Ford Foundation Working with Visionaries on the Frontlines of Social Change Worldwide

Middle East and North Africa

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Translating the idea of rights into the practice of rights will help people from all communities in the Middle East and North Africa access opportunity.

The Regional Context

We have been on the ground in the Middle East and North Africa since the early 1950s. Over the years we have supported work to advance democratic and accountable government, fundamental human rights, access to quality higher education, and creative expression. Today, we are strengthening our commitment to these vital areas of work.

Although the past decade has seen economies across the Arab region expand at their strongest rate in generations, this growth has not generated shared prosperity or improved the daily lives of most people. In spite of these challenges, the people of Egypt and the entire region are on the brink of a new era; they hope for inclusive growth and democratic governance that guarantee dignity for all.

Our Goal

The goal of our work is to support inclusive development and empower the marginalized to achieve economic, social and cultural rights.

By supporting public institutions and registered civil society organizations, and by promoting technical assistance for increased government effectiveness, accountability and transparency, we believe that people in the region can overcome social, economic and cultural marginalization.

What We're Doing

The foundation's Cairo office concentrates primarily on Egypt, but also promotes advancement in other parts of the region along with regional networks.

Our work focuses on:

  • Funding efforts to strengthen the rule of law and human rights protection with a focus on key economic and social rights
  • Ensuring that the rights of women and other marginalized people are safeguarded
  • Advancing efforts to improve public health, including HIV/AIDS prevention and reproductive health of young people
  • Promoting cultural preservation and free expression through independent arts and culture initiatives
  • Supporting access to quality higher education opportunities, and promoting higher education reform
  • Advancing efforts to make government more transparent, effective and accountable
  • Building the capacity of key organizations and institutions
  • Facilitating networking and advancing research as the basis for informed debate and policymaking

In fiscal year 2013, the Cairo office made more than $12 million in grants.

Our grant making in the region is pursued through the following initiatives.

Issue Initiative
Democratic and Accountable Government
Gender, Sexuality and Reproductive Justice
Human Rights
Educational Opportunity and Scholarship
Freedom of Expression

Regional Office



  • Noha El-Mikawy
  • Ghada Abdel Tawab
  • Clarisa Bencomo
  • Moushira Elgeziri
  • Laila Hourani


Ford Foundation
P.O. Box 2344
Cairo, Egypt
(+20) 2-2480-3960
(+20) 2-2480-3970

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