Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

NGOs and Community Organizations in Iran

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

NGOs and Community Organizations in Iran

Article excerpt

NGOs AND COMMUNITY ORGANIZATIONS IN IRAN

Iranians "are trying to make up for lost years," and have "a tremendous thirst for knowledge and contact with the outside world," according to Baquer Namazi, who recently completed a Ford Foundation study of community organizations and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Iran.

Speaking at the Middle East Institute in Washington, DC on July 19, he provided some statistics that reflect positively on Iran. There has been a decrease in population growth, 97 percent of school-age children are in school, 80 percent of Iranians are literate, 95 percent have access to clean water, and 85 percent have access to health care.

Discussing independent, non-governmental, non-profit organizations, Namazi noted that there are two distinct classes of NGOs in Iran, the traditional and the modern. Noting that the exact number of NGOs operating in Iran is hard to measure, he estimated the total to be between 1,000 to 1,500 including Muslim, Jewish, Christian and Zoroastrian NGOs.

According to Namazi, the traditional NGOs are organizations such as charities, while the modern NGOs tend to deal more with development and respond more to international trends than do traditional NGOs. …

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