Looking back, moving forward

As 2019 comes to its end, what a great opportunity to reflect on what the year has brought. Here are some of our favourites that 2019 had to offer, for which we are incredibly thankful.

From sectors to themes

For most of its recent history, ACT has worked within four sectors. Over the years, we have seen transformation come to people all over Tunisia thanks to projects run under the banner of Health, Disability, Rural Development and At Risk.

In order to continue to deliver the transformational work we feel led to, and to continue to seek to be as impactful as possible, a shift was made. ACT now seeks to work in more thematic areas. And so, 2019 saw us move from Sectors to Themes.

  • Community Development
  • Capacity Building & Civil Society
  • Job Creation & Employability
  • Advocacy & Social Justice

Already we have seen several new projects take root under these headings start to grow and show fruit. ACT is committed to continuing to develop its work in Tunisia to best serve these goals.

With a little help from our friends

2019 also saw the signing of several new agreements with our local partners.

In Kef, the Prison Project signed an agreement with the local CDIS (Centre de Défense et d’Intégration Sociale) allowing them to pursue the follow-up of prisoners. This has allowed them to develop programmes – as well as their trainings within the prison – which seek to support ex-prisoners with follow-up once released.

As part of our Inclusion for People with Disabilities Project, ACT has recently signed its first agreement with UTAIM National (Union Tunisienne d’Aide aux Insuffisants Mentaux). This will help continue on the legacy of the Disability Sector. ACT is excited to see where this new formalised partnership with blossom.

ACT’s Capacity Building Project has also had its share of new agreements; five, to be precise. In September this year the project launched and is now putting in place its vision – to support five local associations with their administrative, financial and management capacity. Sharing knowledge and skills which will hopefully enable Tunisian initiatives to reach their full potential.

It’s also worth mentioning the renewal of our agreement with Bright Women’s Association of Today (BWAT) in May – something which has allowed us to support some incredible work, bringing hope and honouring some of the most vulnerable women in Tunisia.

Something new

Central to the work we do throughout Tunisia, 2019 saw the beginning of a few three-year long projects for ACT, from Kef to Gabès – along with a few places in between!

Our Autonomy for Adults with Disabilities Project launched in the South, working in partnership with centres in Gabès, Medenine and Matamata. Running trainings which include everyone from people with disabilities, their parents and partners is an exciting new way of working for many involved.

Also started in 2019 was our Capacity for Influencing Systemic Change project, which is part of our theme of Advocacy and Social Justice. It will be running in northern Tunisia, and aims build up the capacity of ACT’s local partners, and their communities, to take an active role in challenging and shaping the systems—whether formal or informal—that affect them the most, towards greater social justice.

More of a renewal than a fresh start, the Prison Project split at the end of 2018, and a new chapter was started in the Kef and Jendouba prisons. 2019 has seen trainings run, celebration days held (pictured) and the development of plans to work with inmates once released.

Down in Sfax, the project has continued to develop as well, with trainings in jewellery making, sewing, embroidery and craft making being run with the female inmates.

Last but not least is our new Capacity Building Project, mentioned above. We’re excited to see how our participating local associations will be enabled to grow!

Real change

The stories of those we have worked with, through and for this past year have been the runaway highlights of 2019.

Fatima*, Leila*, Beth* and Amar were just some of those who we have shared about previously. We are so grateful for their stories, and the transformation they are now modelling, often in the face of real challenge and great difficulties. We are inspired daily by those we serve, and it is an honour to work in partnership with local centres, families, trainers, facilitators, translators, colleagues, and many more.

When reflecting on 2019, it is important to recognise the people that support and engage with our work across the country. Without them, none of what we do would be possible. Thank you!

* names changed

With 2020 ahead of us, full of expectations and promise – of hope, of frustrations, of surprises and of continued change – we are thankful for all 2019 offered.

The lessons learned.

The partnerships started and strengthened.

We look forward to another year of serving in Tunisia, working intentionally towards transformation.