The NGO Problem: Modernised Colonisation in the Middle East

Shirin Neshat, Untitled, from Roja series, 2016. © Shirin Neshat

Historical Context and ‘Civilised Society’

Where Western groups view NGO intervention as much needed support towards civil society, Middle Eastern groups view NGOs as a modernised tool of colonisation, a sandbox for the elites, a foundation for ‘colonial feminism’ and an attempt to undermine the local culture.

The West v East dichotomy

Depoliticization of women’s issues

Without the bottom-up pressure placed on governments to deliver policies that progress women’s rights, NGOs disempower local women by ensuring that global organisations are the only viable option available to provide essential services.

Dependency on NGOs and local disenfranchisement




Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Laura E Fox

LLB (Hons) and BA (Gender Studies and Philosophy) student. A collection of academic essays.