Since the majority of people in Tunisia are young (almost 60%) the government takes care of them and proposes many activities for them. The infrastructure as well as youth houses also encourage the creation of other associations. We have more than 10500 associations in Tunisia, and more than 300 youth houses. Education is free and obligatory in Tunisia.
The contemporary risk situation within which youth live in the country continues to change, demanding spaces through civil society for education and reflection that are well adapted to address in a deeper way the critical issues of our times, namely increased poverty, unemployment, isolation and migration – regular and irregular. There is a growing need to engage youth in activities that focus on thematic issues across sectors and geographical boundaries in an attempt to make audible their voices that have been marginalized, including those of young women, youth in rural areas, disabled, urban poor, etc. In our view, though there are organisations that address these issues, the current situation suggests that we are assisting to the birth of a new interesting network of youth organizations composed by old associations aiming to have a new postion in the current situation and new dynamic youth associations created after the January 14th 2011.
There is a clear lack of real partnerships and exchange within the country. Projects have been developed under Actions 1, 2 and 5 with other Mediterranean partner and programme countries. However, these experiences need to be shared. There is a lack of information sharing on opportunities, exchange of good practices, knowledge and experiences as well as other relevant opportunities. There is a need to develop partnerships, deeper local interventions and projects at this level.
Young people in Tunisia, as in many countries in the Euro-Mediterranean region, are faced with many different challenges in their different local realities. Conventional wisdom tells us that while it would be easy to generalise the problems, such as lack of a culture of civil society institutions and possibilities for real participation and partnerships, their potential, vision and energy resonate a need to further and cultivate their aspirations and strengths into a common celebration of the value of their contribution to society. The terrain of the Tunisian civil society has been always exciting but under the total control of the state remains to be reconstructed on the basis of the revolution values on which the participants of citizens and mainly youth has to be totally rehabilitated
They continues to pose challenges as well as learning experiences. The uni-polar minds of youth, unlike the older generations, pose immense possibilities towards peaceful coexistence between cultures of diverse backgrounds and ideologies. The lack of safe spaces for youth, the need for exchange with other young people from other countries to reflect on the culture of civil society, the need to understand the basics of creating projects and subsequent improvement of their quality, the myriad ways and forms of cultural and other diverse forms of expressions are just but few of the needs that we feel have to be addressed in the country.
Young people in my country are now enjoying a wide range of leisure activities and entertaining programmes in youth clubs, for example those which provide for a great number of interests that vary between sport, culture, media, games and many others. Other youngsters are interested in cinema, going to discos, making parties and going to cafÃ©s. There are also cultural events that take place from time to time. However, some young people do not take advantage of these activities, especially those living in distant areas like in rural places, due to the scarcity of youth clubs and centres there. But at the level of exchanges, few are lucky to have access to them, even because they do not know about them or because of material reasons, since travel is still a luxury in our country, and there are no subsidies for youngsters. Adding to all of this, there are difficulties in obtaining visas, high costs of travel tickets, etc. So our young people need to mingle with foreigners for many reasons. First of all to be open to other cultures and civilisations and to get out of the cocoon they are confined to; Secondly, to get rid of prejudice and of archaic ideas; Finally, to bring together different nationalities in order to build a more unified generation than that of our ancestors.
Young people have the opportunity in Tunisia to participate in different activities, to be part of associative life, and to take part in many seminars and manifestations at the national or the international level. Tunisian youth are very open to the outside world and continuously look forward to develop relationships of friendship with youths all around the world to exchange ideas and learn from others’ experiences with the purpose of improving the situation of young people in Tunisia and in all the area as well.