Improving the Regulatory Environment for Civil Society Organizations in Tunisia

Funding Agency:
Department of State

The United States Embassy in Tunisia, Assistance Unit, is seeking proposals for a cooperative agreement from qualified U.S. and Non-U.S. organizations to implement a program entitled “Improving the Regulatory Environment for Civil Society Organizations in Tunisia”.  

Since the 2011 revolution, Tunisia has seen rapid growth in civil society as citizens take a more active role in governance. Currently, the 2011 decree Law of Associations is the legal framework for registration and operation of civil society organizations (CSO) in Tunisia. The 2011 decree law was intended to open up civil space in Tunisia by eliminating bureaucratic hurdles for the creation and operation of new associations. On this count, the law has been highly effective, as thousands of new CSOs registered after its creation. Newly formed and energetic CSOs have played a crucial role in monitoring and organizing national elections; supplying needed subject matter expertise; advocating for human rights, good governance, and economic reform; and providing a forum for citizen oversight of the work of government and parliament. 

There is increasing consensus among CSOs and the government, however, that reforms in the law are needed for several reasons: To ensure transparency in the operation and financing of CSOs in order to fight corruption and reduce the risk of financing of illicit or illegal organizations, and to create a clear, standardized series of steps that civil society organizations can take to ensure they are properly registered and able to function. Currently, there is a lack of clarity on where and from whom organizations are eligible to receive funds, and limited procedures for transparency in funding sources. Both the GOT and CSOs have expressed concern over growing perceptions of corruption in the CSO sector due to this lack of transparency. CSOs also have faced increasing confusion as to the proper steps that the GOT requires for legal registration of new associations. Many CSOs have been frustrated with what they perceived as the lack of clarity in registration, the lack of orientation from the government, and a multi-stepped, cumbersome process that opens itself to potential abuse and corruption. Many CSOs have claimed that even when they have gone through the legal registration process, they are unable to legally open a bank account or perform financial transactions. 

There is therefore a need for assistance to strengthen the legal framework for CSOs in Tunisia through technical and legal support to comprehensively reform the Law of Associations and communicate with CSOs and other stakeholders to promote the new reforms. 

Applicants may submit only one application. 

  • Duke Internal Deadline: June 28, 2017
  • Sponsor Deadline: July 31, 2017

Agency Website

Eligibility Requirements

Eligible applicants include U.S. or foreign non-profit organizations; for-profit organizations; private institutions of higher education, public or state institutions of higher education; public international organizations; and small businesses with function and regional experience in areas like regulatory policies and reform, economic governance, organization strengthening, and entrepreneurship in the MENA region. NEA/Embassy Tunis strongly encourages applications from civil society organizations headquartered in the Middle East and North Africa region. International non-governmental organizations with principal bases of operations outside the Middle East and North Africa are also encouraged to apply, but the percentage of total budget actually spent in the region through local partners will be among the elements of evaluation for this competition.



Amount Description

Estimated Award Ceiling: $750,000

Estimated Award Floor: $500,000 

Funding Type





International Opportunities
Social Sciences

Internal Nomination

Owing to the sponsor's restriction on the number of applications that may be submitted from Duke, anyone wishing to pursue nomination should submit the following materials as one PDF.

* A letter of support from dean or chair - 1 to 1.5 pages
* Project summary - 2 to 4 pages
* CV or Biosketch of project leader

Please submit internal materials through My Research Proposal.(Code ILN)

Instructions for setting up your account and uploading internal applications can be found here: Instructions_FINAL.pdf

Internal Deadline

June 28, 2017

External Deadline

July 31, 2017