Tune in Tunisia

Prior to the events of the Arab Spring, Tunisian civil society languished under decades of repression. Elites controlled the political process and the public discourse with the help of a heavily censored media. While Tunisians could now enjoy freedom to participate in civic affairs, they had limited experience exercising their newfound civil rights. Active participation in civil society would allow all segments of Tunisian society to become stakeholders in the democratic process, a critical step of Tunisia’s transition.

So in 2011, after years of working with Tunisia social activists, AIC developed Tune in Tunisia to re-energize Tunisian civil society and empower new civic leaders. AIC trains and builds a network of emerging social entrepreneurs to lead civil society projects in their local communities. Participants attend a series of workshops to strengthen their capacity to communicate, recruit and mobilize civil society and are then awarded micro-grants to turn their visions into action.

In the first year of the program, 23 social entrepreneurs were selected and, after training and assistance from AIC, implemented their own projects including a public discussion series on tolerance and free speech in a democratic society, a library for at risk students and election oversight training workshops.

In 2012, AIC began the second round of Tune in Tunisia with 25 new participants and the same agenda for empowerment and revitalization. This time, participants focused their projects on engaging all peoples as stakeholders in the new civil society and braking down social barriers. Projects drew attention to the elderly, disabled and – in one taboo-shattering project – unwed mothers.

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