Express of interest - Kairouan Community

  • TunisiaCountry
  • The United Nation Democracy Found (UNDEF)Donor
  • ENGLanguage
  • local products registrationgender equalityentrepreneurshiprural developmentTopics

The Applicant/ Leader (in English)

Kairouan Community    

Applicant's website/s or facebook    

Contact Person for this Project

Name: Mohamed Saied Baklouti

Position: chairman


Phone no:  +216  22 756 386    

Applicant's legal status & registration data

Non-profit Association of Foundation, in line with Tunisian 2011 Law on Association;  No explicit Law on Foundation exists in Tunisia as yet.   

Project Summary

The project addresses the needs of local communities laying within or adjacent to Djebel Oueslat mountain range & Parc National de Jebel Zaghdoud, the El Alaa community in particular, all within the Governor-rate of Kairouan. El Alaa, as other small towns of interior of Tunisia (TUN Dorsal) faces the same problems. Great gap between Tunis with coastal cities and interior of the Tunisia exists in terms of socio-economic conditions. For its inhabitants agriculture is the most import.  occupation; The service sector is poorly developed & added value is minimal and retain profit negligible. Tourism industry is limited to the coastal cities and Sahara & remaining mostly mass, tour-operators driven in its formula (legacy of the ancient regime), while the post rev. govs of TUN, along the IFIs, are wisely bringing the dev. of independent rural & non-metropolitan tourism industry as a top priority (NSP/TUN Dev.  Strategy,  IMF/WB 2014) : job creation, labor empowerment, activation. The overall security concerns are resurfacing (Bardo, 2015), although the focal micro region is plainly stable (no major incident since rev).  Decentralization tends to be a facade (awaiting a major reform in 2015/16).  The pub. infrastructure is decaying or appalling,  while the independent /community/private rural tourism sector infrastructure lucidly no-existent (private or community accommodations, restaurants, ECO and “active community driven tourist products”: equipment rent/ guide services/support/logistics).  Initiatives to combine the nature (rock formation/”geological parks”) biodiversity/rural landscape conservation (unique rich, semi -arid Dorsals' ecosystem: abundance of essential oils plants in wide & olive orchards etc), historical and cultural heritage protection (e.g. prehistoric caves and rock paintings in Oueslatia) with the local labor creation & micro rural entrepreneurship seeding and incubation are nascent: discussed & compounded by the major donor papers (eg. Unfinished revolution, WB, 2014), while still awaiting a tangible testing ground/pilot.  All in all the given problems' imbroglio is causing severe unemployment (50% of act. labor F, own sources, 2014), high poverty rate (32%, 2014), huge depopulation of young (87%, 2014), absolute lack of employment for PWDs, worrisome gender disequilibrium (76% formally LM no-active, 2014), limited rate of micro/SMEs, the state remains the major employer: contributing to stagnation and desperation. Rural economy diversification, boosting competition & enhancement of retained/added value & labor productivity is badly needed: however lack of recourses (mat) and skills is plainly evident: being the overall goal of the project. Project objective is to increase the economic stability and employment possibilities of marginalized rep. (women, young, PWDs, elders) of local community in El Alaa by creating the integrated local touristic product under the NGO guidance, implemented as a pilot in Tunisia.  Envisaged activities: 1. Community meeting – participatory need assessment 2. Adaptation of the community center in El Alaa (guest-house, equipment/bike rental, community kitchen, shop with local products, micro SPA with local essential oils. Wifi connection available for whole local community), run open-door formula, by the local CSO/Broad of Trustees/Charter to signed, income for the flat costs, including ICT/skills build-up; 3.Creation of local products production chains – on the base of need assessment, there will be 2 products chosen, for which will be then established full production cycle; delimitation of the 2 bike trails. 4.Thematic workshops cycle: unemployed, women, youth, marginalized groups from local community of El Alaa (30 persons)  The workshops will consist of several 4 topical components: Rural Business & Tourism/local tourist guide/local products: essential oils products & cosmetics/ marketing and distribution & ICT B. 5. Promotional event – local festival 6. Evaluation: focus, evidence based, outcomes oriented, synthesis, adaption & dissemination of lessons learn for Tajikistan and Djibouti. Project idea is to create synergies with other initiatives as a pilot to be implemented in the other regions. Launching an INTERNET APP of ordering services associated to project activities – est. partnership with hotels in Kairouan and beyond in TUN, shops with souvenirs, local tourism agencies and restaurants, as well as with WB/ADB/GIZ/Europe-aid rural dev.  programs in TUN & current  gov. programmes.

Background of the applicant

Kairouan Community established in 2014 is a first association in Tunisia based on multi-sectoral cooperation between NGOs, local authorities and business acting jointly for the local development and fostering local initiatives. The experience of Kairouan Community is rich thanks to the diversified experience of its members.

