Tunisia has taken more progressive steps towards democracy than any other country in the region that experienced the Arab spring three years ago. The latest successful step was the near unanimous adoption of a new Constitution.

However, Tunisians do not have much experience of multi-party democracy, open political parties or taking part in them. For these reasons, the confidence in political parties and their ability to bring tangible results and development is quite weak.

Therefore, Tunisian political parties and NGOs have expressed an urgent need to support democratic participation, especially outside the capital city, Tunis. For the majority of Tunisians living in other regions, party politics still appear as an exclusive playground of elites.

In the beginning of March, CEMI, the Tunisian partner of Demo Finland, will launch a programme focusing on youth involvement in politics at six governorates of Tunisia (Kef, Kasserine, Kairouan, Sfax, Gafsa, Médenine). The youth politicians at these areas will gain knowledge and practical tools to enhance their capacity in political participation. The programme is funded by the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights and it will replicate the good practices of the Tunis-based Tunisian School of Politics building on values such as dialogue, pluralism and cross-party co-operation.

During the programme also national level decision-makers will be trained on inclusive policies and local governance. The participants from the governorates will be mentored by these more experienced politicians and thus the programme is contributing to networking and trust-building between the national and local levels.

During 18 months more than 100 young politicians will take part in the trainings in addition to around 50 national level decision-makers. The programme is lead by CEMI and supported by Demo Finland, the Bulgarian School of Politics and the Dutch NIMD.