CIVICUS Civil Society Index

An international action-research project by and for civil society

The Contemporary Jordanian Civil Society: Characteristics, Challenges and Tasks

Posted by civilsocietyindex on March 31, 2011

CIVICUS is pleased to announce the publication of the Civil Society Index Analytical Country Report from Jordan. The Project was implemented through the collaboration of Foundation for the Future, Al-Urdun Al Jadid Research Center (UJRC-Jordan), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and CIVICUS.


The report finds that the political openness which Jordan has seen since 1989, despite fluctuations, has led to a better environment for the growth of CSOs in which they have been able to practice their activities more freely. Increased political openness also bolstered international attention in Jordan’s civil society and granted it important sources of support.

Jordanian civil society has a diverse structure and is mostly independent, both financially and administratively. The majority of civil society reports that it enjoys acceptable infrastructure and communication capacities, with the exception of organisations working in rural and remote areas. In addition, CSOs tend to have capacity to work with the media.

As for weaknesses, the general environment CSOs operate in is seen to be politically conservative and biased in favour of the state playing an interventionist role in civil society’s affairs, which in turn weakens potential for impact. The majority of CSOs have poor practices of leadership turnover and limited financial transparency, while negative perceptions of foreign funding affect public confidence in CSOs. Civil society’s collective capability to launch a dialogue with the state, the private sector and foreign donors is weakened in the absence of a holistic national action strategy. Challenges for civil society have been exacerbated by the recent economic downturn which has exposed some structural weaknesses in Jordan’s economy, bringing high rates of poverty and unemployment, and income inequality particularly affecting women.

Amongst recommendations made by the report are the setting up of a new good governance and leadership institute for civil society; developing incentives to attract people into volunteering, particularly young people and women; prioritising women’s empowerment projects by civil society; and encouraging the study of civil society’s contribution to GDP. They also call on the government to establish an independent commission for Jordanian civil society.

To read the full report, click here


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