Due to COVID-19 and in accordance with local health guidelines, the Ford Foundation offices in Cairo are physically closed until further notice.
Ford Foundation staff are working remotely in this dynamic and unprecedented situation. We are committed to protecting the health and safety of our staff and their families, grantees, partners, and visitors, while we continue to support vital programs, organizations and communities working to address inequality around the globe.
Inequality is a global reality, and the countries of the Middle East and North Africa are no exception. Widespread social and economic inequality has only deepened in recent decades, with many people living in intolerable conditions and in fragmented or polarized societies. Modern glass and steel towers, billboards with unaffordable products, and gated communities coexist with extreme poverty. In a region where the majority is under the age of 35 and most economies struggle to create enough decent jobs with social protection for all, young people are hit the hardest. Young women and refugees fleeing conflict face additional barriers to reaching their full potential.
Recent years have seen a number of promising developments. A number of countries in the region have new constitutions that uphold universal rights. The region’s civil society, including the vivacious arts and culture community, advance the promise of more inclusion. Alongside efforts to create jobs and provide social services, the public is increasingly engaged in finding ways to ensure social protection and strengthen civic participation. Together with the growth of community foundations, social entrepreneurship, and philanthropy, these developments offer much to build upon.
We believe that, despite the profound challenges the region faces, inequality can be tackled by investing in the vibrancy and resilience of the region’s people.
The foundation's work in the region, including in Egypt, supports government and civil society efforts to strengthen social protection coverage for informal, temporary, and self-employed workers, with a focus on women and people with disabilities. We also support the production of knowledge in civil society and academia that informs policy dialogues on sustainable and equitable social protection solutions.
Read about our multiyear BUILD grants to strengthen civil society in the MENA region.