Filling the GAPs

Philanthropy Support in the Arab Region


Consultative Meeting on Foundations' Law in the Arab Region - Updates


The Arab Foundations Forum (AFF) in Collaboration with
SAANED for Philanthropy Advisory and
the International Center for Not-for-Profit Law (ICNL)
invites you to attend:

Consultative Meeting on Foundations’ Law in
the Arab Region
On November 25, 2012 in Cairo, Egypt

The Arab region has seen a steady increase in the number of foundations and witnessed increased engagement of corporate philanthropy in support of social/economic initiatives. Arab philanthropists and philanthropic institutions are a natural constituency to engage with policymakers and participate in agenda setting for critical reform issues especially at times as the one we are going through in the Arab region, referred to as the Arab Spring. To leverage and maximize their investments philanthropy institutions and their affiliates should drive self-regulation for better accountability within the sector and use their influence to affect policy making and resource allocation decisions to advocate with governments for more attentiveness to people’s needs and aspirations. However, for such strategy to be effective there has to be engagement to realize more favorable not-for-profit regulations, much lacking in the Arab region. In this respect, the Arab Foundations Forum (AFF) in cooperation with SAANED for Philanthropy Advisory and the International Center for Not-for-Profit Law (ICNL) is planning a one day consultative meeting, held in Cairo on 25 November 2012,  to specifically discuss whether foundations (major component of philanthropic institutions) need a special law to define its role in society and relationship to government or stay included within the existing law for civil society organizations in general. The consultative meeting will be attended by philanthropic leaders from across the Arab region and specifically: Egypt, Iraq, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Jordan, Morocco, Palestine, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen



Update - 2012

September, 2012

Supporting Strategic Philanthrophy in the Arab Region, September 16-18, 2012, Cairo Egypt

Atallah Kuttab represented SAANED in the Arab Foundation Forum Annual Meeting 2012 and moderated the plenary session on "Advocacy for accountability, legal and regulatory reform". 

Arab philanthropists are a natural constituency to engage with policy makers and participate in agenda setting for critical reform issues. To leverage and maximize their investments, Arab philanthropists should drive self-regulation and accountability within the sector and can use their influence to affect policy-making and resource allocation decisions to compel governments to be more attentive to people's needs and aspirations. The session explored different advocacy tools that are currently available to Arab philanthropists to engage strategically with policymakers, focusing on advocacy for a more enabling legal landscape and the development of civil society laws that comply with international standards. Experience from Africa was shared during the session. 

Speakers included:

Ms. Muna Zulficar, Attorney at law and Chairperson, Al Tadamun Microfinance Foundation, and EFG Hermes Foundation for Social Development, Egypt

Mr. Kareem Elbayar, Legal Advisor - Middle East/North Africa, The International Center for Non-For-Profit-Law (ICNL), Jordan

Mr. Baay Smith, Independent Consultant: Development and Philanthrophy, Citizen Smith Consulting, South Africa


June, 2012

Takaful 2012, On Arab Philanthropy and Civil Engagement,  Gerhart Center, American University of Cairo, 10-12 June, 2012

Atallah Kuttab represented SAANED in the Takaful 2012 on Arab Philanthropy and Civil Engagement convened by teh gerhart Center at the American University of Cairo.  He presented a paper titled “Accountability and Transparency within the Philanthropy and Grant-Making Sector” . The paper reported on a meeting convened by SAANED. SAANED for Philanthropy Advisory, registered in Jordan and aiming at growing Arab philanthropy, convened a meeting in Amman in December 2011 which was attended by more than twenty leaders from the philanthropy, foundation and grant-maker sector in the Arab region to discuss how to drive more accountability and transparency within our sector. Such measures will improve the profession, enhance credibility and transparency which will enhance the negotiating power of power with government to come up with better regulatory structures including relevant laws, tax breaks and more enabling environment in general. The meeting was attended by representatives from Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, and United Arab Emirates. 

