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The Masar Citizenship Project is part of the broader Masar Programme as designed and developed by the AECID. Inspired by the Arabic word for ‘path’ or ‘journey’, Masar aims to accompany shifts towards processes of democratic governance across the Arab world by supporting civil society initiatives and reform policies of key public institutions.
In the case of the Masar Citizenship Project, the emphasis is on supporting the discipline of public opinion polling in Egypt, contributing to the fundamental right to freedom of expression for both citizens and press, and allowing outside actors to gauge local perceptions of certain political and socio-economic issues in Egypt’s constantly shifting landscape.

Freedom of expression and an informed public opinion are key elements enabling civil society to hold their governments to account, as is freedom of the press and other media forms. The Masar Citizenship project seeks to shore up a qualified public opinion in a structured manner, which in turn will contribute to a more informed and more active civil society as agents of change in domestic transition processes. The plurality of views and the ability to freely express them strengthens the democratic fabric of a committed civil society.
Previous transition experiences in southern and eastern European countries show, firstly, that the existence of a democratic political culture is a fundamental requirement when articulating a stable and open democracy, and secondly, that the media and opinion polls play a key role in this process. Moreover, the accessibility and availability of public opinion polls in the local press contributes to the depth of debate regarding different aspects of transition processes, including domestic issues, constitutional reforms, foreign policy intentions, citizen grievances, leadership contests, etc. 
The project therefore aims to contribute in the long term to the emergence of a democratic plural culture where public opinion is a stimulant for change and civil society is a protagonist of change, empowered by access to information. The role of external donors in this project is primarily that of a facilitator, supporting a dynamic bottom-up approach which in turn generates ownership of the project and longer term sustainability.

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