Despite the uncertainty accompanying the coming months, there are more than a few plans coming together to continue the transformational work of ACT across Tunisia.
The Coronavirus pandemic has been catastrophic and disruptive, marked by fear and loss. No one foresaw this – or could guess when it would all be over. Unprecedented times, global pandemic, restrictions and stopping the spread: these are all words and phrases that have since become part of our everyday.
ACT’s Covid-19 response has now reached an end, with over 2,450 relief parcels distributed all over the country during the months of April, May and June 2020. In July and August everything was wrapped up, dotting the Is and crossing the Ts, winding down for the summer break and processing the knock-on effect that Coronavirus has had on so much.
September has brought with it a new normal world over. So, we thought we would give space for a few ACT Project Members to share what their diaries might hold in the coming months…
Capacity to Influence for Systemic Change Project
The crisis and confinement mainly affected Phase 1 – building ACT’s capacity. Visits to teams to deepen and clarify what we had been working on up to the confinement had to be cancelled.
The establishment of a pilot group of ACT workers – for experimenting with ways to include systemic advocacy in project planning – was also delayed. Thankfully a one on one time with someone in El Kef was able to happen.
The next bit – building capacity of ACT partners – is now ready to be launched with a couple of seminars planned for the 12th and 19th. The preparation for these included meeting several other local organisations involved in aspects of systemic advocacy, with some good contacts established.
Work is ongoing to write up a draft of ACT’s Theory of Change. Visits to teams will hopefully take place at the end of September with the aim of having the final version completed by the middle of October. Work with ACT colleagues for the pilot group will also hopefully start then as well.
Livelihood Project for Mothers Without Family Support
The Mothers Without Family Support (MWFS) project was in its final stage of completion when the seriousness of Coronavirus became evident and the governmental decision of a national lockdown and confinement was enforced.
During this time, meetings and visits to ACT partner centres and beneficiaries were postponed. Support remained maintained through the ACT Covid-19 Relief Response.
Since national travel restrictions have been lifted, weekly visits started again to both partner centres to finish things up.
We had hoped to start a small project for the remaining months of the year as part of the project, but nothing further has been able to come of this yet.
ACT is especially thankful to the centre staff who have been absolute superstars during the relief response, and to the Project Manager who has helped ensure the success of this project. It has been an honour to partner with you in this way!
Community Development Project (Phase II)
After the initial confinement measures were eased, June and July saw a fair bit of activity for the CDP in the village of Jemaïne. The women received a three-days training on Entrepreneurship. Poultry training also happened in July, with an incubator (which can hold up to 500 eggs) provided by the project. Two incubators were also provided to two newly formed women’s associations in the villages of Safyia and Elaffem-Matmata, alongside the poultry training. (We have an informal partnership with another organisation which provides training in our chosen villages).
We’ve made good progress with the study of the irrigation needs for eighteen farmers in Jemaïne, with three field visits – including two with our local partner’s specialist irrigation engineers. The plan is to provide subsidies for the repair of some water tanks and for the renewal of the irrigation material.
Having initially asked for training on vegetable production, it was decided that a training on sheep-goats as well as fodder production would best serve the community. This training is planned for the autumn.
In Erbaya, we are trying to plan an autumn training on poultry with the women and a training on sheep-goats with the men. Looking even further ahead, we are scoping out possible locations for Phase III of the CDP.
Inclusion Project for Adults with Disabilities
All ACT’s partner centres were closed from mid-March due to confinement. Normally, we would have completed follow-up visits in the spring to each location to see how the income generating projects, internships and workshops were progressing. There would also likely have been conversations on what else 2020 could have in store. Everything has been on hold.
In August, excitingly, we were able to visit UTAIM and AGIM Medenine to meet the directors. Activities are due to start again early to mid-September. We plan to visit most or all of the centres in the autumn to continue regular follow-up (or, as we’re new to the project, show our faces and introduce ourselves!)
Our next steps are to make a visit to all the centres and start to build relationships with the directors. We are hoping to get a solid handle on what has been done with the project to this point and to build on that to work towards the project goals.
These are just four of our current projects, each working towards bringing transformation to those in need across Tunisia – to farmers, to people with disabilities, to mothers without family support. While the future still holds a degree of uncertainty for all, ACT is excited to see what the rest of 2020 will bring our way.