The paper presented the key outputs from the meeting summarized in the following:

  • The main factors related to accountability and transparency
  • The framework for analyzing organizations and what makes a good organization whether foundation, corporate philanthropy or grant-maker.
  • The legal environment for the philanthropy sector
  • The main factors allowing measurement of grantee/grantor relationship. 

See further details in:


EFC meeting in Belfast,  5-8 June,  2012

Atallah Kuttab moderated a session titled: Local philanthropy and a peaceful transition to economic and social justice in the Arab region

The people's movements of 2011 across the Arab region, known as the Arab Spring, have signaled the importance of dignity, participation and justice in rebuilding a new social and economic order. Despite very different trajectories, each country is experiencing an outpouring of citizen initiatives and creativity to meet those goals in a peaceful manner. One of the spontaneous areas of innovation has been around local philanthropy in the context of community solidarity and increased awareness of the private sector for social responsibility. In this session, a variety of perspectives from Arab countries in transition will be presented as the catalysts for a dialogue on local-global collaboration. Rather than seeking ready-made solutions, a collaborative framework will be presented in which to examine ways that all partners in this collaboration will benefit from a broader international exchange of experience and working partnerships. The emphasis will be on practical steps and frameworks that might lead to fruitful projects over the coming months.

Moderator: Atallah Kuttab, SAANED for Philanthropy Advisory


  • Manal Omar, United States Institute of Peace
  • Joachim Rogall, Robert Bosch Stiftung


March- June, 2012

CIDA- GSF Knowledge sharing sessions

Saaned, represented by Ebba Augustin, in cooperation with the Gender Social Fund, CIDA/Jordan,  conducted four knowledge sharing sessions  over a period of four month on a variety of gender related topics. The meetings were held in Columbia University, Middle East  Research Center in Amman and brought together a diverse group of stakeholders from civil society organizations to donors, government agencies, research institutions and universities.

During its past years of operation, the Gender and Social Fund has introduced topics of work and approaches to promoting gender equality that were rather new. This has revealed the importance of some of these overlooked issues and the need for endorsing more creativity in working on gender issues

The knowledge sharing sessions are designed to encouraged its partners to reflect on their lessons learnt and highlight their stories. The sessions were designed to allow the GSF to reflect on its own lessons learnt in selected topics as well as working approaches that were unique and or reaped unexpected results and findings.

In addition to promoting knowledge exchange GSF intended the knowledge sharing sessions to challenge some of the development notions from a gender perceptive using some of the GSF projects.  GSF believed that in sharing lessons learnt it will create a platform for stakeholders to engage in a constructive reflection process of gender issues and working processes.  Such a reflection may lead to not only  promoting new approaches to working towards gender equality but also challenging the overarching development approach that can also help advance women status strategically in Jordan. 

The four sessions covered the following topics:

  • Governance and gender equality within non for profit organizations;
  • Women’s economic participation with focus on challenged income generating business managed by NGOs
  • Diversifying approaches to promote awareness of gender equality: discussing new approaches that help promote gender equality and women advancement e.g. using arts, sports, theater, psycho-social etc.
  • Gender research

Conceptualization and moderation: Ebba Augustin 


Document with summary of findings and conclusions (English & Arabic):

GSF Knoweldge Sharing - Brief Arabic

GSF knowledge sessions - brief


May, 2012

Council on Foundation 2012 Annual Conference, April 29 - May 1, 2012, Los Angeles

Atallah Kuttab represented SAANED at the Council on Foundations 2012 Annual Conference April 29 – May 1, 2012 in Los Angeles. He presented in the session titled “Global Philanthropy Leadership Initiative: Update and Action”. “For the past several years, foundation leaders have been working together as part of the Global Philanthropy Leadership Initiative (GPLI). Come hear an update on the GPLI and learn how members plan to reduce legal and regulatory barriers to cross-border philanthropy, increase collaborations between philanthropies, and identify opportunities to engage with governments and multilateral institutions.” Atallah as part of GPLI since its inception in Rome in 2009, presented the work of the task force on collaboration supporting the Arab Spring in North Africa.