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Promoting the social, economic and political participation of marginalised youth in Tunisia

Working in regions most affected by unemployment, poverty, school dropouts and the phenomenon of violent extremism

Young people’s socio-economic conditions have not improved since the start of the Tunisian revolution in 2010, especially in the interior regions and marginalised neighbourhoods, leading to disillusionment and political disengagement. In Tunisia’s first municipal elections in 2018, youth turnout was 32.56%, 23% lower than in the 2014 legislative elections.

The overall objective of this project is therefore to promote the participation of marginalised youth through their social, economic and political inclusion. It is focused on three specific regions where youth are regarded with suspicion from authorities and are impacted by high poverty rates, school dropouts and phenomenon of radicalisation and violent extremism: Douar Hicher (Tunis), Kasserine (Tunisian–Algerian border) and Tataouine (Tunisian–Libyan border).

For the past eight years, we have worked on supporting Tunisia’s democratic transition by developing locally led mechanisms of participatory democracy and the inclusion of marginalised groups from poor neighbourhoods and border regions. This current three-year project, which is based on our long experience, has three main aims:

  • To produce qualitative and quantitative research led by and centred around the viewpoints and experiences of youth when it comes to religion, politics and evaluation of public services.
  • The implementation of tools and mechanisms of participatory democracy. This includes collaboration between International Alert and local civil society organisations with elected municipalities to implement the 'Participatory Budgeting' process, where citizens vote on municipal projects (e.g. street lighting, city beautification, pavements, etc.). We have also developed innovative citizen diagnostic tools informed by young people’s priorities to assess healthcare services and secondary education in the three areas.
  • Developing pilot projects on economic development around the principles of social and solidarity economy, and women’s perceptions of security through the use of filmmaking.

This work will help to increase young people’s capacities to engage in bottom-up mechanisms of participatory local governance, so that they can be part of the decisions that affect their lives and bridge the gap between citizens and the state. The project will also help to increase youth activists’ ability to advocate for change in a peaceful manner.

We have already signed several framework conventions within this project with elected municipal councils, ministerial representative bureaus, national partners and local civil society organisations.

The project runs from February 2018 to January 2021.