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Building capacity of Tunisian CSOs in the policy making process
This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government
Supporting communication between the Tunisian National Constituent Assembly and Civil Society Organisations for more effective policy making
One of the UK’s leading democracy-building organisation, Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD), has recently concluded a series of activities to foster greater engagement between the National Constituent Assembly (NCA) and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) as part of its programme of support to Tunisia’s NCA to improve its effectiveness and accountability.
According to an initial assessment carried out during 2013, engagement between the NCA and CSOs on policy making has often been limited. WFD addressed this gap by delivering two specifically designed training workshops, in November 2013 and January 2014, explaining the process of policy making and the role CSOs could play.
WFD delivered one further workshop, in February 2014, giving CSOs the opportunity to put their learning into practice by drafting policy recommendation papers on subjects as diverse as …. and presenting them to NCA members. One of the key deliveries of the workshops was a joint agreement of partnership between NCA members and CSOs. The agreement stipulated some key principles:
To recognise that civil society is a strategic partner to the National Constituent Assembly in the decision and policy makings and can foster building public trust and mutual respect.
Both, CSOs and the NCA to establish communication and cooperation mechanisms. This to include the setup of an administrative unit within the NCA charged with facilitating communication between NCA members and CSOs.
Participating NCA member Monia Gasri said:
The workshop has achieved all its goals and balance between theory and practice, and the most important thing I have learnt was the important role of civil society and means of communication between MPs and associations.
To continue building on the success achieved, WFD carried out, in March, similar workshops in less advantaged cities: Tabrka, Kairouan and Gafsa. These locations were chosen on the basis the existent relationship between NCA members and CSOs. By the end of the workshops, participants drafted policy papers around areas of concern – these involved: fighting drugs consumption is schools, reviewing the baccalaureate system, addressing administrative and financial corruption, health care management, sport facilities and reducing pollution.
Asked to provide feedback from the training sessions, members of civil society organisations said:
I learnt from this workshop the systematic analysis of the problems and how to put forward solutions to the Parliament, and I will work to transfer what I have learnt to the rest of the members of the association as well as networking with the rest of the participating CSOs.
Such workshops are the best support for networking and cooperation between the various associations and organisations. We have our own vision in my CSO on the legal framework governing the environment and natural resources, and I’ll try to implement this vision through the formulation of a policy recommendation paper for the purpose. The acquaintance between associations that share the same goals will create channels of communication that we will aim to activate in future projects.