The government on Tuesday announced plans to hold a civil society fair to exhibit the work of NGOs as pledged in the new administration’s 100-day action plan.
The three-day Haveli fair due to start on March 16 at the Dharubaaruge convention centre in the capital Malé was described as a platform to increase memberships and raise funds.
“One of the biggest challenges in running an NGO is the lack of funds. The government provides assistance every year but it is not sufficient. So we are trying to provide them with the option to work more closely with the corporate society,” Home Minister Imran Abdulla said at a press briefing at the president’s office.
According to a steering committee tasked with organising the fair, the objectives include providing networking space for civil society, increasing membership and engaging with business donors.
“This will be a place where NGOs from all islands can meet at one place and showcase their work… We are not charging any fees, but NGOs from islands might have to bear some costs,” said Maeedh Mohamed Zahir from NGO Ecocare.
Mohamed Mazin from the Bind Association assured the fair will be made easily accessible for people with disabilities and expressed hopes for more participation from disabled people.
“Haveli means light and our hope is to bring light to the people’s hearts,” he said.
The steering committee noted that while only five applications have been submitted so far, 40 NGOs attended preliminary discussions. Around 130 stalls could be accommodated at the fair.
Application forms are available for download and from the counters of home ministry, youth ministry and island councils. The deadline is January 31 and stalls would be allocated in the order of form submission.
Youth Minister Ahmed Mahloof said discussions were ongoing with the Attorney General’s office to draft legislation for civil society organisations.
Submitting the NGO bill to parliament is also a target for the first 100 days of the government, which will end on March 27 without counting weekends and public holidays.
There are 161 pledges across 21 ministries for this period. The government failed to reach 11 out of 67 targets set for the first 30 working days.