The Near East Foundation UK (NEF-UK) was established in 2012. The US-based Near East Foundation (NEF) and NEF-UK are legally and financially independent organisations. NEF and NEF-UK share technical and management capabilities as needed to advance our common objectives.

Our Work

NEF-UK and NEF share a common mission and approach to build more sustainable, prosperous, and inclusive communities in the Middle East and Africa through education, community organizing, and economic development.


  • Empowering Women in Sudan through Non-Wood Forest Products for Income and Food Security

    Active: 2016 - 2019

    Donor: Comic Relief


    NEF will increase the sustainable income, leadership and inclusion of vulnerable women involved in the non-wood forest products sector (i.e., Gum Arabic, B. aegyptiaca, Z. spina-christi, T. indica, A. digitata, and forest honey) in 9 villages in South and North Kordofan (Sudan) through association building, improved market inclusion, entrepreneurship training, and collaborative natural resource management.


    Increase the income of 2,242 women by 40-100% and asset accumulation by 10%, reverse local forest degradation by 6% annually, form and build the capacity of three cluster-level producer organizations, incubate 36 high-growth women-run enterprises, and  initiate 21 collaborative natural resource management projects that benefit multiple groups. 

  • Advancing Women’s Businesses in the Palestinian Territories

    Active: 2014 - 2017

    Donor: Cherie Blair Foundation for Women, Trafigura Foundation, Oak Foundation


    This initiative focuses on the “missing middle” of women entrepreneurs – women who can act as drivers of development – creating jobs, revitalising their economies, and realising their full potential as agents of social change. Project activities are designed to help overcome barriers to women’s entrepreneurship, including lack of financial services for women entrepreneurs and a need for training and to increase market.


    Empowering 200 Ramallah, Bethlehem, and Hebron-based women entrepreneurs to expand profitable and sustainable business models that are market-oriented, scalable and facilitate job creation. The project will (1) strengthen the skills of 200 women; (2) provide continued, more intensive training and coaching for 100 of the top performers of this group; and (3) support 60 of these women in accessing business incubation services to accelerate business growth.

  • Advancing the Contribution and Stewardship of Civil Society Organizations in Inclusive Local Development in Sudan

    Active: 2016 - 2017

    Donor: European Union thumbnail


    NEF and its partners will strengthen the contributions of 10 Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in eight cluster of communities as partners and stakeholders in support of inclusive, peaceful and sustainable economic and social development in rural Central Darfur, Sudan. This project is implemented with the financial assistance of the European Union.


    Increase the technical and management capacity of CSOs to improve access to collaborative and quality Natural Resource Management (NRM) and Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) and for vulnerable communities and create positive change in the lives of communities living in 8 clusters of 46 villages in four Localities through 16 multi-actor and CSO-led collaborative NRM and WASH community interventions. Further, strengthen the effectiveness of CSOs in cooperating with other actors to assess, prioritize, communicate, and coordinate local needs of vulnerable groups related to WASH and NRM.

  • Cross-Border Agricultural Partnerships: Reconciliation through Agricultural Cooperation and Development

    Active: 2017-2018

    Donor: European Commission thumbnail


    Farmers in both Palestine and Israel have the potential to increase the value of their products and access new markets; however systemic barriers and a lack of trust between the two communities limit the development of these opportunities. This has led to lower incomes for farmers, high unemployment among potential agronomists & farm innovators in rural communities, and lower productivity for agribusinesses in general. Among community leaders and politicians, there is limited collaboration between Palestinian and Israeli authorities, and opportunities to reduce the barriers to cross-border economic collaboration between farming communities have yet to be realised. Most people’s experiences and perceptions of “the other” are generally negative, with limited daily contact that can build understanding and trust between Palestinians and Israelis. With funding provided by the EU, NEF UK will be working to overcome these barriers, contributing to both economic and social improvements in communities on both sides of the border affected by the ongoing conflict.


