Empowering Civil Society Organizations in the MENA Region: The Policy Advocacy Design Mentorship Phase


In the MENA region, civil society organizations (CSOs) play a vital role in advocating for social change and promoting human rights. However, many CSOs face challenges such as limited resources and a lack of expertise in developing effective advocacy campaigns. To address this gap, In partnership with Local partner in Morocco SimSim-Participation Citoyenne organized the Policy Advocacy Design Mentorship Phase. This program aimed to support CSOs in the MENA region by providing mentorship, training, and funding to develop and implement impactful advocacy campaigns. Let’s delve into the program and its significance.

Closing the Gap in Support for CSOs:
Prior to the Policy Advocacy Design Mentorship Phase, there was a noticeable gap in the support provided to CSOs in the MENA region. Many organizations did not have the necessary resources and expertise to plan and execute a successful advocacy campaigns. Furthermore, the closing of civic spaces and restrictions on freedom of expression posed additional challenges. This program sought to address these issues by offering mentorship, training, and funding to enable CSOs to advocate for change effectively.

Mentorship, Training, and Funding:
The program consisted of three sessions that focused on equipping CSOs with the necessary skills and knowledge to develop their advocacy plans. Through mentorship and training, CSOs received guidance in problem statement formulation, defining objectives, designing outputs, and ensuring sustainability. The final session provided an opportunity for CSOs to present their proposals to a jury committee, who evaluated them based on various criteria. Two subgrantees were selected based on their proposals, one advocating for the cancellation of article 222 of the penal code and the other advocating for the amendment of the Family Code in Morocco.

Promoting Gender Equality and Protecting Individual Liberties:
The subgrantees were awarded funding to implement their campaigns, with a focus on promoting gender equality and protecting individual liberties in the MENA region. These critical issues are at the forefront of social change, and the selected CSOs demonstrated a commitment to addressing them. By supporting these advocacy campaigns, the program aimed to empower CSOs to actively participate in shaping a more inclusive and equitable society.

The Importance of Widening Civic Space:
One of the key emphases of the program was on protecting and opening civic space in the MENA region. Civil society organizations face numerous challenges, including restrictive laws, regulations, and limited funding opportunities. By advocating for the protection of civic space, the program recognized the fundamental role that CSOs play in promoting democracy, human rights, and social justice. It sought to create an enabling environment where CSOs can freely express their views, mobilize communities, and effect positive change.

The Policy Advocacy Design Mentorship Phase marked a significant step towards empowering CSOs in the MENA region. By providing mentorship, training, and funding, the program equipped CSOs with the necessary tools to develop and implement impactful advocacy campaigns. The selected subgrantees focusing on gender equality and individual liberties reflect the program’s commitment to promoting social change. Moving forward, it is essential to continue supporting and amplifying the voices of CSOs in the MENA region, ensuring an enabling environment for their vital work. Together, we can strive towards a more inclusive and equitable society in the MENA region.