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NCVO to work with partners to deliver support to civil society in North Africa

With the support of the UK Government's Arab Partnership Fund, the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) has today launched ‘Building Bridges’ project to strengthen civil society in North Africa.

The £350,000 project will deliver capacity building to civil society organisations in the region over the next three years. Training will cover a range of areas including good governance, advocacy and network building and will be developed in close partnership with local groups.

Following the Arab Spring, the UK Government set out plans to support the people of the region as they look to build more stable, prosperous and inclusive societies. This new project will strengthen civil society networks in emerging democracies in North Africa as part of this wider strategic commitment by the UK Government, sustaining crucial political and economic reform providing expertise to the new Governments and local organisations, as they implement their plans for restructuring public institutions and strengthen processes for an open plural political system.

The "Building Bridges" project will deliver tailored training and support for a cross-section of emerging civil society organisations in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya, reaching hundreds of citizens per country. NCVO will work with local partners through the Arab NGO Network for Development and connect this learning to global partners through CIVICUS: The World Alliance for Citizen Participation.

In each country, the project will concentrate on three core themes: improving standards of governance, capacity and management; facilitating collective advocacy to government and international donors; and developing detailed frameworks for participation and structured policy-making with their respective governments. There will be a particular focus on organisations which support work with young people, women, human rights and social inclusion.

Sir Stuart Etherington, Chief Executive of NCVO, said:

“During the recent upheaval in the region many groups emerged out of the chaos, providing food and medical assistance to those in need. The challenge now is to help these groups consolidate their work and put the right structures in place so that civil society can help shape the fledgling democratisation process.

“We are delighted to be involved in this exciting and significant international project. Civil society networks have real value to add and a crucial role in emerging democracies, and this project will support organisations to build their skills, share best practice and grow stronger together.”

For further information please contact

NCVO: Oli Henman, Head of EU & International Team: 020 7520 2550

FCO: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Notes to Editors

The project is valued at approximately £350,000 over three years and is funded by the UK Government's Arab Partnership Fund a multi year, multi-faceted initiative of support to countries in the Middle East and North Africa. The Arab Partnership Initiative is leading the UK Government’s strategic response to the Arab Spring. Visit the Arab Partnership pages on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website to find out more about this programme and how you can get involved.

NCVO’s EU and International Team have longstanding experience of working on international projects including democratic transition in Eastern Europe, and charity law reform in Japan.

The National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) is the umbrella body for the voluntary sector in England, with sister councils in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. NCVO has over 8,400 members, ranging from large national bodies to community groups, volunteer centres, and development agencies working at a local level. With over 280,000 staff and over 13 million volunteers working for our members, we represent and support almost half the voluntary sector workforce.

NCVO is delivering the project in partnership with:

Arab NGO Network for Development (ANND).

CIVICUS: the World Alliance for Citizen Participation.

For further information please contact Oli Henman, Head of EU & International Team: 020 7520 2550

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