IRI’s Middle East Regional Civic Initiative (MERCI) will support civil society in eight target countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) by strengthening the capacities of nascent and intermediate Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in organizational management, project management, financial management, marketing and outreach, and business development.

Civil Society

While civil society is growing in visibility and importance in the MENA region, its viability is threatened by numerous factors, including limited media access, weak economies, skeptical or hostile governments, and inter and intra state violence. However, despite these challenges, citizens continue to advocate for the needs of their communities. Though their energy and motivation are apparent, many CSOs lack the resources, technical capacity, internal structures, tools, and strategic vision to be the advocates their communities need. IRI will support CSOs in developing their capacities to empower them to serve as conduits for change and advocates for reform in their communities.

Political Inclusion, Gender Equality, and Youth Participation

By supporting CSOs that focus on varying needs in their communities, IRI will contribute to greater political inclusion in the long run for several groups including youth, women, and people with disabilities. In doing so, the MERCI program will contribute to greater gender equality, economic empowerment, and youth engagement in the target countries by strengthening the capacities of CSOs advocating for these changes.

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