Association Joussour de Citoyenneté (Joussour) is a Tunisian civil society organization (CSO) operating since 2014 to support youth and the local community in El Kef. In 2019, Joussour began the Sharekna Youth Magazine, a six-month activity that aimed to engage youth and community members in two regions in western Tunisia (El Kef and Jendouba) to raise awareness about development in their communities and contribute to preventing VE. To accomplish this goal, Joussour supported the launch of a youth-led and youth-focused magazine to promote the positive and participatory integration of youth. The activity also sought to build the capacity of other CSOs in these target regions and to foster stronger partnerships among them.
Several features of the Sharekna Youth Magazine activity could be valuable in designing, planning, and implementing a P/CVE project:
- A review of how Joussour engaged community stakeholders throughout the project cycle.
- A look at how Joussour involved youth and ensured that the youth informed activity design and implementation.
- An overview of Joussour’s plans and preparations for the sustainability of this initiative.
For the Sharekna Youth Magazine project, Joussour engaged different stakeholders from the very start to assess their needs and brainstorm on possible solutions.
In February 2019, Joussour participated in a workshop with civil society organizations (CSOs) from six countries in the Maghreb and Sahel where they exchanged expertise on P/CVE methods and tools, including the use of media and youth engagement. Once the Joussour team returned to El Kef, they organized a working session with other CSOs from their region to share what they learned in the regional workshop, solicit input to assess local needs related to violent extremism in the region, and collaboratively develop the idea for the Sharekna project.
During this phase, Joussour carefully planned how to engage different stakeholders in the project. They identified two key ways to do so: (1) forming an Advisory Committee composed of five partners from civil society and local authorities to support and guide the youth’s work; and (2) engaging other local entities (e.g., regional directorates and municipalities, media organizations, etc.) from the two target regions to introduce the project and coordinate for project implementation.
Once Joussour received funding to implement the project, it held a partner meeting for the five identified partner organizations (two local CSOs, the Youth Center, and the Culture House in El Kef and Jendouba governorates) to reach partnership agreements, nominate members from each organization to sit on the advisory committee, and finalize the initial draft of the project’s implementation plan.
When the first issue of the magazine was ready, Joussour solicited feedback from community stakeholders on the magazine and how to sustain it. Throughout project implementation, and particularly during the After Action Review session, Joussour engaged its partners in discussions on lessons learned and how to adapt their activities and plans to continue the magazine.
In addition to identifying youth as the main beneficiary of its project, Joussour sought to ensure that the project directly involved youth to be effective contributors to the project and to their communities.
- Joussour recognized that for youth to be able to lead the development of the magazine, they needed to have the necessary knowledge and tools. Therefore, a key component of the project’s design included capacity building for youth through formal training sessions as well as continuous coaching by the communications expert, Joussour’s team, and the Advisory Committee. During the After-Action Review, youth participants shared how they benefitted from the training and how this experience has given them a stronger sense of responsibility to be positive change agents in their communities.
- Joussour integrated input from the youth into the design of project activities. During the introductory workshop, Joussour gathered information about young people’s interests and needs, and this information informed the design of the youth training program. For example, once Joussour learned that young people value opportunities for applied learning and practical exercises, they adapted the sequence of planned activities so that the fieldwork and data collection would take place during the youth training program, instead of after the training ends.
Joussour planned for sustainability throughout the design and implementation of the project in several ways:
- During the Assess Phase, Joussour started conversations with local entities which could support the project beyond the initial funding cycle.
- During the Design Phase, Joussour integrated several elements into the project design that would help establish sustainability:
- its approach for engaging local partners and influential stakeholders, including through the advisory committee
- its focus on capacity building and working with the communications expert to design a training program, guide, and material that Joussour could use to train and support additional youth
- the After-Action Review that brought together the youth, Advisory Committee, trainer, and Joussour’s team to reflect on what they had learned and develop a sustainability plan
Joussour’s efforts to sustain its initiative paid off. Once initial funding ended, Joussour mobilized youth, partners, and the trainer to continue working together and to engage additional youth to prepare the second issue of the magazine which will be issued in early 2020.