Friday, April 01, 2005

Iraq's Hope: The Voluntary Sector

For democracy to exist in Iraq, there must be a vibrant civil society committed to democratic norms while demanding accountability and representation from the elected leadership. The Western left's responsibility is to give as much resources and solidarity as possible to those putting their lives on the line for what we take for granted.

Below you'll find the mission statement of the NGO Association, a civil-society umbrella group ostensibly fighting for all the right things in Iraq.

Welcome to the NGO Association
“Grass-root civil society at work”

We are an Iraqi umbrella group of 36 plus local NGOs that have come together to share-information, build partnerships and instil confidence in each other. After more than eighteen months, many Associations have come and withered away after failing to be participatory.

The NGO Association prides itself on its democratic structure. Being local, democratic and grass-root has been the key to its continued success.

The NGOs represented vary in size, scope and specialisation. We have an open process for membership as stipulated in our Articles of Association.

Iraqi NGOs: the backbone of Iraq’s emerging grass-root democracy

In the present crisis of insecurity, distrust and lack of information, the NGO Association stands to build the appropriate legitimacy that is acting as one of the major constraints on the NGO sector in Iraq.

Building a better future can only come about when key stakeholders in society work together. It is for this reason that the NGO Association - a group of local Iraqi NGOs - have come together for the common good of the voluntary sector in Iraq.

The NGO Association is also national co-ordinating body that stands to build a new local Iraqi democracy shaped by Iraqi NGOs and other key stakeholders. Our institutional belief - to see a healthy and vibrant civil society emerge and flourish in Iraq and be a model for the rest of the Middle East - rests on our key principles to never bow down, never give up and never sell out.

This website will soon be a portal for Iraqi NGOs and a platform for grass-root voices as well as host a number of other services.