On building peace, Tunisian youth say: We have a role

Report
from Danish Refugee Council
Published on 13 Aug 2017

BEN GUERDANE, Tunisia (August 2017) — Youth, community members and decision makers come together this International Youth Day to voice one clear message, that Tunisian youth can play an active role in building sustainable peace in the country, despite the barriers.

Almost half of the population of Tunisia is under the age of 30, according to 2015 numbers, but many face considerable barriers to participation in decision making, particularly on issues of concern, such as security or employment.

“When asked how they define themselves, youth gave an overwhelmingly positive image. Youth are powerful, but we as the international and local communities need to give them the space to reach their goals, realise their potential, and ultimately shape the future they want to live in,” recalls Britt Sloan, DDG Tunisia’s Programme Manager.

Ahead of the International Youth Day festivals in Ben Guerdane and Dehiba, the Danish Demining Group (DDG) calls on communities to come together to promote youth as leaders in building a peaceful future.

This year’s International Youth Day on August 12, 2017 celebrates the role of youth in building sustainable peace and promoting conflict prevention and transformation. DDG, in partnership with local youth from Ben Guerdane and Dehiba and with support from the European Union, marks International Youth Day with an event acknowledging the contributions of local youth towards community initiatives for community security. Bringing together young people, community members and decision makers, the festival is a space for interaction where participants can voice their experiences and share their ideas.

“The Youth Festival represents an opportunity to share successful experiences and learning opportunities among youth. Such events are important as they empower young people. We welcome this event and similar initiatives,” states Mr. Foued Aouni, the Director of Research and Studies at the Tunisian National Observatory of Youth.

DDG has worked directly with communities in southeast Tunisia since 2014, with local offices in Ben Guerdane and Dehiba. During this time DDG has engaged the youth of Ben Guerdane and Dehiba through community workshops, dialogue, and civic engagement initiatives, such as football matches, painting days and coffee talks. These activities have been key in bringing together diverse youth and creating unique networks for creativity and peer-support. Throughout DDG’s youth focused work, there has been a strong emphasis on social inclusion, providing practical opportunities for all young people, especially those who have not had the space to engage in civic life.

DDG Tunisia is dedicated to putting youth at the centre of its activities, recognising their potential as active community members with unique and valuable perspectives. The organisation will continue to support the youth of Ben Guerdane and Dehiba in this process and provide concrete assistance through action planning workshops and youth-driven community initiatives for community safety throughout 2017.

About DDG:

The Danish Demining Group (DDG) is a humanitarian, non-governmental and non-profit organization. DDG was first established in 1956 in Denmark and now works in 39 countries around the world. Under DDG’s mandate, there is a focus on protection, relief, rehabilitation, post-conflict recovery, capacity-building, humanitarian mine-action, and advocacy. DDG was first present in southeast Tunisia in March 2011 in the Shousha Camp, providing assistance to host communities and people displaced by the Libyan Revolution. In 2014, DDG started its work in violence prevention and safety, working with communities in Ben Guerdane. In 2015, they extended operations to Dehiba.

DDG’s Mission in Tunisia:

DDG understands that more resilient communities are safer communities, and safer communities can foster economic and social development. Tensions along the Libyan border continue to be a reality for the citizens of Ben Guerdane and Dehiba, impacting the stability, security, and everyday lives of community members. To address this, DDG Tunisia is dedicated to promoting local community resilience and building the capacity of communities to respond to concerns of insecurity and to reduce the impact of external shocks.

About DDG Tunisia’s Youth Work:

Funded by the European Union and the Canadian Government, DDG’s youth work aims to promote the resilience and engagement of young people to mitigate potential risks and insecurities present in their communities. As a substantial component of this work, DDG has developed a comprehensive evidence base through extensive qualitative research and youth-driven actor mapping workshops. The findings offer deep insight into youth perceptions of risk and resilience and the actors who influence them. The results shape DDG’s programming and direction and will guide upcoming youth-driven action planning workshops. These workshops will give youth a space to develop community interventions to assist themselves, their peers, and their communities in building resilience and creating safer societies.

Media contact: Lotfi Ben Hamed, +216 98 726 530, liaison2@drc-tunisia.org