Tunisia Works to Involve Youth in Country's Future

Youth Leaders Tunisia Work for a New Generation
Team members celebrate following the "20 Hours" marathon.
Halima Mrad
Activities encourage youth to cast votes in upcoming election
“It was a triumph for Tunisia altogether and a leading first step toward a more democratic and stable status quo.”

Transferring political energy into voter participation is a challenge for post-revolution Tunisia. Future elections are an opportunity for a new generation of Tunisians to make their voices heard, but only if they cast their votes.

Young Tunisians were instrumental in the events of the revolution and first election in October 2011. It is paramount that they remain active voting citizens to shape their country’s post-revolutionary future.  

USAID’s Office of Transition Initiatives, in partnership with the youth-mentoring Association of Young Leaders Entrepreneurs, developed a two-phase activity aimed at increasing participation of young Tunisians in the voting process entitled "Countdown: Build Tunisia in 20 Hours."  

The first phase began in Tunis in December 2013 as a three-day workshop with the theme “How to Get Tunisian Youth to Vote.” Project development and presentations were the main topics for the 100 participants. Following the workshop, participants put their knowledge into practice during a non-stop 20-hour marathon work session. The large group was divided into 10 teams for a competition to develop the best project for increasing youth voter participation in Tunisia. 

In the second phase, teams exhibited their projects to the whole group, as well as a panel of judges. Technology was a common feature in the projects, as six teams made use of handheld devices and social media in their plans.

Judges then announced the five project finalists, as well as the overall winning project: an initiative that invites football stars to foster voter awareness, unity and election enthusiasm at football tournaments. Winning team members each received an electronic tablet as a prize.

“In 20 hours, we have created great initiatives. Imagine what we could do in 20 years!” said one team member. Another exclaimed, “Thank you, USAID, for giving me such an opportunity.”

The finale was attended by 100 invited guests from local youth associations. The group was delighted at the creativity of the plans.

“The Countdown allowed these talented individuals to voice the best of their ideas and left the jury and guests in awe!” said one audience member. "It was a triumph for Tunisia altogether and a leading first step toward a more democratic and stable status quo," said another.

Video: Countdown: Build Tunisia in 20 Hours