A joint field visit to Tunisia on 22-25 June gathered representatives from the European Cultural Foundation, European Foundation Centre, Fondation de France, Fondazione di Venezia, King Baudouin Foundation, Robert Bosch Foundation and TrustAfrica. The objective was to explore the potential for a funders’ collaborative on Tunisia.
Tunisia is a country marked by many uncertainties in this transitional period, and by striking disparities between highly educated urban people and poverty-stricken rural areas. Yet it is also the country in North Africa where the space for civil society activity is most favourable, with many CSOs emerging. In this context support to local actors driving the change processes can be shaped in constructive ways.
The group met with NGO representatives, government officials and representatives of aid agencies to define priorities and work out its approach. The geographical focus of the collaborative was confirmed as being the north-west region.
It was agreed that the collaborative has much to offer: its capacity to be innovative; the idea of developing an integrated approach in the north-west region; its capacity to support links with diaspora networks so that they join hands with local initiatives; its expertise in developing NGO capacity-building and networking as well as local philanthropy; and, last but not least, its neutrality and independence. The photo shows the funders group meeting with women from Groupement de Développement Agricole de Tabouba- Gouvernorat de Béja on their trip to Tunisia.
The Tunisia initiative, which will be hosted by NEF, is designed as a pilot project within a broader collaborative framework aimed at supporting the transition to democracy, social and economic justice in North Africa and the Middle East. This broader collaborative was developed under the Global Philanthropy Leadership Initiative (a joint project of the Council on Foundations, the EFC and WINGS).
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Read a related update on GPLI and the various projects emerging from it.