Civil Society Development


Civil Society Development

In dealing intensely with projects related to social and economic development of different communities, AGFUND realized that setting Arab development on the right track, requires as well, the activation of a third existing sector which is : The Civil Society.

Civil societies work mainly in coordination with governments through collective action based on voluntary civic and social support. They focus their actions around shared interests, purposes and values, regardless of their State's political system or commercial institutions.  Civil society development organizations are non-governmental organizations NGO’s, or community groups, or women's organizations, or business associations, or coalitions etc…

AGFUND was aware of the reality that civil society is the right-hand of governments in most actions and measures taken to achieve the social progress of a nation. Through engagement in projects, civil societies seeks to mobilize inactive economic assets and human resources by attracting NGO’s or organizations in the achievement of projects that put an end to need and deprivation. This makes easier the achievement of social justice, combating poverty, encouragement of humanitarian works, as well as on the back-up of cultural, environmental, social, educational, and illiteracy initiatives.

Since NGOs are vital pillars and prop of the civil society because they target basically to improve life conditions of women and families, AGFUND chosen to engage them as partners.  It also continues to carry on efforts to improve their experiences by supporting their legal and humanitarian initiatives in the development process.

Arab Network for NGOs


Increasing civil works and strengthening their roles and functions to serve civil societies, are among the goals sought by AGFUND’s projects. Working to that end, AGFUND created an institutional structure that is inclusive of those organizations, The Arab Network for NGOs. This is a regional non-governmental and non-profit organization based in Cairo, that was first announced in 1998, but officially launched in 2002. The Board of Trustees is chaired by HRH Prince Talal bin Abdul Aziz, President of AGFUND.

When AGFUND established the Arab Network for NGOs as an all-inclusive structure for NGOs, the initiative represented a leap forward in favor of non-governmental participation of Arab nations’ NGOs. Indeed, the network which emerged as a result of organized civil efforts that started in the nineties, made a significant transformation in the Arab world, at the onset of the new millennium.

Some stakeholders have asserted that underlying the consolidation of the role of Arab NGOs are deep insights and good calculations to the future that were earlier foreseen by AGFUND. A short while after AGFUND's experience of acknowledging NGOs as partners, a world vision emerged calling for the necessity of supporting NGOs and strengthening them in developing societies. It achieved many gains for civil work initiatives which AGFUND had always predicted. Such a vision was in addition embodied in new trends and policies adopted by UN organizations.

The following are several supporting organizations: AGFUND, OPEC Fund, Islamic Development Bank, European Union, the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development, in addition to other universal organizations.

Objectives of the Arab Network

The major objectives of this Network is to contribute to strengthening relations of cooperation among adherents and to strengthen the interaction between Arab Unions and NGO's. Both were engaged in sustainable human development by:

-      contributing in their capacity-building,

-     developing Arab non-official actions,

-     training staff and volunteers of Arab NGO's in areas related to administrative development and institutional structure and know-how

-     instructing Arab trainers  

-     conducting research geared towards understanding of Arab non-official action

-     activating NGO’s legal role in development,

-     contributing in building specialized databases on Arab NGO's.

Moreover, the Network publishes a periodical entitled "Al Mazalah", i.e. (the Umbrella), designed to communicate knowledge and information related to the development of non-official action, and on networking and communication among Arab NGO's.

Network members


Reports, studies and researches


Supporting organizations

836 associations* 641 members

-74 training workshops (1893 participants)
- 4 projects

- 8 reports ***
- 23 research studies ****
- 45 Mazalah issues

- 72 international conferences
- 3 Arab conferences
- 11 symposiums

AGFUND, OPEC Fund, Islamic Development Bank, European Union, the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development, in addition to other organizations

  • Jordan 356, United Arab Emirates 11, Bahrain 40, Tunisia 59, Algeria 21, Djibouti 1, Saudi Arabia 27, Sudan 72, Syria 80, Palestine 177, Qatar 21, Iraq 24, Oman 3, Kuwait 111, Libya 18, Morocco 39, Egypt 172, Mauritania 11, Yemen 47.
  • Development Groups Project (5 countries), to measure the effectiveness of NGO's performance, establish an information technology consortium, capacity-building project.
  • Arab NGO's 2001, 2002, fighting poverty and contributing in development, empowerment of women, partnership-building to meet the challenges of development, youth in civil society, children in civil society, environmental issues in Arab civil society.
  • Studies covered the different areas where civil society is active as well as developing awareness of the importance of that sector