Since February 2017, CLI collaborates with We love Kairouan (WLK), a youth civil society organisation in Kairouan, Tunisia, to strengthen civil engagement, local good governance and decentralisation of the democratic process in Kairouan. WLK supports local identity, culture and environmental awareness in the city and region of Kairouan. With CLI’s transformation support, We love Kairoun developed ‘Bab el Medina’ (‘Gates of the Medina’), an action-oriented dialogue platform between local administration and citizens. Its objective is to develop and implement ideas and concrete actions on the sustainable development of the ancient city centre, the Medina, in Kairouan, a UNESCO world heritage site. The platform is unique in its truly collaborative approach to urban development, where citizens are not merely consulted on their opinions, but co-create a shared understanding of what is important, and what should be done, together with the local public power.
Since Bab el Medina started, We love Kairouan has now
- a team of 6 CLI specialists, designing and facilitating project steps and workshops
- gained more than 30 new young volunteers,
- expanded its activity to three more projects on local development, with funds i.a. from USAID, and
- gained personal recognition for their work from, amongst others, Kairouan’s mayor and the Tunisian Minister for Culture. The “Houma Up” innovation action was covered by the national TV station Tunisia 1.
Action 1 (2017-18): The revitalization of the Souk al Mouajel, a historic covered market
The first action of the platform focused on the Souk al Mouajel, a historic covered market site in the Medina center that can trace its roots back to the 12th century, and that is currently run down and dysfunctional. Applying the CLI approach, We love Kairouan expertly facilitated the co-creation of a sustainable architectural restoration, with details that interlink economic, social and ecological aspects, and that bridge tradition and modernity – such as renewable energies for the lighting combined that illuminates the traditional combination of workshop and sale spaces for artisans and merchants. The plan for the Souk includes details on necessary resources and is accompanied by clear statements of commitment by the public administration for its implementation. The plan is currently undergoing preparation for implementation by the municipality.
Action 2 (2019 – ongoing): Green Action Network for the Medina
Based on the huge success of the action on the Souk, the second initiative by the platform will focus on the environmental aspects in the Medina. Points of interest are in particular the reduction of pollution through dysfunctional waste management and exhausts. Accordingly, the Bab el Medina platform has been expanded to also include the National Waste Management Agency and the New Environmental Police. In a first official workshop, citizens and local public officials on the platform chose the Rhaba Place in the Medina to pilot ideas on efficient and sustainable waste management.
Next steps: We love Kairouan will facilitate the development of further details on specific goals, actions and activities needed to restore Rhaba Place.
For more updactes, see the project website by below (in Arabic)
Supported by the ifa (Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen) with funds from the German Federal Foreign Office.