NGO representatives in Kairouan Community are sharing their experience of various programmes and projects: association “We Love Kairouan” promoting ecology, active citizenship, supporting young leaders - programme “Get Involved… Think green” (financed by Institut fur Auslandbeziehungen), programme Jeunesse & Leadership; association A.G.I.M (Association Générale des Insuffisants Moteurs de Kairouan) which run the daycare center for disabled people and implement the art therapy within a framework of vocational training; association “Gouvernance Participative” organizing various campaigns aiming to increase the awareness and support the participation of all citizens in public debate; Association Tunisienne du développement vert et des énergies renouvelables ATDVER – projects on alternative composting methods and projects on using alternative energy sources in Kairouan. Members of Kairouan Community are also local activists of Association Sanad from El Alaa, which aims to support local development, encourages farmers to create agriculture structures to help and prepare the programmes of development of the region, plays an intermediary role between local community and local authorities.

Kairouan Community is supported by the representatives of Polish: Development Policy Foundation ( and Press Club Foundation. Both NGOs helped in creation of Kairouan Community, as a continuation of efforts to boost the development of civic society and increase the social awareness and sense of responsibility in local development (projects financed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Republic of Poland, Support for Democracy Programme 2013 & 2014). Moreover, Development Policy Foundation shares its experience in social entrepreneurship and supporting local development with the focus on local product for marginalized groups in Georgia, Belarus and Tajikistan.

Mission of your organization 

Grass-root coalition/community type CSO/NGO, being the 1st of the kind in Tunisia: encompassing rep of 3 sectors (CSO, LA, B.) to pursue Kairouan governor-rate & Central Tunisia sustainable development agenda: see the attached statute for details.  The main goals: sustainable environmental, social and economic development in Tunisia; mainstreaming of durable solutions to social & economic malaise and underdevelopment of urban and rural communities; political & social and economic empowerment and activation of disadvantageous and marginalized areas and vulnerable groups and communities.

Anual turnover:

In 2014 the Kairouan Community, along the PL partners, was implementing/operating the Solidarity Found PL grant of total budget of  55 000 euro

Previous experience with United Nations (If any)

None (est. 2014!), while the founding parties of the applicant,  its members CSOs, had an tangible experience working with the UN agencies and programs in TUN & MENA, including  UNDP, UNEP, UNHR.  

Cross-cutting issues & project & added-value & gender & environmental & PWDs & innovation employed

1.              Cross – regional approach

Explain in no more than 4 paragraphs how your project idea fits into the broader cross-regional cooperation framework. Specify the concrete know-how that can be exported to other socio-economic contexts and how you plan to do the knowledge sharing. Specify in which country(ies) you plan to implement the activities. Where do you need support for matching with another partner, specify the type of profile you are looking for and from which country(ies).

Project activities will be implemented in Tunisia, but we assume the participation of the partners from Tajikistan and Djibuti for the project events. The project intends to transfer know-how between Tunisia, Tajikistan and Djibuti, as the problems defined & solutions tested in  rural Tunisia are actual for other two regions.

Tajik partner - NGO Gulu Giyoh ( from Pamir Mountains has a mission to preserve the cultural heritage connected with the cosmetic & medicinal natural plants/biodiversity; supports and stimulates local development; creates conditions for tourism; in order to achieve it, foster the entrepreneurship (micro-credits, social enterprises); consider regional products as the source of sustainable development.

We would like ALSO to engage in project activities a NGO from Djibuti – an association with the mission of local development, operating in the region of Goda or Mabla Mountains. In Djibuti there is a necessity to preserve biodiversity, endangered by progressive desertification. There are nationally supported programs aiming to fight the poverty and prevent the land from desertification, by promoting sustainable dev.  and diversifying the incomes of the farmers (tourism/processing of products). As the problem of depopulation in rural areas of Djibuti is a serious threat, the efforts are made to increase the farmers’ incomes. Mountain ranges in Djibuti: Mabla and Goda Mountains are unique ecosystems of closed forests – there are various plants of which essential oils are produced: Olibanum - aromatic, congealed, resinous sap from a specific variety of trees in the genus Boswellia, camphora bush, juniperus procera. The essential oils processed from these plants are used widely in traditional medicine.   

These three regions have a regional product (essential oils, herbs) produced locally, which can become a source of sustainable development for the whole community, including sustainable community driven tourism. With the support and transferring know-how on entrepreneurship, marketing, promotion and by educating local tourist guides regions’ economy may achieve the stability being pushed by grass-rooted community initiative.

2.              Envisioned impact at the community level

Briefly describe in one paragraph what type of impact you plan to have in the community and what kind of people/groups will benefit from your solution. Specify if your solution is intended to help/involve marginalized or disadvantaged groups and/or you are considering gender aspects.

The project assumes the local partnership to be established for the community center creation. The model of community entrepreneurship will help in creating the sense of community, increase the social awareness and self-responsibility for the place of living. Creating workplaces for unemployed and educating local community members, especially those groups which are economically and socially passive: women, unemployed, disadvantaged groups, can increase their position on the labor market, but also boost the idea of community-driven initiatives and have an impact on social integration for excluded and marginalized groups;.