Security Sector Reform in Tunisia

We are working with the Al-Kawakibi Democracy Transition Center (KADEM) to support the process of security sector reform (SSR) in Tunisia.

Security is one of the most pressing issues faced by the country, but the citizens’ lack of confidence in the police hinders effective responses.

Tunisians had high hopes for comprehensive SSR after the 2011 Revolution. However, despite vigorous reforms undertaken in the last several years, those hopes did not convert into a significant change in the perceptions and behaviors of citizens and security forces. Additionally, a lack of communication about existing or future reforms has led to public concern that the government does not have a comprehensive strategy to address SSR in Tunisia.

In 2015, we launched our SSR project, with the goal of supporting civil society efforts aimed at increasing the transparency of and citizen participation in security sector reform.

Funded by the US Department of State, our project spans 22 months and four governorates (Ben Guerdane, Bizerte, Kasserine, and Tunis).

In collaboration with KADEM, we facilitated capacity-building sessions to encourage civilian engagement with SSR, and are providing small grants to civil society organizations to support community projects designed to improve security sector engagement.

We are also working with the press, TV, and radio stations to demonstrate the successes of these community projects and ensure accountability. With local media professionals, we have produced documentaries, TV round tables, and ample press coverage.

These initiatives, coupled with trainings for journalists, guarantee increased transparency in SSR efforts in the country and greater collaboration between security forces and civil society actors.

Our work has also led to the joint development of local initiatives to address key security concerns of the population, such as safety in and around schools, road safety, violence in football stadiums, and more. Through the implementation of these initiatives, the participants have the opportunity to put their collaboration skills into practice, thus reinforcing positive relationships and consolidating partnership.