Empowering Disadvantaged Groups

  • TunisiaCountry
  • The National Endowment for Democracy (NED)Donor
  • ENGLanguage
  • capacity buildingTopics

The Applicant/ Leader (in English)

Kairouan Community 

Background of the applicant

Kairouan Community (KC), a nongovernmental multisector organization registered in 2014 in the interior governorate of Kairouan, seeks to promote political, social, and economic empowerment of marginalized communities.  KC provides a forum for civil society, local authorities, and business people towards the realization of sustainable development goals for marginalized communities. KC emerged out of the Fix Kairouan initiative (www.fixkairouan.org), an innovative citizen monitoring electronic platform that mapped city problems related to poor infrastructure and service delivery. Initially, the site served to document and report problems, but then it inspired community driven suggestions and solutions that led to the formation of KC, which disbursed small funds to finance citizen proposals. KC promotes citizen engagement with the municipality on solving infrastructure and service delivery problems in the city. The chairman and project coordinator of KC is Mohamed Saied Baklouti, who also serves as a voluntary local council member. Other board members are architect Noureddine Loughmeri and Mohamed Habib Mestiri the treasurer. KC received funding from Development Policy Foundation and the Press Club Foundation, supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Republic of Poland. KC is a first time NED grantee.


Project Summary

Kairouan Community (KC) aims to raise awareness and advocate the needs of marginalized communities and disadvantaged groups such as people with disabilities in the interior governorate of Kairouan. Building on its Fix Kairouan initiative, KC will encourage disadvantaged groups to collaborate with civil society organizations and participate in local decision-making processes to advocate for improved access to public spaces. KC will engage these groups to tackle social prejudices and taboos, which often reinforce their economic deprivation and political exclusion.

Project Start & End Date:

May 1, 2016 – April 30, 2017    

Amount Requested, state the currency

25 000 USD

Overall objective or goal

 To empower disadvantaged groups to lead advocacy initiatives.  

Description of the activities

KC will start with a one-day kick-off meeting and press conference for 100 representatives from civil society organizations, municipal officials, and local media outlets. KC will introduce the program and objectives as well as announce a call for applications for an eight-member working group. Through its civil society network and social media platforms, KC will establish an eight-member working group representative of disadvantaged groups, civil society organizations, and technical experts such as engineers and architects. KC will arrange regular meetings with working group members who together will develop a needs assessment to survey citizens of Kairouan both online and offline to identify the public space or service in need of improvement. KC will then organize a three-day leadership and advocacy capacity-building workshop for the eight working group members. The workshop will include presentations, lectures, discussions, and group work. Led by MENA and European experts on empowerment of disadvantaged groups, the workshop will discuss key topics such as problem analysis, stakeholder identification, integration of disadvantaged groups in decision-making process, creation and design of an inclusive and accessible public space, and advocacy and communication strategies for citizens and local officials. At the workshop, working group members will review the questionnaire responses and identify the top three public spaces in need of improved access for disadvantaged groups. KC will ensure that the selection of public spaces are widely accessible, spacious, and centrally located.

After the workshop, KC and working group members will launch an awareness campaign through local media outlets and social media platforms, as well as distribute flyers to highlight spaces in need of improvement. KC will organize two community consultative events for 30 participants that will serve as a laboratory to refine action plans, soliciting the input and participation of citizens, local officials, architects, engineers, and urban planners. This forum will allow working group members to present their project ideas, where they can discuss city issues of public space management to enhance their advocacy potential. Working group members will share prepared materials such as maps, plans, and scale models. KC and working group members will also spearhead a competition for community initiatives where KC will disburse small funds for civic groups committed to further awareness and advocacy efforts. KC and working group members will review concept notes and budgets as criteria for awarding the community initiatives. At the end of the program, KC will arrange a one-day press conference to display results of the program, detailing the collaboration between various sectors of society to achieve an improvement in access to public space.

Project monitoring & evaluation

Objective: To empower disadvantaged groups to lead advocacy initiatives.  

  • Creation of a multisector working group that collaborates and conducts an online and offline needs assessment of community priorities for improved public space.
  • Ability of working group members to demonstrate increased knowledge and skills following the capacity building workshop through pre and post questionnaires, as well as design of awareness campaign.
  • KC will track media coverage of awareness campaign and web traffic and comments on website and social media platforms.