Inequality is a global reality, and the countries of the Middle East and North Africa are no exception. Widespread social and economic inequality has only deepened in recent decades, with many people living in intolerable conditions and in fragmented or polarized societies. In a region where the majority is under the age of 35 and most economies struggle to create enough decent jobs with social protection for all, young people are hit the hardest. Women, people living with disabilities, and refugees fleeing conflict also face barriers to reaching their full potential.
In recent years, we have seen a number of promising developments. Universal rights have been protected by constitutions. States have prioritized job creation and social services. The region’s civil society, including the vivacious arts and culture community, has advanced inclusion and civic participation. Together, with the growth of community foundations, social entrepreneurship, and philanthropy, these developments offer much to build upon.
Across the region, we support government efforts to tackle inequality by strengthening social protection coverage for informal, temporary, and self-employed workers, with a focus on women and people with disabilities. We also support civil society and advancing knowledge that informs policy dialogue on sustainable and equitable solutions for social protection.
We believe that, despite the profound challenges the region faces, justice is possible by investing in the vibrancy and resilience of its people.
Read about our multiyear BUILD grants to strengthen civil society in the region.