable policy recommendations related to socioeconomic policy to build on successes and avoid failures in the ten years since the Arab Spring uprisings. Established in 2008, the organization is a regional think tank that promotes evidence-based research to address political, social and economic developments within the framework of fundamental democratic values, good governance and respect for human rights.


Euro-Mediterranean Foundation of Support to Human Rights Defenders

Protecting Human Rights Defenders
Public Summary: To protect and assist at-risk Egyptian, Libyan, Syrian and Algerian human rights defenders, and to help sustain their activities through facilitating engagement and coordination with other human rights stakeholders at the national, regional and international levels. The grantee will direct rapid and flexible financial assistance to human rights defenders and provide coordination and coaching services to ensure medium and long-term sustainability of their activities.


The Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy

Policy Fellowships


To support and amplify the voices of thought leaders from the MENA region on critical issues related to democratic development. The program will host nonresidential fellowships for researchers, scholars, and activists from the region. The fellows will develop their research and writing skills and contribute analyses on issues related to democratic development. The organization will also host a convening of regional human rights lawyers to enhance their skills and contribute to policy discussions on the state of human rights law in the region.


Common Space for Enlightened Educators

Fostering Pluralism through Educators Network


To support a regional platform for educators to amplify counter-extremist narratives rooted in Muslim values and traditions in the Middle East and North Africa region. The grantee will strengthen the impact of educational and cultural initiatives in the region that provide pluralist civic narratives and work with partner organizations at the local level.


Civic Space Institute

Virtual Civil Society Academy and Mentorship Program


To support knowledge sharing and exchange of best practices among civil society activists. Through online courses, monthly discussions, and a civic engagement competition for civil society leaders, activists, practitioners and academics throughout the MENA region, the grantee will educate participants on standards of good governance and hold a civic engagement challenge that allows participants to apply the skills learned during the courses to real world scenarios.


One World Information Service

Promoting Understanding of Kleptocracy and its Impact on Democracy


To promote understanding of the tools, mechanisms, and impact on democracy of kleptocratic behavior in the MENA region and to encourage collaboration between Arabic-speaking journalists and media professionals working on corruption and kleptocracy with international experts and organizations. The project will support the production of six videos defining kleptocracy, the ways in which it manifests, and its impact on public attitudes. Four seminars will encourage Arabic-speaking journalists to increase media coverage of kleptocracy.


Andalus Institute for Tolerance and Anti-Violence Studies

Online Academy for Promoting Accountability


To strengthen civil society groups’ ability to monitor political processes and media using technology and to support the development of watchdog groups in the region. The organization will continue delivering its digital accountability training including its budget and financial accountability modules, offer several rounds of its online course on accountability to civil society activists, and facilitate internships for top trainees.


Al Chabaka Al Arabia

Civic Space Watch


To expand opportunities for regional collaboration and strengthen coordinated advocacy to protect and defend civic space. The project will maintain and expand its regional Civic Space Watch (CSW) platform, provide opportunities for contributors to interact and share knowledge, and draft reports on the status of civic space in the region. It will issue regional and country reports that highlight shifting policies and developments impacting freedom of association.


Federation Euro-Mediterraneenne Contre les Disparitions Forcees

Promoting Transitional Justice Measures


To promote accountability for human rights violations by strengthening documentation and investigation practices regarding enforced disappearances. The program will build the capacity of regional civil society organizations in documentation and advocacy, best practices in forensics for evidence collection, and working with families of the disappeared. It will also conduct advocacy meetings with partners and international agencies to promote the adoption of the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance.


Collective For Research and Training on Development – Action

Strengthening Women’s Political Engagement


To identify and overcome barriers to women’s political participation at the local level and in professional associations. The organization and partners in Lebanon, Palestine, and Tunisia will identify existing barriers to young women’s political engagement in the region and draft strategies to increase their participation in electoral processes for local and professional association elections. The project will prioritize knowledge sharing between women from different age groups and different MENA countries.


Daraj Media

Amplifying the Impact of Investigative Journalism


To stimulate public dialogue around findings from investigations conducted by journalists in the MENA region. The organization will produce a weekly video podcast highlighting issues raised in investigations conducted by independent media outlets to increase public awareness of investigations’ findings after initial media coverage fades. This in-depth coverage will increase public demand for transparency and accountability on matters including corruption, mismanagement, and human rights.


Arab Reporters for Investigative Journalism (ARIJ)

Best Practices in Investigative Journalism


To strengthen investigative journalism by exposing journalists to best practices. A seven-month residential fellowship program at the organization will provide mentorship to journalists as they work on in-depth investigative projects. The organization will also hold virtual workshops on advanced investigative techniques and fellows will conduct investigations related to accountability and transparency in MENA countries.