In Egypt, a funding crisis among local NGOs

A local guide looks over the city of Cairo. Nongovernmental organizations in Egypt have reported losing foreign funding. Photo by: Yuen Ping / CC BY-NC-SA

Egyptian nongovernmental organizations have reported losing foreign funding, and they think the government crackdown on pro-democracy Western NGOs has something to do with it.

According to NGO executives and experts in Egypt, the government’s backlash against foreign democracy groups has extended to other organizations, even if they are nonpolitical or work solely to deliver humanitarian assistance.

Some organizations that used to receive grants from certain agencies are now being turned away apparently because these agencies fear being accused of providing “illegal support” to NGOs. A few have closed down, like Al Gora Community Development Association, which served thousands of Bedouin in the Sinai Peninsula.

“The government should know that we have nothing to do with politics,” Bakr Suweilam, head of Al Gora Community Development Association, told New America Media. “We only help the needy, the deprived, and the people [forgotten by] the government.”

The Egyptian government has affirmed that while it has restricted funding sourced externally, it is quick to extend monetary support to local NGOs. The social insurance ministry has noted that the government provided around $8.3 million to these groups in 2011.

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    Eliza Villarino

    Eliza Villarino currently manages one of today’s leading publications on humanitarian aid, global health and international development, the weekly GDB. At Devex, she has helped grow a global newsroom, with talented journalists from major development hubs such as Washington, D.C, London and Brussels. She regularly writes about innovations in global development.