March 2, 2017 Print

Egypt has cracked down on non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in recent months, following a new 2016 law that aims “to erase civil society off the socio-political sphere in Egypt,” says human rights activist Fadi al-Qadi. The Egyptian Center for Public Policy Studies (ECPPS) has worked to foster the institutions of civil society in Egypt for the past decade, and has responded to this new crisis by publishing a guide in Arabic for members of Parliament (MPs) about the role that NGOs and other private organizations play in providing crucial services to the Egyptian people.

Titled “MP's Guide For A Free Civil Society,” the new ECPPS publication explains the problems with NGO law as it has developed during recent years, and how current political trends that decommission NGOs and push them out of Egypt are only making things worse.

“In 2014, as the Egyptian government declared a war on the civil society in Egypt issuing laws and decrees that threaten their work and their existence, ECPPS decided to stay open and keep its activities running as before, refusing to bend in the face of difficulties,” the organization explains.

ECPPS has a difficult road ahead, given its own status as a private advocacy organization. It continues its efforts, however, to promote the value of civil society in Egypt through its #FreeNGOsInEgypt social media campaign, which includes articles, photos, and explanatory videos about the role that NGOs play in Egypt (video in Arabic).

The campaign aims to “raise MPs' awareness of the role of civil society, its importance, and the legislations regulating it, as well as the means of legislative support of NGOs,” ECPPS explains. “The guide also aims to clarify the work of civil society, and answer the questions raised about it.”

ECPPS has long been a valued Atlas Network partner. It won a prize in the 2009 Templeton Freedom Awards for its entry in the “Why Am I a Liberal?” essay competition. Mahmoud Farouk, executive director for ECPPS, is a graduate of Atlas Leadership Academy’s Think Tank MBA course and has participated in the Smith Fellowship program.