    The overall goal of the project is to reduce fear and mistrust between farmers, industry leaders, and government officials in Palestine and Israel that hampers potential economic collaboration between the two communities. This will be achieved by improving conditions for cooperation in agribusiness development, and supporting cross-border joint ventures in value chain development of olive, date, and vegetable producers. NEF UK will train 25 agronomists from Palestine and Israel to provide peer-to-peer training and support through community-based agriculture extension services for 2,400 people (400 young farm innovators and 2,000 additional community farmers) to introduce improved production and post-harvest handling techniques. Small grants will be provided to catalyse cross border value chain development initiatives. NEF UK will also engage 30 leaders on both sides of the border to encourage policy changes that support cross-border information & technology sharing and greater market access.

  • Employability and Enterprise Training for Syrian Refugees and Vulnerable Jordanians

    Active: 2016-2018

    Donor: City & Guilds Group


    NEF UK aims to build more sustainable, prosperous and inclusive communities across the world. Currently Jordan has one of the largest refugee populations, with over 600,000 Syrians and 53,000 Iraqis. NEF UK will receive nearly £120,000 over two years to develop an employability and enterprise programme to support refugees and vulnerable people in Jordan.


    The funding from the City & Guilds Group will see NEF UK’s vocational training centres (also known as ‘Siraj’ centres) establishing a network of 24 ‘Master Trainers’ in Jordan. These ‘Master Trainers’ will then go on to train 6,000 vulnerable refugees and Jordanians, enabling them to progress into employment or to establish their own microenterprise. Support from City & Guilds Group helps NEF UK continue to find innovative and impactful ways to help struggling refugee families and host community families find dignified ways to lift themselves out of dire circumstances.

  • Access to Education in Rural Morocco

    Active: 2015 - 2017

    Donor: Big Lottery Fund


    Building on a successful model that the Near East Foundation has utilized since 2006, the Near East Foundation UK and its local partner, the Tichka Association, are working to improve access to education for primary students in rural Morocco. Through a multifaceted approach, we are accomplishing this goal by strengthening parent-teacher associations, designing child-led extra-curricular activities, and engaging disadvantaged parents to enrol and send their children regularly to school.


    NEF is improving access to and quality of primary education for 2,100 poor girls and boys in 14 villages in Morocco’s High Atlas Mountains (Ouarzazate Province) by strengthening Parent Teacher Associations, designing child-led extra-curricular activities, and encouraging disadvantaged parents to enroll and send their children to school regularly. 

  • Advancing Gender Equality and the Rights of Survivors of Gender-Based Violence in Armenia

    Active: 2015 - 2017

    Donor: European Commission under the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR) thumbnail


    High-rates of gender-based violence and the persistence of conservative gendered norms at home and in the community violate women’s fundamental human rights and pose serious barriers to social cohesion and sustainable economic development in Armenia. 69% of Armenian women report being physically assaulted by an intimate partner – often times in the presence of children – at least once in their lives (Amnesty International, 2008). Improving conditions for women requires both strengthening the capacities of CSOs that work with women at the community level and promoting survivor’s access to tailored economic opportunities at the individual level.


    NEF-UK partnered with Gegharkunik Chamber of Commerce (GCCI) to guide 237 GBV survivors as they enhanced their employability and small business skills, and pursued new income-generating opportunities that promoted independence and supported decent living conditions for themselves and their families.  Seventy women received vocational training in various specializations, 127 launched small businesses with cash grant support, and 52 women found employment in the labor market.  In parallel, the project built the capacity of four Armenian CSOs to deliver economic development programs that are supportive of gender equality, protective against GBV, and engaged the public, support groups, employers and other civil society and market actors in cross-sector joint actions, dialogue, and training around gender norms, safe workspaces, and protection strategies linked to economic opportunities.

    “The project has improved confidence and self-reliance among survivors of gender-based violence, providing women with safe options when making decisions that affect their family’s lives,” Arpine Baghdoyan, NEF UK’s country director in Armenia, explained.