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The MENA Blogs Part 1 – Better Together?

The Management Centre

This blog post is the first in a series of posts from =mc’s Senior Associate Consultant Laurence Brady, who is currently undertaking an exciting piece of fundraising work in the Middle East and North Africa. During his time on the project, Laurence will be writing regular blog posts in a series called ‘The MENA Blogs’. Be sure to follow us on Twitter to keep up with the posts.

Better Together?

Tamasi is a network of leading cultural organisations serving the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). Principally focussed on the performing arts and engaging a younger generation, Tamasi members comprise of theatre companies, dance troupes, traditional musicians, singers and other performers.

Thanks to support from major Swedish institutional funders Tamasi has been able to put on a wide range of performances and productions in major cities and refugee camps, supporting and promoting the work of each of its members from Cairo.
So far so good, but like many Arts and non-profit organisations in the MENA region they are planning for a more uncertain funding future.

They are asking questions about where new funding opportunities will come from and what they need to do to seize them. More than that, they are looking at themselves as Tamasi and individual organisations: Are they better together going into the future, or will smaller more independent organisations appeal to audiences and funders on a project by project basis?

Posing these questions in a politically and economically turbulent region, makes this a fascinating project for The Management Centre. On two separate trips this month and next, I am meeting Tamasi members and discussing these issues with them.

The first leg is to Lebanon and Egypt, with visits to Beirut, Cairo and Alexandria. A second trip begins in Amman in Jordan, and from there by road into Palestine and Gaza with meetings in Ramallah.

As well as Tamasi members, I shall meet some of the regions major funders. Organisations like The Ford Foundation and the Anna Lindh Foundation play an important collaborative role and will, I hope, give a clear overview of funding and philanthropy opportunities in the region.

And finally, I’ll be finding out from other agencies how they are faring in funding and what the future holds for them.
Im not sure if I’m here because I’m a Scot in 2014, and someone who is already seriously thinking seriously about being better together or apart. Whatever the reason, its a privilege to be en route to Beirut now on the first part of this trip with Tamasi.

Laurence Brady

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