Conflict, poverty and climate change afflict many communities in northern Africa and the Middle East; for some, they threaten their very survival. Such communities in peril include newly-formed settlements of refugees -- Iraqis in Jordan and Darfurians in central Sudan -- and villages isolated by their environment -- Berbers in Morocco''''s Atlas Mountains and Egyptian farmers relocated from the Nile Delta to the desert near the Aswan Dam.
The Near East Foundation, founded in 1915, identifies such communities and mobilizes them into grassroots civil society organizations that find homegrown solutions to community problems. These health committees, parent-teacher councils and farmers associations -- advised by NEF - launch programs that precede any government intervention and outlast outside assistance. Local and national authorities often adopt NEF''''s community-based programs as development models.