Comprehensive Study of the Maldivian Civil Society

Date: September 2011


  • Fareeha Shareef, Team Leader
  • Maleeka Salih, Technical Advisor
  • Hamid Sodique, Research Advisor
  • Abdulla Waheed, Research Assistant
  • Aminath Shiuna, Research Assistant
  • Ahmed Fayaz, Research Assistant


The study was commissioned to provide a complete situation analysis of the civil society sector in the Maldives. Its intention is to describe the nature of the civil society sector in the Maldives, identify cross-cutting issues faced by Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in the Maldives and to highlight gaps and areas of concern in the present Associations Act.

Its purpose is for the Government of the Maldives and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to deepen current understanding of the operating civil society sector, and following that, to establish meaningful regulation of the sector, enable the strengthening and development of the civil society sector, and to harness the potential of the civil society sector to contribute to the country’s development and promote the wellbeing of its population. To ensure a comprehensive oversight in keeping with the diversity and reality of citizen activism in the Maldives and to capture its substantial potential, a broader focus on ‘civil society sector’ and ‘civil society organisation’ (CSOs) have been adopted in addition to the more conventionally understood term NGOs.

The objectives of this study were: to provide an overview of the civil society sector in the Maldives; to deepen understanding of the role, operations and principles of CSOs in the Maldives; to develop a criteria of categorisation of CSOs in the Maldives; to illuminate the challenges of administration, regulation and governance in the sector; to make recommendations for the strengthening and future direction of the sector.