Turning Research into Action in the Middle East and North Africa

A speaker at an ICNL-supported workshop on crowdfunding in Morocco, May 2018. One participant concluded that the legalization of crowdfunding “could have a truly positive impact on Morocco’s development.” (Photo credit: ICNL)
A speaker at an ICNL-supported workshop on crowdfunding in Morocco, May 2018. One participant concluded that the legalization of crowdfunding “could have a truly positive impact on Morocco’s development.” (Photo credit: ICNL)

Over the past two years, ICNL has worked with partners to conduct a landmark study of civic freedoms in Morocco, Tunisia, Lebanon, Jordan, and Kuwait. The report crunched data from nearly 4,000 surveys of the public and civil society. The information revealed insights on how people experience civic freedoms in their daily lives.

Moving beyond research, ICNL used these findings to take action. Together with our partners, we took what we learned and developed pilot projects to address some of the challenges that came up in our research.

In Morocco, for example, civil society organizations (CSOs) struggle to secure sustainable funding. The data identified a gap between those who said they were willing to donate to CSOs (54%) and those who do (21%). One reason for this is the country’s legal barriers to local philanthropy. This includes the prohibition of crowdfunding, which is otherwise common in the region. Crowdfunding involves raising small amounts of money from a large number of people, typically over the internet, allowing organizations to easily fundraise online.

Recently, Morocco’s government issued a draft law to legalize crowdfunding. In response, we worked with local partner, the Moroccan Center for Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship (MCISE), to raise awareness about the issue. We held a daylong workshop with CSOs, academia, government, and parliament; provided analysis of the draft law; and helped develop an advocacy strategy for improving the proposed legislation.

Thanks to these efforts, MCISE is ready to push to make crowdfunding a reality in Morocco, laying the groundwork for more sustainable funding in the future.

Published: December 2018

This story is the seventh in a series of stories from our 2017-2018 Annual Report: Strengthening the Fabric of Communities. Each story in the report shows how one of ICNL’s five goals comes to life.