Help us create a better Ford Foundation website! Take our “un-survey” now.
Ford Foundation Working with Visionaries on the Frontlines of Social Change Worldwide

Middle East and North Africa

  • LinkedIn
  • Google Plus


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

As the Egyptian uprising unfolded earlier this year, Ford welcomed the democracy movement and its potential to transform the country and the region. While it remains too early to know what the long-term impact of the Arab Spring will be, our work in the region has taken on new vibrancy and urgency.

We have been on the ground in the Middle East and North Africa since the early 1950s. Over the years we have been a continuous source of support for civil society groups working to advance democratic and accountable government, fundamental human rights, voice and participation, and access to higher education. Today, with an even greater focus on Egypt, we are strengthening our commitment to these vital areas of work in support of the courageous people and organizations striving to fulfill the promise of this historic moment.

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. Government services remain inadequate and the legitimacy of the governments themselves is highly contested. Deep-seated discrimination based on gender, age, ethnicity and belief persists. In spite of these challenges, the people of Egypt and the entire region are on the brink of a new era of inclusivity and democracy.

Our Goal

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

By supporting citizen groups and promoting 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 networking.

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 2009, the Cairo office made more than $15 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
  • Montasser Kamal


Ford Foundation
P.O. Box 2344
Cairo, Egypt

+20 2 2795 2121
+20 2 2795 4018

From the Newsroom


Sign Up

Please complete all fields unless marked (optional).

Which of Ford’s Issues interest you? Select all that apply. Please select at least one issue.