WE EMPOWER PEOPLE IN SOUTHERN TUNISIA
After the end of the revolution, Tunisia had to undergo political changes, which are part of the necessary transition to a pluralistic and democratic society. However, the political situation is still tense. The demands for adequate jobs and appropriate training have not yet been fulfilled. Young people who are the main driving force behind this revolutionary movement are still frustrated because the labor market situation is almost unchanged.
The Tataouine, Medenine and Kebili regions in the South of Tunisia are among the most disadvantaged regions in the country with an unemployment rate of around 25%. One of the reasons for high unemployment lies in the education system: university graduates are not equipped with the skills that meet the requirements of the labor markets.
The aim of this project is to increase the income and employment opportunities for the population of Southern Tunisia. The promotion and development of an innovative entrepreneurial culture aims at reducing the unemployment rate.
The two main project components are
- to strengthen the viability of existing small businesses on the one hand, and
- the support of Tunisian start-ups on the other hand:
Entrepreneurship initiatives of particularly disadvantaged population groups and women are supported by training and financial start-up aid.
STS VS UNEMPLOYMENT IN TATAOUINE
Since Tataouine belongs to the regions which have been economically marginalized over decades and suffers from the highest rates of poverty and unemployment (approx. 51% unemployment rate among graduates who lack the necessary skills and qualifications for the job market), OMV initiated and funded a community development project “Skills to Succeed (STS)” which is implemented by Hilfswerk Austria International. It is showcased through vocational training, economic development initiatives and civil society capacity building programs aiming to boost employability and income generation through targeted training and business/economic development platforms. The project started in October 2012 and extended to December 2016 after two years from the kick off.
The project aims to impact a large number of direct and indirect beneficiaries through various initiatives. The program focused on a large-scale Vocational Training framework to provide effective and well managed training programs tailored to actual market needs, using and improving part of the existing local centers. Skills to Succeed contributes in increasing income and employment opportunities within selected value chains of Tataouine’s economic sectors by recommending ways to raising the efficiency of input, production, processing, and marketing businesses. Moreover the program strengthens the business and governance skills of existing small businesses, business support organizations and economic development NGOs by training community members on how to start a new business and provide them with the needed coaching to ensure their success. Entrepreneurs are reinforced with business development services, such as accounting, marketing, business planning and training on technical production sub-sectors in various fields such as industry, agriculture, tourism, arts and crafts etc. Support and access to finance is provided in-house directly or through other finance providers.
Beneficiaries include unemployed youth striving for a brighter future; women and unemployed university graduates getting prepared for new professional challenges, business and community leaders striving to be more effective. From an economic development perspective, the project contributes to a better understanding of the local economy and to identifying economic development ideas. The project team works with local, regional, and national partners to trigger resourcefulness leading to sustainable economic activity. STS team coordinates with government officials, village leaders, farmers, small entrepreneurs, and other active youth and women groups to contribute in finding solutions to the issues facing the development of the community in Tataouine.
Local NGOs in Tataouine are fully engaged, committed through the support of Skills to Succeed to accelerate development and achieve effective goals. Hundreds of active members attended various trainings such as TOT, Strategic Planning, English Training, Communications, Social Media, IT, and other soft Skills, which promoted self-sufficiency and sustainability for their organizations. The capacity building program at STS helped NGOs in managing their stakeholders effectively and resolving their conflicts efficiently.