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Accepted Paper:

‘Foreign Fund Approval’: the Administrative Quest for local NGOs in Jordan  
Alexandrine Dupras (University of Geneva)

Paper short abstract:

Since the mid-1990s, middle- and low-income countries have restricted the incoming of foreign funding through laws, hoping to safeguard their state sovereignty. This paper dives into the daily work of local NGOs in Jordan to understand how these restrictive laws shape their organizational practices.

Paper long abstract:

Since the mid-1990s, there is a trend among middle- and low-income countries to pass restrictive laws related to foreign funding. Hoping to safeguard their state sovereignty, governments recipient of aid have increasingly legislated on how flows of funding coming from abroad can be allocated and administered. Consequently, these laws and regulations impact NGOs/CSOs’ autonomy and financial sustainability. Indeed, following the adoption of these national laws, the flow of funding incoming stagnates or even tends to reduce.

Taking the case of Jordan, this paper dives into the daily experience of NGOs/CSOs. Mobilizing interactionist organizational theories, it seeks to understand how these restrictive laws shape their work and practices. This research rests on participant observation within two local Jordanian NGOs, combined with 37 interviews with key stakeholders.

In Jordan, these restrictive laws take shape through several types of medium, such as administrative restrictions, and bureaucratic procedures for instance. The result of that is a patchwork of formal and informal rules and mechanisms that NGOs/CSOs must navigate. Depending on international funding, Jordanian NGOs/CSOs must abide to the regulatory system.

First, in this paper, I outline the intricacies of the different mechanism NGOs/CSOs go through, depending on their type of registration (international or local). It gives an insight into the “administrative capital” NGOs/CSOs gain through repetitive experiences. Second, I show how these control mechanisms shape their organizational decisions and orientate their work.

Panel P22
Barriers to NGOs and CSOs: the current crises of environment and development ( NGOs in development Study Group)
  Session 1 Thursday 29 June, 2023, -