International Alert’s new report outlines the preliminary findings from our survey into the experiences and perceptions of young people in two suburbs of Tunisia's capital Tunis.
The survey forms part of a wider project, funded by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, seeking to understand the opinions of young people in Douar Hicher and Ettadhamen, two neighbourhoods marked by high unemployment rates, school drop-outs and insecurity.
Despite widespread recognition of the positive and negative roles young people play in Tunisia today, there is still relatively little nuanced understanding of the ways in which young people are experiencing the challenges and successes of the country’s political transition, especially those in harder-to-access socio-economically marginalised communities. This is important because groups promoting violent extremism are finding fertile recruiting grounds in these communities.
Our quantitative survey looked at educational and economic status, the relationship between young people and state institutions, and attitudes towards politics and religion. The statistical data presented in this survey shows that young people from these neighbourhoods suffer from negative stereotypes and endure a stigma of embodying violence and crime.
Some of the key findings presented in the report are:
- The revolution has not improved the lives of young people in Douar Hicher and Ettadhamen, and some 46% of respondents believe their situation has deteriorated.
- Trust in political parties is extremely low (98.8% of respondents feel that politicians serve only their personal interests), but young people still believe in the power of elections to bring about change.
- The rise of Salafism is a concern for young people from these neighbourhoods, but many are still sympathetic to the Salafists’ cause. Some 80.5% of the respondents claim to know at least one person from their neighbourhood who has gone to take part in jihad in Syria.
The findings from this survey and associated qualitative data continue to be analysed and their implications discussed with the young people from Douar Hicher and Ettadhamen and with the Tunisian authorities.