Entirely equal public space: LIFE LAB for local disadvantaged groups represented by their political leaders in Kairouan

  • TunisiaCountry
  • The European Endowment for Democracy (EED)Donor
  • ENGLanguage
  • Public spacecapacity buildingTopics

The Applicant/ Leader (in English)

Kairouan Community (KC)

Background of the applicant

Kairouan Community (KC), est. in 2014 is a grass-root community type CSO/NGO, the 1st of the kind in Tunisia with rep. of 3 sectors (CSO, LA, Business) consists of administrative board (5 ppl), without permanent office.

KC has capacity to run the initiative due to multisectoral experience of its members, i.e. association “We Love Kairouan” promoting ecology, active citizenship; association A.G.I.M  running daycare center with vocational training for PwD; association “Gouvernance Participative” organizing campaigns aiming to merge the awareness & foster participation of all citizens in public debate; Association ATDVER – projects on using alternative energy sources.

KC in 2015 launched a micro-granting competition on local initiatives, financed by local business: 2 initiatives, chosen on the base of Fix Kairouan civil monitoring interventionshttp://fixkairouan.org/, supported with 500 euro each are being implemented (efficient green zone & waste management/ensuring school pupils safety).

Applicant's legal status & registration data

NGO

est. in 2014

Partners & co-applicants involved

Municipality of Kairouan, Rue de la République, Kairouan 3100

commune-kairouan@planet.tn, http://www.commune-kairouan.gov.tn/Fr/Presentation_kairouan.html

Development Policy Foundation, Poland, 4/70Dobra Street, 00-388 Warsaw, www.fpr.org.pl

Project Summary

The project is addressed to members of disadvantaged groups - DG (People with Disabilities PwD, mothers with children, seniors), NGOs, local authorities (LAs) & civil society of Kairouan, Tunisia, to build capacity of DG leaders for advocacy in action, to foster their participation in politics, enhance equal public engagement in decision making process & equal access to public space, by realizing micro-initiative in public space.

Project answers the problems: underrepresentation of DG in local political scene causing social exclusion; lack of competences & authority of DG leaders; narrow-minded policy/discrepancy between legislation in place & its enforcement in practice; public space accessibility (essential problem for all DG).

Low public participation is caused by public debates formula & its unprofitableness, also by dysfunction of LAs - unqualified old regime’s rep., chaotic competences, nontransparent procedures, low effectiveness of public consultations –unlikely to change in nearest future.

Background Outline & Justification

There are programmes for civil society dev. or international granting funds: Programme d’Appui à la Société Civile en Tunisie, EuropeAid; Solidarity Fund PL financed by Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland from 2012; The Canada Fund for Local Initiatives (CFLI); Enda Inter Arabe financing micro-credit programme for local needs.

Participatory budgeting by far was introduced in 4 municipalities, La Marsa, Menzel Bourguiba, Tozeur and Gabès by NGO Associative Action (2015).

Even though there are several projects focused on public participation & engagement in the democracy building process, there is hardly any to combine theoretical workshops with tangible results/ outcomes/tools to be used – a completed micro-initiative. No practical approach in projects makes civil society uninterested & untrusting.  Additionally, no initiative involving disadvantaged groups in local policy making process & building capacity of their leaders was introduced.

Description of the activities

1.         Kick-off meeting in Kairouan (local NGOs/LAs /rep. of DG) – needs assessment; recruitment for the workshops (max 8 persons)

2.         2 workshop sessions run by foreign experts; theme components: accessibility/attractiveness/democratization/needs tailored/cross-cutting social/art actions in public space management; public consultations innovative tools & methodology; cooperation models, fundraising – followed by public debates in local media with participation of experts & working group:

4. Open public consultation event in Kairouan in charette formula: https://www.wbdg.org/resources/charrettes.php incl. live lab & voting for project of micro-initiative in public space 

5. Implementation of chosen project in public space

6.         Final conference/debate on public space & evaluation

Target groups & final beneficiaries:

- workshops’ participants: NGOs/LAs/ rep. of DG in Kairouan – will possess interdisciplinary know-how & tools to influence decision making process & facilitate the dialogue between local actors.

- leaders rep. DG will gain know-how & tools to build authority for advocacy & ability to solve problems, to be prepared for active participation in politics (city council/local elections 2016) incl. local decision making process, expressing needs of their groups.

- disadvantaged groups in Kairouan - will gain representation in politics & equal chances to use&create public space & be involved in local policy making process

- community of Kairouan, (disappointed &untrusting to political actions/politicians/local scale decision-making process) will gain a concrete outcome of public consultations & fruitful dialogue with municipality/NGOs – micro-initiative in public space tailored to their needs.

Overall objective or goal

to build capacity: competences, authority & charisma of leaders from DG in Kairouan (People with Disabilities, mothers with children, seniors) as advocacy in action (by realizing project in public space chosen by citizens) - to ensure equal opportunities & representation of DG in politics & participation in decision making process on local level; as a result, needs of disadvantaged groups will be expressed, esp. the right to equal access to public space as a common problem for disadvantaged groups; the leaders may become candidates to city council/local elections in 2016, ensuring representation of disadvantaged groups in local policy making. The indicators of these changes will be monitoring of leaders’ performance, local elections results, number of public debates & consultations, proposed initiatives in public space.

- to restore confidence in political actions & improve its effectiveness by increasing public participation in decision making process & showing practical example of tangible civil initiative to be multiplied & disseminated. As a result, the dialogue between citizens & municipality & NGOs will be improved; investments in the city will be more needs tailored, public space will become widely accessible & attractive for all citizens. Indicator of these changes will be: frequency on public consultation events & debates, number of initiatives proposed.

Risks & risk-mitigation measures

Social taboo & prejudices towards PwD can create obstacles in cooperation in decision making process about local issues; this risk can be mitigated by promoting the benefits of cooperation within community to influence municipality/NGOs to support local initiatives.

Leaders of DG can be discriminated in public debate due to their marginalized position & they may not get social support to be among the decision-making actors in the city. This risk can be minimized by open public consultations allowing the leaders to express their postulates & show authority & charisma.

The frequency on public consultation event can be low, due to people’s lack of interest & trust in efficiency of political promises/actions. This risk can be reduced by organizing a public consultation event in family-friendly formula, using the innovative approach of live projecting with participation of local architects, NGOs, LAs& citizens.