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Accepted Paper:

Covid19 and Civil Society Organisations’ Shifts and Challenges in MENA  

Author:

Ibrahim Natil (Dublin City University)

Paper short abstract:

This paper investigates the shifts and challenges facing the civil society organisations’ (CSOs) in their scope of work, operations and missions in Libya, Palestine and Lebanon during the Pandemic Covid-19.

Paper long abstract:

This paper investigates the shifts and challenged, which have already faced the civil society organisations’ (CSOs) in their scope of work, operations and missions in Libya, Palestine and Lebanon during the Pandemic Covid-19. The mounting pressures impacted on the everyday work of the CSOs and the shifts and challenges they underwent form the crux of the paper. This paper will examine at least three different CSOs from Libya, Lebanon and Palestine to identify the differences among three cultural contexts, political environment and social dynamics to understand these shifts and challenges. For example, Libyan, Lebanese and Palestinian societies have been enduring very severe circumstances, owing to economic deteriorations, the absence of reconciliation, violence and divisions. These circumstances have already created barriers to effective CSOs. This paper will focus on the political, social and funding shifts and barriers to CSOs in the field of civic engagement and social change based on active grassroots 'participatory democracy'. Hilmer (2010), Aragones and Sánchez­Pagés (2009) discuss the definition and concept of participatory democracy where active citizens have the power to decide on change of their future.

The central argument in my investigation of this main question is contrary to wide assumptions that CSOs in unstable circumstances and divided societies have no room or power to influence society and become engaged in the development of their society or support active participation enduring uncertainty and shifts.

Panel P05b
Learning from unprecedented times: NGOs and CSOs through the COVID-19 pandemic (NGOs in Development Study Group) II