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A short note on NGOs in Iran

1/22/03 By Syma Sayyah, Tehran

Doing a good deed and helping your fellow-man, either individually or as group or community, has a long tradition in Iran. Recent times have seen the emergence of a more formal type of help in the shape of Non-Governmental Organizations or NGOs. One major difference between the old and new is that there are more young people involved in the NGOs, whereas the older version of systematic help would have been run, say, by the parents of such young people,

The NGOs are involved in many different fields of activity including women, the environment, children wellbeing, and training. Their work may be divided, according to their expertise, into the following categories: informative, educational, operational consultation, small projects, supportive, production and training.

There was a get together of some 100 such organizations early last year-2002. They tried to pinpoint the problems that they face in Iran and how to overcome them. The only problem, as one of the participant pointed out, considering that they are NGOs, is that somehow such gatherings are conducted with the best intention of government organizations. This is mainly simply because arranging such an event is a very complex and costly exercise that none of them could carry it out. This is nothing unique to Iran; most other developing countries, like Bangladesh, African nations, are the same for such scale of activities

You may be surprised to learn that there are over 2,500 NGOs in Iran. Some of these are branches of mother organizations in different parts of the country, and some have been around for a long time. However, most of them have blossomed in the past few years. Most of them have become stale and ceased to be active or affective soon after their initial formation. This is usually the fate of those organizations that solely spring out of the goodness of people's hearts and their enthusiasm, without enough planning and consideration of practical objectives and goals. Those that are formed maybe a little later, but with more thought and planning and a narrow but definite objective, become more active and effective.

The problem that new NGOs generally face is lack of expertise and absence of well defined goals. There is no shortage of enthusiasm. However it is sometimes difficult to persuade those devotees to take it easy and think it over deeper learning from others or even joining them instead starting a new one.

But there are some who have been working very well for many years and are very successful in their work. Their organizations are run on a very systematic base. They have their donors and seminars for public awareness; they know the experts in their related fields and use their knowledge. Some are very modern and many of the NGOs listed below have their own web-site.

Rayhanato Nabi Charity Institute

Kahrizak Charity Foundation

Green Front of Iran

The Society for the Protection of Handicapped Children & Youth

Association for Protection of Women

Women & Social Development Association

Women Organization Against Environment Pollution

Hamyaran NGO Resource Center

Noavaran Innovation Group

Mother & Child's House Group

Institute for Women's Studies & Research

Zeinab Kobra Charity Organization

Khatamonabbiyin Charity

Civil Society's Youth Association

Center for Women Participation

Qom's Commission for Women's Affairs

Family Planning Association of Iran

Roshdieh Charity Association

Iran's Green Society

Women Association

Women's Cultural Association

Azahra Institute

Payam Hajar Cooperative

Hazrate Mehdi Association

Association for Supporting the Socially Vulnerable

Imam Sadegh's Philanthropic Foundation

Women's Society against Environmental Pollution

Convention on the Right of the Child

International Agencies in Iran

FAO (Food & Agriculture Organization)

UNDP (UN Development Progamm)

UNDCO (UN International Drug Control)

UNFPA ( UN Population Fund)

UNICEF (UN Children Fund)

WHO (World Health Organization)

IOM (The International Organization for Migration)

UNHCR (UN High Commissioner for Refugees)

UNIC (UN Information Center)

WFP (World Food Program)


Ockenden International

Green Front of Iran (Green Peace)

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