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Following the citizens’ uprising and subsequent ousting of former President Zine Ben Ali in January 2011, Tunisia is facing a period of profound change marked by new freedoms, the determination of many citizens to freely participate for the first time in the political process, and a society polarized by contentious debates over its future.
In the post-revolutionary context, SFCG-Tunisia aims to help members of Tunisian society approach conflicts and differences in a constructive manner, through cooperation and dialogue. SFCG-Tunisia is working through multiple channels to build the capacity of individuals, the media, and other institutions to approach challenges by understanding differences and acting on commonalities.
Currently, SFCG-Tunisia is implementing 2 programs.
Youth Leadership Development Program
SFCG-Tunisia is empowering youth NGO leaders in 14 governorates across Tunisia to reinforce their role and participation in the transition to democracy. Tunisian youth were powerful players in the revolution, and this project aims to help them acquire the skills and structures necessary to become the politicians, media professionals, civil society leaders and social entrepreneurs of tomorrow, through the approach of building a culture of dialogue.
Toward this goal, SFCG-Tunisia is:
Supporting the participation of youth NGO leaders in national and local media
Encouraging and facilitating the participation of youth NGO leaders in local governance
By establishing local youth councils to provide youth of different backgrounds and ideologies with a platform for discussion and cooperative action on issues of local importance
By working with local officials to sensitize them to youth concerns and the potential for partnership with young people
By coaching and training youth leaders in civic engagement
By helping youth councils plan and carry out roundtable discussions on local issues with local government and civil society leaders
By helping youth councils design and implement volunteer projects that will have a positive effect on their regions
Reinforcing the capacities of young leaders to effect changes at the local and national level
By training youth leaders in citizenship, social entrepreneurship, NGO set-up and project design, and alternative methods of conflict resolution
By coaching these leaders through the planning and implementation of their projects and roundtable discussions
SFCG believes that if youth are provided with the skills and channels of communication for constructive civic engagement to effect positive changes in their own communities, and if local officials are sensitized to youth concerns and become more willing and able to view young people as partners, then a stronger civil society and a more engaged cohort of youth will result. These stronger relationships will benefit both parties, creating strong communities and long-lasting peace.
The Youth Leadership Development Program is funded by the European Union, the US Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) and the National Endowment for Democracy (NED).
Common Ground Media Training
The Tunisian media has a crucial role to play in this transitional period in Tunisia’s history. After decades of repression and censorship, the media sector is seeking to reinvent itself in order to take on this important role and is attempting to find a balanced tone to cover the current dynamic and polarized environment.
SFCG-Tunisia is working with journalists and editors in Tunisia to help strengthen democratic governance and social cohesion by strengthening the capacity of the media sector.
Specifically, SFCG-Tunisia seeks to:
Improve the political reporting ability of Tunisian media professionals in the print press, TV, radio, and online media
Help Tunisian news editors reinforce their knowledge of best practices and enhance their understanding of common ground journalism
Toward these objectives, SFCG-Tunisia conducts regular trainings, coaching and debate activities (roundtables, off-the-record sessions with politicians and guest speakers, specialized workshops) on journalism techniques and the common ground approach applied to the Tunisian context.
Search for Common Ground-Tunisia recently completed its first Common Ground Media Training cycle with approximately 75 media professionals.
The Common Ground Media Training Program is funded by the United States Embassy in Tunisia.